President's education speech causes controversy

Reported by Casey Roman - email
Posted by Heather Setzler - bio|email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A presidential speech is causing a local uproar over politics and parenting.

President Barack Obama's speech "My Future, My Education" will be shown in North Carolina schools on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Some New Hanover County parents are speaking out against the presentation.  They're concerned about the content and say it cuts into class time.

School officials want parents to know the message has nothing to do with politics.

"This is a politically benign yet very, very powerful statement that the President is making." said Elizabeth Redenbaugh with the New Hanover Co. Board of Education. "He is telling students to stay in school, to study hard, to get educational goals, and to take responsibility for their education. And that's a message I want every single child in New Hanover County to hear."

Parents in New Hanover, Columbus, Bladen and Pender counties can sign a notice to opt their child out of the speech.

Students in Brunswick County can request to see the video on Thursday or Friday.

MSNBC reports the White House plans to release a transcript of the President's speech on Monday.

The Presidential address is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Education and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). NCDPI has issued classroom activities for students of all grade levels to engage students after the address with discussion. The lesson plans were created by NCDPI teachers-in-residence, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows. The lessons are optional as well. Details can be found at

The message will be broadcast via internet and C-SPAN with the stated purpose of encouraging students to set high academic goals and succeed in school.

More information about the speech can be found at under the tab "My Future, My Education." That address is also expected to post a transcript of the speech before Tuesday. Parents and school officials are being encouraged to view the transcript in advance if they have any questions or concerns regarding the speech.

Parents in New Hanover County can choose to sign the notice that opts their child out of the program. If a child is opted out, they will receive classroom instruction during the speech. Parents in participating schools will also receive an automated call with this information.

Brunswick County schools have decided not to show the broadcast until Thursday and Friday to give parents enough time to view the broadcast and decide whether or not they want their child to view it. If parents to want their child to participate they must sign a form provided by the school.

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