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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1/14/14  9:41 pm
Commenter: Educator and Concerned Citizen

I Oppose the Proposed Amendment


I strongly oppose this proposal, and it is not because I do not support parents' rights with respect to their child's education. Rather, parents absolutely should - and already do - have the ability to opt out of texts. Just as educators must make decisions about texts based on students' learning objectives, skill level, background knowledge, interest, and many other factors, so, too, should parents be informed about their child's education and provided with alternative, comparable texts should they wish. However, rather than institute a process which will ultimately limit the breadth and diversity of texts students might choose to read, I would advocate that efforts focus on ensuring the consistent use and communication of structures already in place. 

Beyond the fact that the proposed changes are unnecessary, the vague nature of the language used in the proposal is reason enough to reject it. Who will define what is sensitive? Who will define what is controversial? What is sensitive or controversial for one is not for another, and this is where the great risk lies. It has always been - and will continue to be - impossible to find a common ground, a common opinion or agreement about the questions posed above. As it should be. Any proposal that could limit the texts from which students might choose to read, ponder, connect, and question the world around them, past and present, is egregious. It should be recognized for what it is - a misguided step that is more about censorship than educating our students responsibly.

CommentID: 30536