From Superintendent Banda (partial):
The committee made the following recommendations, which I am implementing.
The race and gender units of the course are to be reinstated, with the following actions occurring as soon as possible:
· The race unit curriculum should be age appropriate and taught in a non-threatening manner. The class should not use the “Courageous Conversations” activities, which were intended as training for adults. The District has used this as professional development and it was not intended for use with students.
· When classroom activities could potentially cause a high degree of emotion for students or potential distress, families should be notified ahead of time and communication to families should include an option to complete alternative assignments.
· There are concerns the current course does not meet the criteria of the College Board for Advanced Placement. In order to make sure the course meets AP standards, the course syllabus and objectives must be aligned with the stated course objectives for AP Language and Composition and American Government and Economics. The final syllabus must be resubmitted to the College Board, including all units and textual materials for approval.
· The manner in which the course is taught must not violate School Board Policies 3207 and 3210, which require that we teach units in a manner that treats all students with respect, does not intimidate or harass students, and does not discriminate against students because of their race or gender.
I want to thank the members of the ad hoc committee for their review of the curriculum and situation. And I look forward to ongoing and healthy discussions about social justice, race and gender issues in our classrooms.
Teaching social justice issues is an important part of academics for our students. These can often be difficult conversations, but they help prepare our students to become global citizens. I cannot stress enough how much I value curriculum on race and social justice. However, these are subjects that must be taught in ways that are age-appropriate and non-threatening.
I want to thank the many students who attended and spoke at Wednesday’s School Board meeting. This unique high school has a strong focus on social justice, and I know those discussions will continue to thrive in the school community.
Okay, let's discuss.
One, we STILL do not know what behavior was considered "threatening." The students who were in the class or who have taken the class say they never felt threatened so what it was is unclear.
This is not just a speculation as other parents/students need to know what that qualifier was so that they understand what the district considers "threatening" in ANY class.
Two, the class has been taught this way for a long time and it took this long for anyone to say "don't use Courageous Conversations training for kids?" That's on past principals at Center School. This is not acknowledged.
Three, Mr. Greenberg (and students) have said a syllabus DOES go home and students ARE allowed to leave the class at any time if they feel uncomfortable. I think it unfortunate that this is not acknowledged and tends to reflect against Mr. Greenberg when, in fact, he was doing these things.
Four, this is the first I am hearing that it is an AP class. Odd this didn't come up before.
I'll have to ask Mr. Greenberg for his thoughts.