PR Firm EducationNC on Book Controversies: Parents, Let the Experts Decide

PR Firm, EducationNC, has a new article up by Ann McColl.  She harps on the policy of the schools as having the right to decide what your kid reads and sees at school.

Part of her argument that an approval or review process for texts is an undue burden on teachers. The sound you hear as you read the passage below is muted shrieking in the form of escalating hyperbole:

Is it enough for the teacher to give parents the titles of books? Independence and And Tango Makes Three don’t shout out what they are about. What exactly is the burden on the teacher to explain to parents in advance what the book is about? And what if the book is in the library? Do parents need to be notified of all books that are in the library on the chance that a student might choose the book to read during class time or that the teacher might use a book as a part of a lesson plan?

And if this approach makes sense as a rule for books, what happens to other supplementary materials? When the Supreme Court issues its opinion on gay marriage, can civic teachers share newspaper articles or web site analyses? Or must they send this information first to parents or go through some sort of committee approval process?

And let’s add one more thing. New teachers in North Carolina can only be employed on contract. Their contract can be nonrenewed for any reason that is not arbitrary, capricious, political, personal or discriminatory. Some may say this is a good thing – it holds teachers accountable, including for how they make choices around curricular materials. But if teachers don’t have constitutional free speech rights and they have very limited employment due process rights, what exists in the system to support teachers in being creative and innovative? In responding quickly to issues in their classroom?

Got that parents?
Your right to know what your kid is being exposed to is trumped by ‘free speech’ of teachers.

In a nutshell: Parents, you should let the ‘experts’ decide what your kids read and learn.

McColl misses the point entirely.
Schools are not parents. They are funded by parents and citizens. They answer to US not the other way around.

I left a comment:

What is totally unstated in this article is the lack of transparency by school systems and individual schools towards parents is driving these controversies.

As it stands right now in North Carolina, parents have to fight just to see basic materials being used in the classroom. When they do make such requests, many are treated to an meeting where they find themselves alone facing multiple representatives of the school.

Want to remove controversy like some of the examples in the article above?
Have every school maintain a website and every grade/class within the school have one as well.
All materials, books, testing information, calendars and resources that are to be used should be listed for parents to see and access prior to the school year kicking off.

Parents should have the final say about what their children learn. The school is the vehicle for education, not the ultimate gatekeeper of it.

Oh and by the way, Ms. McColl fails to mention that King and King is written like a fairytale and it deals with homosexuality. This was read to 8 and 9 year olds without parents knowing based on Omar Currie’s unverified claim of a bullying incident.

Coincidentally, Mr. Currie attended and presented at a “LGBT in The South” conference just weeks prior to the unverified ‘bullying’ incident. He presented alongside Efland Cheek’s Assistant Principal, Ms. Goodhand. Their presentation was about how to be an activist in the classroom using materials like the book King and King that Ms. Goodhand supplied to Mr. Currie. The presentation focused on “Disrupting Heteronormative School Cultures,”.
(Read more here

So please, stop telling parents to let the ‘experts’ handle what our kids read.


It would appear Education NC was not interested in another view point and deleted my comment. I left a new one, which is pending approval. Let’s see if they nix that one too.

Update 5/26/15: EducationNC has restored or perhaps finally just published my comment 5 days late…

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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