Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Superintendent Hubbard Update/High School Responses

The saga continues as today I was able to get in touch with a few more schools, and I have more news on other districts as well.

The biggest news I think I should follow up on is the Dr. Hubbard story. As you know Dr. Hubbard is the superintendent of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District who allegedly barred his entire district from watching the Obama address due to “political sensitivities” and “internet access” issues.

I called NMUSD today and spoke with the direction of Public Information Laura Boss. Laura Boss told me that the address was not shown in the district’s schools live in class due to technical problems. She explained that the whole controversy over Dr. Hubbard was blown out of proportion because he never really tried to bar students from watching it all. They are going to make the address accessible on the internet for children to watch whenever they want. They are also allowing teachers to show it in there class, at teacher discretion of course.

Laura went on to say that yesterday was the first day of school in that district and that they had other things to accomplish. But yes, children will be able to watch it, and if parents opt out and don’t want their children to view it they will have an alternative activity planned for them (which is most likely to go to the library).

This is where our conversation got interesting. According to Laura, giving parents the option to opt out is causing some controversy in that district. Many people are upset with NMUSD because they are allowing parents to make the decision to not have their children participate in viewing the address.

On this issue I would say that Dr. Hubbard, while his statements on the NMUSD website seemed contradictory and unclear to me, made a good choice by allowing schools to view the address at teacher’s discretion. Dr. Hubbard, you need to make your statements a little more clearly in my opinion.

But yes, the schools in NMUSD did not show the address live, but they are allowing students to watch it after the live broadcast in class at teacher discretion.

Now I also called FVHS again to see if I could talk to the principal. I wanted to ask the principal if the superintendent of HBUHSD had a meeting with principals and staff, but the principal is still too busy to respond.

I also called Edison High School and still couldn’t get a clear answer. The principal’s secretary had no information for me on whether or not that children got to watch the live address, but passed my phone number along to the assistant principal and assured me that he would be returning my call tomorrow.

Huntington Beach High School’s secretary told me that they “had no comment for me”. So it’s safe to assure that students at HBHS did not get to see the address, which doesn’t surprise me really.

But here is a new piece of news. My friend got a message on his phone from a friend who has kids. His children’s first day at school was yesterday, and he said that his kids did not get to see the Obama address and thought that maybe the Anaheim City School District had barred their schools from showing the address.

I called Anaheim City School District today and got some answers. ACSD did in fact allow their schools to show the Obama address live in class. But once again it was made clear that it would be shown at the teacher’s discretion. The nice woman I spoke with informed me simply that some teachers did show the address live and some did not. She told me that I should call the Director of Public Information Peter Daniels tomorrow as he was on a matter of business outside of his office, and that I should be able to obtain more information on this subject.

She was able to tell me though that the superintendent Jose Banda did have some kind of communication with the schools of the district, making it clear that the address could be shown at teacher’s discretion. Whether or not he had a meeting with principals and staff to discus the issue is unknown, but it was believed that some type of letter or email was circulated throughout the district. And of course, for those parents who don’t want their child to watch the address and alternate activity was offered.

So there you have it, and now it seems like this story can come to a close (unless of course I do find a school district that barred all of their schools from showing the address).

Dr. Hubbard is not barring his schools from watching the address. Although it won’t be live, teachers will have the opportunity to show their students, and the student can also look up the speech freely on campus computers when they have the technological capacity.

Huntington Beach High School said, “No comment”.

Anaheim City School District did not bar their students from watching the address.

If I get in contact with anyone and I have more information I will present it.

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