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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12/23/13  12:48 am
Commenter: Patty Breland Reading Specialist Kate Waller Barrett ES Stafford, VA

We're Professionals, Trust us ... we don't need this form of subjective censorship

There aren't too many professions where you are trusted with a more precious asset. As teachers, we are trusted with the future: the living/breathing version of it.  There are many reasons that we should be trusted. We have an education, professional judgement, and have spent more time in graduate courses/ professional development classes than most other professionals ever will. We know our stuff! Just because we are poorly paid, does not mean that we are not professionals. Putting wide spread, subjective restrictions on what materials we can use will not promote the acquisition of twenty first century skills and authentic learning.

Teachers want to inspire thinkers, create self motivated, life long learners, and develop leaders that are independent. Students have access to so many internet sites,and printed materials as we enter into 2014. Many of them could be considered inappropriate or controversial. We need to stop trying to take away all of the things we find objectionable, and instead teach our students to navigate safely. Instead of shrouding materials in a blanket of intrigue, by restricting access to them, we should be having discussions about the topics that students encounter in their reading. Involvement is key, we need to, as parents and teachers, read what students are reading and discuss it! Without this type of exchange, many misconceptions will remain, and students will stop relying on the adults they should be turning to for support.

I don't believe that we can keep putting more restrictions on our teachers, especially ones that are subjective and could certainly be counterproductive. Let's teach and embrace teachable moments that will surely arise as we encourage children to read from "a variety of texts, for a variety of purposes". This is what the standards state, even in elementary school. I am confident that we know how to do that. Trust us, we're the professionals.

CommentID: 29779