Statement from Superintendent Banda on The Center School race and social justice curriculum class (partial):
On Dec. 21, 2012, we received a complaint from a family at Center School alleging that the instructional activities used in the Citizenship and Social Justice: Advanced Placement Language and Compositions and Social Studies class included intimidating and discriminating actions, attitudes and classroom environment.
Our Human Resources Department then launched an investigation of this
complaint, as is our process. At the request of the Superintendent, the
Teaching and Learning Department reviewed this particular course,
convening an ad hoc committee to examine the curriculum.
In the meantime, the class continues to meet and we’re reviewing how a
portion of it – a six-week race unit that has since ended – will be
taught in the future.
Regarding the first issue, the Human Resources
department found that the way in which the race unit at the Center
School was taught did create an intimidating educational environment for
Based on the Human Resources finding, Superintendent Banda requested the Ad Hoc committee meet to review the curriculum.
In the second issue, the Teaching and Learning team is
reviewing the Ad Hoc committee’s recommendation and making a decision on
how the race and other course units are taught in the future.
Seattle Public Schools strongly believes that race and social justice
should be taught in our schools. These are important conversations for
our students and staff. But we don’t want to put any child into a
situation where he or she feels so intimated by the manner in which
these issues are taught that the course is no longer effective.
I find a couple of things odd:
- who was on the ad hoc committee (it would have been nice to know)
I'm not quite sure this statement makes it clear how this really played out. I believe, based on the
teacher's statement, that he had to suspend that portion of the unit,
not that it "has since ended." I don't know why that was not stated if this is public record.
it also doesn't say that this is a long-time class that has used this
curriculum before. So one complaint and that makes it wrong? I'm not
saying the committee is wrong in its ruling but was that issue of past usage taken into
account at all?
- T&L is reviewing the decision to make a
decision on how race and other course units are taught in the future.
Really? Because the Board directed district staff, after the Brave New
World issue, to review materials that involved race and social justice.
Did that not happen? Shouldn't this be a bigger effort with the SEA
and teachers weighing in and not just the "T&L team?" This is going to influence how many teachers teach, not just in social studies but in LA as well.