Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Regulations Governing Local School Boards and School Divisions [8 VAC 20 ‑ 720]
Action Amendments Regarding Use of Controversial or Sensitive Instructional Materials
Comment Period Ended on 1/15/2014
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12/16/13  12:44 pm
Commenter: Misty Elmore, English 11,AP Language Teacher,English Chair,Campbell Co,BHS

Teachers' responsibility vs Parents' responsibility

In the midst of a reform of the American Education System to increase rigor, better prepare for college and workforce, and promote critical thinking for our students, the laws and regulations being placed upon the educators are actually stifling these main objectives. We are hand-holding and codling the very same students we claim to be better- educating. We are placing nearly 100% of the responsibility on the teachers while the students and their parents have very little.  

This new regulation proposed by the VA Board of Education would simply impede English and history teachers' efforts to encourage students to think on higher levels, experience the world from other points of view, and make connections to world issues. We expect students from all over the state to perform at the same level on standardized tests but we shelter them the very information that would allow real learning to take place. 

Furthermore, shouldn't it be the parents' responsibility to inquire about their child's learning experiences, rather than the teachers' responsibility to make sure every resource is approved by the parent prior to using it in a lesson? Why do we cater to the minority viewpoint when making policies that affect everyone? In the AP Language class, we use many types of controversial resources to encourage learning and growth in the classroom. I explain to my students that they are on the verge of becoming actual adults and one of our goals is to promote mature thinking, reading, and writing. They also are encouraged to share everything with their parents. If a parent has a question or concern, he or she is able to contact me on an individual basis. This rarely takes place.  But when it does, it allows for open communication to satisfy the needs and concerns of one student/parent rather than creating policies and lessons for the whole.

We continue to be hypocritical in education. We expect the teachers to strive for unattainable goals and perform with unrealistic expectations all the while hand-cuffing them with ridiculous laws, rules, regulations, and responsibilities which juxtapose the stated intentions of producing critical thinkers who are better prepared for their future roles in the community. Teachers are tired of fighting to teach. Enough is enough. Do not pass another regulation which cripples our ability to perform our jobs effectively.

CommentID: 29622