138721~At risk, the freedom to teach—In her column Dec. 3,
Dina Campeau speculates that Ms. Joanne Lewis may have read the
poems with their graphic sexual content to her sixth-grade
as a way for the teacher to open up a conversation about
language and what people think when reading such jokes, or viewing
ads and shows that imply that the kids are more sexually developed
and in charge than they really are.
I know the policies are available to the public for research prior to publishing an article if one wishes to gather all the facts.
The fact is, educational materials are sometimes controversial because we all share varying value systems, and in a public setting, each opinion deserves respect.
The current GUSD policy on educational materials gives parents the right to review the materials prior to them being shown in class, and asks teachers to put a list together before the school year for approval so that these kinds of incidents can be avoided.
Teachers, when discovering a new material they haven’t put on the list for parents to review, are to use professional judgment and get the approval of the site administrator to use such materials. If this policy, implemented last year, had been followed, none of this would have occurred.
The tone of the article seems to indicate that there is not the structure in place to deal with these issues, or to allow teacher freedom and creativity.
The facts, available in the public record, indicate this issue was studied in depth, debated hotly over the course of several meetings, compromised over, and is now in place.
The GUSD Board of Trustees accomplishes quite a lot that goes unpublished, ignored, or dismissed. I believe the “news” article covering these debates painted a picture of us as if we were unable to figure out what we were doing. The reality is these issues have many sides and we are thorough in hearing all perspectives and considering all options.
It’s a shame, really, because for all the catcalls and insults we endure weekly, we do a remarkable job and have well earned the publics trust. I strongly urge all Dispatch columnists to be a little less shrill in the future and do a little more research prior to proclaiming specific knowledge of events and facts. That will serve our community very well. I certainly remain available to answer questions as part of any research one might be interested in. My contact info is on the GUSD website and in the phone book.