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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12/18/13  9:22 am
Commenter: Marie Finnegan-Copen

This is how it starts (x2)

Firstly, the term "controversial" means different things to different people.  What a teacher considers controversial may not correspond to what a parent views as controversial.   Therefore, a teacher may find him or herself in violation of this regulation even though he or she was diligent in noting what was "controversial."   Everything can be deemed controversial in its own way.  This sounds a bit like the beginnings of Fahrenheit 451...  We all know the ramifications of an uniformed society.  We cannot hide from things because they are "controversial."  We have to face them.   

I would also like to point out that this is an unnecessary measure, as all texts are presecreened by school systems before they are approved for the curriculum.  Part of the screening process includes discussing these topics in texts.  If they are found to be grade-level appropriate, they are added.  If not, they are not added.  A list of texts that can be used in classes are provided by grade level on school sites.  Parents are perfectly able to view these lists for themselves, and have a responsibility to be proactive.   This is another aspect of our "do nothing for ourselves--make other people do it for us" society.  

Aside from the obvious issues of censorship connected to this issue, the immense workload that would be added for teachers to comply with this regulation in addition to the mutlitude of other tasks that we are asked to do on a daily basis will make our jobs even harder.  So much is asked of educators.  What's amazing is that we are actually able to accomplish it.  Do not add this to our already overflowing platter of tasks.   It will only discourage good teachers from teaching.  

CommentID: 29683