Only two days ago did Drudge and others break the news that President Obama on Sept. 8 would become the first President to ever address the nation's public schools simultaneously. The original text of the US Department of Education's lesson plan for that address is here, and after Drudge broke the story, it rapidly spread across the blogosphere and eventually ended up on, big surprise, FOX. Now, when some (mostly right-leaning) parents learned that the Ed Department's "classroom activities" called on teachers to, among other things, get the parents' children to write down "what they can do to help the President," the parents, quite understandably, freaked out.
Cue the nationwide scrambling!
Since the big news broke, the Education Department has revised the offending lesson plan. Some schools have now made attending the speech voluntary, and a lot of schools have decided not to air the speech at all. All in less than 48 hrs from when the news first broke.
A friend shared an email from a public school, Mountain Park Elementary in Roswell, GA (Go Mustangs!), that has taken the latter approach. He's allowed me to anonymously re-publish the email from the school's principal announcing the big news:
From: Mountain Park ES [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Mountain Park ESBehold, the power of the internet! (And gotta love that precious "instructional time." What does that say about the President's speech anyway?)
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2009 5:51 PM
Subject: President Obama's address to students
Several people have asked questions about the Presidential Address to students on September 8th. While we strongly support any initiative to encourage our children to do their best in school, in the interest of preserving instructional time, we will not be broadcasting the speech at school. Instead, we are sharing the information with you so that you may watch it with your children at a time of your choice. The actual air time will be 12:00 p.m. EST.
How to Watch
· The President's message will be streamed live on WhiteHouse.gov/live, and broadcast live on C-Span
· Downloadable video of the speech will be made available on this page later that day as it becomes available
· For school districts hoping to access the satellite feed, it will be available beginning at 11:00 AM (EDT) using the following coordinates:
* Galaxy 28/Transponder 17, Slot C (9 MHz)
* Uplink Frequency 14344.5 Horizontal
* Downlink Frequency 12044.5 Vertical
Mountain Park Elementary School
But in all seriousness, this is a perfect example of how important it is for all citizens, especially parents, to remain informed and involved ("eternal vigilance" and all that). And it's further motivation for me, and those a lot more widely-read, to keep uncovering (or just repeating!) the facts, so that as many citizens as possible can make up their own minds about their lives, the lives of their children, and Government's role therein.