UPDATE: President Barack Obama’s back-to-school speech will not be shown to students in Harford County Public Schools this year, according to Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for HCPS. Individual teachers may use the speech as it relates to their curriculum, but there are no system-wide plans to show the speech or offer related lessons. The President’s 2009 back-to-school message was shown to nearly the entire student population.
HCPS provided parents with the following information about the President’s 2010 speech, which was broadcast live from the White House on September 14, 2010, a day when schools were closed in Maryland due to the primary election:
All Harford County public schools and offices will be CLOSED tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14th for Primary Election Day. In addition, President Barack Obama will deliver his second annual Back to School address to students regarding the importance of education. The nationwide address will air at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow via the www.WhiteHouse.gov website. With schools closed tomorrow, parents have the opportunity to view the address with their children.
To view the address, log onto either of the following websites at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow: www.whitehouse.gov/back-to-school or www.whitehouse.gov/live.
For those who wish to borrow a DVD copy of the address, you may request a copy of the DVD from your school library. Copies will be made available after Friday, September 17th.
For your convenience, HCPS has provided possible discussion topics for talking with your child about the address.
President Barack Obama is planning another back-to-school broadcast to the nation’s school children, this year on September 14, 2010. If that date sounds familiar, it’s because September 14 is also primary election day in Maryland, where schools are used as polling places and closed to students as a result.
Not all states are holding primaries on September 14 and many states do not use schools as polling places, according to Harford Elections Director Jim Massey. But in Maryland schools at least, a live broadcast of the President’s speech appears to be out to the question.
That will probably suit Harford County Public School officials just fine. In 2009, President Obama’s live speech spawned a public backlash after HCPS issued a press release saying that the school system’s instructional guidelines prohibited the live broadcast, and school officials would decide whether to show the speech at all, after an evaluation of the speech’s “ appropriateness and direct instructional value”.
Supporters of the speech saw the hesitation as an affront to Obama, culminating in charges of racism leveled against the school system by the Harford County Board of Education’s own vice-president, Dr. Leonard Wheeler.
The protests erupted during the first school days under the new administration of Harford Schools Superintendent Robert M. Tomback, and resulted in what School Board President Mark Wolkow called a “black eye” for the school system.
In the end, HCPS did show the speech but did not show it live, citing a lack of technical capabilities and the need for time to develop meaningful lesson plans. Despite the earlier press release, Superintendent Tomback later said that HCPS never planned to censor the speech.
Support for the speech was not universal. Among those in opposition were Bel Air Tea Party organizer Tony Passaro and Delegate Rick Impallaria, who saw the live speech as potential indoctrination. The view had some traction nationally after the U.S. Department of Education reportedly suggested, and later withdrew, lesson plans that included asking students how they could help the new President.
HCPS allowed parents to opt out, but very few did. When all was said and done, over 99% of Harford County’s nearly 39,000 students saw the 2009 speech.
So what’s the plan for 2010? HCPS Spokesperson Teri Kranefeld tells The Dagger that information regarding the September 14 speech is coming soon.
Below is the initial press release from HCPS on the 2009 Obama speech, followed by the White House announcement on the President’s planned speech for 2010:
We have received many inquiries from parents, students, staff and community as to whether Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) will provide access to view President Barack Obama’s national address to students, which will be broadcast live on the White House website, as well as C-SPAN, at noon, Tuesday, September 8.
HCPS instructional guidelines prevent us from streaming the live broadcast of the presidential address in schools. The guidelines establish that all videos and broadcasts must be previewed for instructional and curricular value. In addition, the viewing must include pre-viewing, during viewing, and post-viewing activities. Due to the live nature of this address, there is insufficient time for instructional preparation.
We recognize that there are students and families interested in viewing this event. We are providing the links for your convenience in order to allow parents to engage in meaningful dialogue with their children.
With respect to potential future classroom use of the address, a determination regarding the appropriateness and direct instructional value will be made as a result of a collaborative effort among the teacher, the principal, and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.
From The White House:
August 25, 2010
President Obama to Deliver Back to School Speech September 14
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As students begin their school year, President Barack Obama will deliver his second annual Back to School speech on Tuesday, September 14. The President’s Back to School Speech is an opportunity to speak directly to students across the country. Last year, President Obama encouraged students to study hard, stay in school, and take responsibility for their education.
“Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide,”President Obama said to students last year.
President Obama’s Back to School remarks will be broadcast in schools and online nationwide. More details on the President’s speech will be announced soon.
Glad schools are closed that day!
