I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Concerns Grow as Obama Speech Date Approaches

I have received several phone calls and emails on the issue of the President's upcoming speech to Students on Sept. 8th. Many are frustrated about not knowing what will be said, and several have said they do not think it is appropriate. For my part, I think parents should be able to choose whether or not their children participate in the "event". Upon inquiry to the Superintendent of Curriculum, Paul Fetsko, I have been told that most schools will not air the event live. Here is Mr. Fetsko's email guidance:

>>> Paul Fetsko 9/3/2009 9:23 AM >>>

Principals, we have had a number of telephone calls regarding the forthcoming television address scheduled for September 8th by President Obama. Specifically asking if we are going to cancel instructional activities to require viewing by our students. The answer is no.
The districts' recommendation to you is to permit the viewing by students who are in classes that have a direct academic connection to this event such as Civics, American Government, possibly SGA. Please remember that teachers must submit the media form to you prior the airing of this event. That form is available from media services and it documents the link between the program and the class objective(s). If teachers are unable to do this in advance the IT department will record the program so teachers may preview the content to determine if there are instructional ties to classroom objectives. Then teachers can play the program in it's entirety or segments which correlate to the topic for that class.
Again, you should not interrupt the instructional momentum at your site to view the speech if it is not directly aligned with the instructional calendars currently in place at your school.
If you should have questions please contact this office or your level director for clarification.
Paul Fetsko

Paul H. Fetsko, Asst. Supt. for Curriculum
Escambia County School District
Phone: 850/429-2918
FAX 850/469-6371
215 W. Garden Street Room 116
Pensacola, FL 32502

I think for many parents I've communicated with over the last day and a half, the larger concern is what will be said in the speech. Within the last 12 hours, the national press is reporting that the text of Tuesday's speech will be released in advance by the White House on Monday, Sept. 7. I'm looking forward to reading the speech. My seventh grade son, who attends Brown Barge Middle, has stated that his class will be doing the White House lesson, that they have already looked at the questions.

I think that the timing of the speech, which coincides with lunch period for many district students, might result in the speech being broadcast to many students in many schools.

My major concern is that if this is going to happen---Parents should be kept in the loop and given the option about whether or not their child may participate.

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