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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12/19/13  9:16 am
Commenter: Marissa Tierney, Charlottesville High School

Use of Controversial/ Sensitive Instructional Material

I echo many of the sentiments that my colleagues have already articulated.  From my perspective and course load, I am concerned that this measure would limit the number of "teachable moments" I can take advantage of in my classroom. Many of the new English SOLs encourage students to read and evaluate information from media sources.  If a world, national, or local event were to occur that aligned with the themes we were discussing in class, would I be unable to pull a news article or other salient piece of writing because I had not listed the piece on my syllabus and earmarked what students or parents could deem controversial or sensitive?  We are being encouraged to have our students read "authentic texts," and incorporating such texts into the curriculum would mean taking a "real time" approach and reading them when they are relevant, not a year later, after the text has been listed on a syllabus with all objectionable content noted.  This infringes on teachers' abilities to tailor instruction not only to students' interests, but also to relevant current events.

CommentID: 29716