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I just got an e-mail from La Mesa-Spring Valley school board member Penny Halgren, apologizing for her vote to delay showing President Obama’s speech to schoolchildren.

The East County district decided to make schools wait to show a recorded version of the speech until Wednesday so that it could be reviewed, barring them from turning on the live speech on Tuesday.

Halgren wrote:

If I could roll back the clock and do it again, my vote would have been to show the speech live in our classrooms.

My intent was purely to create a rich and personally meaningful educational experience for each child in our district.

Because of that narrow focus, I missed completely the value of the group experience gained by having all children listen to the speech at the same time.

I sent Halgren a reply asking if she could contact me to explain her changed opinion. I’ll post an update when I hear from her.

Update: I just spoke to Halgren. She explained that she hadn’t understood that the group experience — not the exact content of the speech itself — was part of what made the event important. Two teachers who talked with her about it convinced her that it should have been a collective experience. “There are certain things that you do in life that bring us together as a community and as a nation,” she said.

I also got an e-mail from another board member, Bob Duff. He wrote:

After seeing the President’s speech, I now believe the message should have been viewed live and I regret I was responsible for the delay. All should had the opportunity to have seen it live. For this I truly apologize.


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