President Obama will address students tomorrow in a live broadcast to participating classrooms, which has stemmed debates throughout the country.
Myla Grasso, spokeswoman for the Pleasanton Unified School District, said district teachers are not required to have their classes participate in the address and/or the accompanying lesson plans developed by the U.S. Department of Education.
As of Friday, Grasso said she didn't know how many teachers planned to participate nor if students would be able to know if their teacher planned to participate as they leave for the Labor Day holiday weekend.
When asked if the timing of the speech after students are returning from the holiday could lead to surprised parents and students, Grasso said she didn't think so given the national attention it has received.
The U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said the address, slated for 10 a.m. Sept. 8, would encourage students to "work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for learning."
"I think it's an appropriate thing for the district to show an address from the President to stay in school, set personal goals and demonstrate responsibility," Grasso said, adding that these ideas are in line with the Community of Character and 40 Assets programs currently in place.
The district has been contacted by about 10 parents via calls and emails expressing concern. While families who would rather their children not watch the address or complete assignments related to it, Grasso said students should bring a note to class and there would be alternate activities available during that time.
Responding to talk of pulling children out of the classroom, a statement from the district encouraged parents to "know the facts," which state that the district loses more than $30 per student who is absent (excused or unexcused) and that students will not be asked to sign any "pledge" related to the speech.
The White House has reported that the text will be available to review today through its website, www.whitehouse.gov. The U.S. Department of Education has also posted suggested lesson plans, which are also available online: www.ed.gov.
To watch the address, see it live at www.whitehouse.gov/live or C-SPAN, or download it at www.whitehouse.gov/mediaresources or www.ed.gov.