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— Editor's Note: This story is written and The News Herald published prior to President Obama's address to students in schools throughout the nation which was held Tuesday, September 8.

A letter was received by the Gravette school from Dr. Patricia Crisp, Public Affairs Specialist on behalf of the U. S. Department of Education Region 6 office in Dallas. A quote from the letter states: "The president will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens."

The speech resulted in nationwide controversy as to whether schools would or would not be participating in allowing the speech to be broadcast in classrooms. This story outlines Gravette's response:

Students in Gravette schools had the option to listen/watch President Obama's speech to students throughout the nation Tuesday or to op out, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Andrea Kelly.

"Due to timing of the address there are conflicts, however, with lunch periods and recess. As a result, the buildings are planning the following to allow students to view the broadcast:

"Gravette High School will watch the presentation in the classrooms or view from the television in the commons area if the students are eating lunch.

"Gravette Middle School will view a taped presentation during the social studies classes throughout the remainder of the week.

"Gravette Upper Elementary will also view a taped recording during social studies classes throughout the remainder of the week.

"Glenn Duffy Elementary will make the taped presentation available for teachers to check out and view with their students during the remainder of the week."

Dr. Kelly explained, "The rationale to Gravette's response is that the exposure to the President's message to student about the importance of education is a study in living history. There are moments in presidential terms of office that have significant impact on society. And the message to students to take their education seriously and work hard is a very important message.

"I believe his message and the intent pervades politics. We all must insure, regardless of political affiliation, that every child has access to a quality education and knows the importance of being well-educated. Whether their choice is to transition from high school to an institution of higher education or to become a well-trained technician, America needs a well-educated, well-trained society.

"We must provide positive influences for our students as we need them to make the right choices about education and their role in the global economy. We need them actively engaged in our free-market economy."

Dr. Kelly added that arrangements were to be made for students who opted out of watching the speech.

News, Pages 1 on 09/09/2009

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