Amen, SB! No child needs a Muslim, non-American “president” speaking to them about the virtues of a good education! If anything, we need to get someone into the schools to show students how 9/11 was a government conspiracy!
Yeah! What they need is a right-wing conspiracy nutcase! (You may not be a Moslem, but you are sure full of shite.)
Wow. Another Birther!
Dangerous precedents …. American Presidents do not need to make annual addresses to all public school children.
Our public schools have been politicized enough thank you very much.
C. Dunn says
Amen. What’s next? Commencement addresses by the President of the U.S.? Or worse, the president addressing U.S. troops?
Did you fell this way when Reagan came to Fallston? Or when Regan went to another school and made a telivised speech or when Bush Sr. Similarly did the same thing. Or any other president that has visited a school and talked to kids and told them not to do drugs, work hard in school? After all that is such political rhetoric it is harming our kids (sarcasm)!
Troops make a choice. So too do college graduates by choosing to attend or not attend their college commencement.
I assume that the school children would be afford the opportunity to opt out of listening to the speech if they so choose. Now, a welcome back and good luck and keep working hard message is not bad to hear, but does it need to come from a government official (or president)? The point being that absolving the parents from responsibility for that message by it coming from an government official, further denigrates the family nucleolus. Reliance upon the state for morality and values, even those associated with the better part of the civil society, perpetuates a breakdown of the traditional societal structure that promotes freedom and liberty.
Kudos to the president for wanting to trumpet that kind of message (if that is all that it is) but it really is unwarranted in the tradition and history of the USA’s liberty minded country class.
Billy Jack says
“Perpetuates a breakdown of traditional societal structure that promotes fredon and liberty. “What does that mean? And what is the “liberty minded country class”?
I would like to point out to you that not all children are fortunate enough to come from a home that reinforces the keep working hard message. For them, hearing it from a president may be a very powerful and needed message.
Which, children coming from broken homes are more likely to take government subsidies and be less productive members of society for the majority of their entire lives. Hence the reason that continuity of family structure is more important to the success of our country than anything else, including the debt pile that we are facing. It means that the individual is responsible for their children and a President doing the job of a parent only furthers the societal decline, in my humble opinion. Perhaps your opinion is different, and that’s fine.
All you have to do is look at the aging societies in Italy and Japan, and you will see their demographic melt (more people aged 60+ than 20something) and you get the same problems that are occurring here, a lack of family structure, and a structural imbalance in current social engineering.
As insider says below in post No. 5, it is a message that most students hear frequently from their educators, administrators, and parents at the start of every school year. So what does big brother’s message do to help that along other than gain face time? I fully stated that I hope that is his message, but in reality, as we are starting to see, our new Big Brother isn’t what we elected.
The liberty minded country class happens to be those of us that don’t need the .local .state .fedgov in our business or our children’s business 24/7/365. After all, it was the children that most often turned their parents into the thought police in 1984.
By the way, nice use of the copy paste feature of your OS.
There are some messages that a kid can not here enough time from enough people. Hearing it again is not damaging and if it reaches a few thousand more kids who would not have been reached then it is a good thing. When I taught High School I ended every friday class with the same words. Have a nice weekend stay out of trouble and see you monday. Does my suggesting to kids that they stay out of trouble mean I userped the parents authority to tell their kids that or simply helped reinforce it from another person. Let us take our birther up top. He probably believes it not because he heard it from Alan Keyes but because it has been reinforced enough times from other people that he actually believes it. While he is believeing something rediculous reinforcing positive messages works too!
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ever dude.
Where in there do you get birther from my comment? I could easily call you a kool-aid drinker, and didn’t. So way to play in the big boy pen of name calling, excellent way to discredit yourself! It’s wonderful.
I’m entitled to my opinion, and you yours, so much so that I stated such. Again, if the President wants to make a work hard, stay in school, and do good work speech that’s fine, but beyond that, no. It is my prerogative if I believe this is just an extension of additional government intrusion and needless government interdiction, and I outlined exactly how it is needless. Not every problem or un-problem needs to be “solved” by a government official. Hell, I’d gladly pay for the 546 morons in Washington and all their ancillary department chiefs and czars to go on a paid permanent holiday.
Further, you as a teacher (either current or former) should know better than to toss names around in a debate and admit, by fiat, that you are a liberal educator. Strikes two and three right there.
The birther was TED. I was using his ignorance as an example!
Secondly, I agree you are totally allowed to believe what ever you want. I also am allowed to totally diagree with you. That is what makes America so great. The freedom of speech, it is still free correct or has that been censored?
