Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Shredding" the Public School Curriculum

As of January 1, 2012, New Hampshire has passed a law declaring that "school districts must adopt a policy that creates 'an exception to specific course material based on a parent’s or legal guardian’s determination that the material is objectionable.'"  What does this mean?  It basically means they every time a parent objects to something that their child is learning--whether that be evolution, sex education, or the laws of gravity--the school district has the responsibility to come up with a custom-tailored curriculum for that student.  According to the Nashua Telegraph,
Once a complaint is made in writing, the school district is required to come up with an alternative lesson plan agreeable to both parties that meets state curriculum requirements for that particular subject. Any extra expense would be incurred by the objecting parents.
Sure, the parents cover extra costs, but the school district is now responsible for coming up with custom lesson plans for every singe student whose parent(s) object to anything at all in the curriculum.  The article goes on to state that
Apparently, the previous law wasn’t good enough for Rep. J.R. Hoell, R-Dunbarton, who introduced the bill early last year. Hoell said parents should have the opportunity to object to any material, not just those used in sensitive classes such as sex education. 
The inherent problem with that approach is that it’s based on a faulty concept: that parents always act in the best interests of their children. You don’t need a degree in sociology to know that parents many times do just the opposite – much to the detriment of their child’s development.
There is a reason that teachers have degrees and teaching certificates, and well-trained educators and academics are put in charge of putting together curricula for school districts.  No curriculum is ever going to be perfect, but that's not the point of public education.  The point of public education is to teach a diverse range of concepts and themes that will reach as wide an audience as possible.  Parents have ideas of what they want their child to learn in school, but what they need to realize is that certain values are to be taught at home, not in a school where there are a multitude of different backgrounds--whether racial, religious, political, or otherwise.  The idea that now every student must get a special lesson plan when mom or dad doesn't like the lesson plan for the whole class is just ridiculous and puts much unnecessary strain on the school district, as well as teachers who will be stretched even thinner than they already are.

I am more disturbed every day as I hear about the measures being passed in US school districts by politicians who seem to have no clue about how education should or can work: the fiasco that came of implementing slavery into math word problems in Georgia; the dismantling of the Ethnic Studies program in Arizona; and now the disregard for the very basis of public education by Republicans.

For a more complete and very interesting objection to the Bill, written by professors of the Department of Education at the University of New Hampshire, click here.  To conclude, I will quote the closing words of the Nashua Telegraph article, which states:
Even supporters of the new law, in a bid to tamp down criticism, acknowledge few parents will take advantage of it. One lawmaker even speculated it might be used by a miniscule “one-10th of 1 percent.” 
If that’s the case, the Legislature would have been better off to reject this pointless bill and left well enough alone.
What do you think of this scenario?  Do you think this sort of law is really going to help matters or just make things worse?  Leave your questions, comments, or concerns in the comments section!

Thanks for reading!  Oh, and for other articles on the topic, please check these out:

The New York Times
Seacoast Online
Death and Taxes


  1. Ah yes, NH, my old stomping grounds, back in the news (for something other than the primaries). I'm curious to see how this will play out. Seems like quite the potential mess.

  2. Thanks very much for your large information . shredding, And knowledge full description . I think it is Sus a topic that many kinds of people face many problems. thanks for this.