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  11:21 am
Commenter: Bill Muth


This regulation would be another step toward narrowing the curriculum, encouraging a culture of fear in school and depriving children of a chance to develop the tools they need to adapt and thrive in the changing world around them. We cannot always know what is sensitive and for whom. Rather than, say, explore the ways she feels about race and ethnic differences in the classroom if a teachable moment arises, will the teacher have to put off a discussion until the topic is vetted with parents before hand? As if the teacher decides to do the right thing and discuss the event as it is unfolding, will she be punished for it? Wouldn't  it be reasonable to send a note home after the fact and explain what was discussed? If we cannot trust teachers to make these kinds of judgments, then we have surrendered our idea of education, given over to skill training. Rather than help children negotiate "sensitive" and messy and complex experiences in life as they arrive, we will silence real dialogue entirely. For what is real dialogue except the tactful and brave examination of life across difference? And these vibrant experiences are often unanticipated in the curriculum. 

CommentID: 29783