Third I am not a liberal but a fiscal conservative socially moderate individual that likes local govt.
Fourth I think name calling should be refrained from by all people, not just teachers!
There’s a problem letting school-aged children listen to someone with intelligence and leadership?
Perhaps they would learn more about patriotism and being good citizens from watching “extremists” exposing their ignorance and carrying guns?
Seems the most vocal folks (i.e. many who love to bare all on The Dagger) are usually the ones who don’t (can’t) understand the importance of promoting education and advocating respect. The attention they attract (and its coverage by the media) is embarrassing.
Intelligence and leadership? Really? A true leader would have addressed the Gulf oil crisis immediately and skipped his vacation. A true leader would take responsibility for his own failures and learn from them. Someone truely intelligent would not need a teleprompter for EVERY speech, even when speaking to children. A true leader would lead his own country in his people’s best interests and not try to appease the world around him, unless he was an ego-maniac. A true leader would deny himself and family indulgent vacations when his citizens were suffering in a terrible economy. Elsie, look at the whole picture. Referring to others you disagree with as ignorant only makes you ignorant. People have justified criticisms.
Seriously? President Bush set a new record for the number of vacation days taken by a sitting President. And I’m so sick of the teleprompter argument. I mean, is this really a justified criticism? Virtually every public speaker uses one. It has nothing to do with one’s mental ability. Can you really expect someone to memorize a long speech? I don’t begrudge any public official for taking time off “during a crisis” as you say. But spread the vitriol around a little, will ya?
I did not show the President’s speech in class last year, and if given the choice will not show it this year either. There are already too many distractions and time wasted on assemblies and such during the school year. Students already get enough of these pep talks from school administrators, teachers, and parents at the beginning of each school year.
I did paraphrase his speech to my students and it went something like this – the President says you (students) are responsible for your own education, students have no more excuses, so suck it up and do the work necessary to get the education you will need to be a productive member of society.
I agree. Far too many distractions like unnecessary and redundant “teacher planning days” and the like. Spend more time teaching my kids and not letting them out for early dismissal. You have a paid summer off to plan. Suck it up and get to work.
You seem to think insider makes this decision? Perhaps you think insider is the head of the school system? I beat insider would agree with you that the teacher planning days are redundant. Insider is not “paid” for the summer he/she is only paid for the 190 days he/she is contracted for. If he/she gets money in the summer it is because they have it withheld from their check for the summer or they have another job! Furthermore I think most teachers agree year round schools might be a good idea, of course they would cost you more money paying those teachers!
I am so frustrated with the public. TEACHERS DO NOT HAVE PAID SUMMER VACATIONS!!! WE HAVE ZERO VACATION DAYS! WHEN WE ARE NOT IN THE SCHOOL WE ARE NOT PAID!! Thanksgiving? Not paid. Christmas? Not paid. Election day? NOT PAID!!! We are contracted for 190 days, no more, no less! The kids are in school 180 days- the rest are required workshops, meetings, etc.
Teachers do gave a terrific annual compensation and benefits package with fewer work days than the vast majority of private sector jobs.
Steve (a different one) says
From the president’s last year…
“Every single one of you has something you’re good at.”
This sentence contains poor grammar and it is ended with a preposition. A better construction would have been:
“Every single one of you has something you do well.”
I believe the word “single” is redundant and the word “has” seems out of place. That however is not my point.
I am not a literary scholar or English teacher so correct me if I am wrong. But if I was appearing in classrooms taught by English teachers and scholars I would have at least proofed my speech to ensure that those teachers and scholars would be appeased.
Refresh my memory, Where was George Bush on the morning of September 11th, 2001?
@Ted: you are a bigot. Guessed you missed the social studies class where they taught you than in order to be a president you have to be a natural born citizen. As for the Muslim comment, who really cares? Christianity isn’t the only religion in the world and just because you are prejudiced doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who practices the religion is inherently evil. It’s called freedom of religion– if you don’t like it America probably isn’t for you. Go join your idiot friends in Florida and burn some holy Scriptures a la the nazis.
thinking of a new name says
I would prefer to see all politicians banned from access to young impressionable minds… unless I could believe a politician saw the opportunity to address students as anything other than a way to influence future voters. But then that doesn’t address all the politically motivated predators that use the education system to prey upon the helpless and foist their political beliefs on them. The only thing that needs to be taught about today’s politicians is that if their mouth is moving, they’re probably lying.