Parental Interference Allowed To Run Amuck

I don’t know what else to call this unbelievable turn in the issue of censorship and disruption of public school curriculum.

I only know that a state I visited and enjoyed, has now become the poster child for backward, dictatorial thinking. The voters of this state should not only be ashamed of themselves for voting for people who have no regard for individual rights, or for the public school systems right to choose what to teach, but they should begin a recall for every individual state congressperson who voted to override the governor’s veto to legislation that ALLOWS PARENTS to object to any school curriculum they disagree with! Yes, you read that correctly. So, say Tommy’s mom doesn’t think studying the history of Africa is justifiable, she can complain, and what? That part of school studies is discontinued?? And forget about the usual suspects within the curriculum, such as evolution, or sex ed, or reading who knows what benign book that will be deemed offensive. Wave goodbye to a rounded REAL education. Now it will be what a small group of a particular political party that determines what Tommy and Joe and Jean and Wilma learn. And it doesn’t matter what political party. It doesn’t matter if left or right. NO political leanings should play a role in what teachers teach. It’s that simple.

This goes way beyond one book being contested. Entire traditional studies are threatened here. If a parent doesn’t think his or her child should learn another language, will that mean that student is excused from an essential class? I hated math, downright despised it. But should my parents have had the right to disagree with it being taught to me? As much as my teen dreams would have applauded that idea, the old adult now abhors the concept of parents having power over my education.

But wait! The alternative? If a parent disagrees with a particular class, the SCHOOL system must CREATE an ALTERNATE class. OMG! It doesn’t matter if the parents are to pay for such a class, the time and energy the teacher and curriculum advisors will have to put into such ridiculous rigamarole, will take away from already under staffed classrooms, thereby depriving those children whose parents didn’t raise a stink. Where do these politicians find the rights to do this under founding fathers proclamations is beyond me. But they seem to think they have constitutional jurisdiction here. Or, maybe they believe they answer to a higher authority, which is completely out of bounds. There is nothing more destructive than fanatics, and apparently New Hampshire has just given a bunch of them carte blanche.

If I didn’t receive sex ed, I am not sure I would have ever understood how children are made–not from my shy and can I say it, ignorant parents, that’s certain! Science classes–I didn’t understand everything taught, but without  it, I would probably have beliefs  like Sherri Shepard on The View, thinking the world isn’t round! What if a parents thinks theatre is the devil’s playground? My entire reason for surviving that hell called high school would have been eliminated.

What were these voters in New Hampshire thinking?? And what about those who didn’t bother to vote in the ‘unimportant’ state congressional elections–this is what you reap when you don’t bother paying attention!! And where was the teachers union? The civil rights protectors? What the hell happened here!

I think you may be able to tell I’m over the top upset–there doesn’t seem to be any end to the stupidity we bring down upon ourselves.

Oh, and don’t be surprised if the next step is to abolish MANDATORY ATTENDANCE! Oh boy, cries those kids who have to be dragged to school to get their education–you know, around 100 per cent! I mean, at that age, who would willingly go into a building for 8 hours to sit and write and listen? And then be graded? And, little known fact. Teenagers, ARE NOT ADULTS! Their brains are still soft. Their cognitive abilities don’t crazy glue together until later–after the entire high school thing is done and over.

OK. So if parents are allowed to have a say, what about those parents who want their children to be taught the regular curriculum–do they now have to spar with parents who want only certain areas taught? Will there be constant curriculum wars in each school district?  If only one parent complains and will pay for Nitwit to be taught the alphabet instead of English Lit–does the school have to provide a room for just one kid? An entire school year of teaching play-books written up and supplied to said Nitwit? And what about Doofus? His father doesn’t want him exposed to evolution. What is supposed to be taught instead? Does Doofus’ father have the right to demand a course in its place, like, uh, let me just throw out any old subject here–Creationism??? How complicated and ludicrous will this new law be? The havoc in the classroom seems infinite in nature. Say, there are 300 kids in one school. And each parents dislikes one class–do they get to create their own alternative, meaning 300 kids will at some point be studying something no one else is? It’s mind boggling! Ok, so that’s kind of extreme, and I don’t know how the school will determine an ‘alternate subject’ whether parents have a say over that or not. But you must admit, it makes for chaos to the max, if every fanatic has their say. Even if only a couple per school exist–turns things upside down.

I can happily say I have no one living in that state who will be deprived of a decent untampered education. I feel badly for those who do, for those families appalled by this new law, by those students who only want to get through to the other side, not play games with what subject they have to negotiate  for each day. For the others, those who applaud this law, who will interfere with their local schools, as an American, I am ashamed of you, ashamed that this country once known for having some of the most innovative people in history, will now churn out restricted, limited, brain power, in the form of their offspring.

And yes, that means your offspring, Mr. You Know Who You Are, the one who began this nightmare to begin with. Your headline grabbing insanity has led to more insanity. If we are all lucky, the insane will be taken out of the classrooms, and put back where they belong, in nonentity land.

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13 thoughts on “Parental Interference Allowed To Run Amuck”

  1. As a NYC college professor I understand & sympathize with your concerns. Over the last 40 years, I have seen changes in curriculum I would not have thought possible when I started teaching. Changes—that have dumbed down our schools to the point where one would think they’d have hit the bottom by now, but I, ever the optimist fear we have aways to go.

    Curriculum changes made at the multi-tiered altars of inclusiveness, political correctness, corruption, cronyism, laziness and political expediency—serve only the holy trinity: politicians, UFT and interest groups—all have conspired to waste money, resources, time and our children’s future.

    We have thrown money at New York City schools for years—all for nought. The (real) test scores in New York City—are the worst they have ever been since standardized testing was introduced. Unbelievably, the trinity wants more money for schools & teachers—yet fight any meaningful means test for teachers.

    If the UFT (or any union for that matter) supports a politician with money and a get out the vote campaign how can that elected official sit across the bargaining table from the ppl responsible for his election?

    In my 63 years this city has been ruled for the most part by one political party—you’d think by now we’d be living in paradise! (not that any other political party would have done anything differently).

    • Steve, hello! I wasn’t in NY nearly as long as you–only 25 years or so, but I’m not sure what political party you think is running it, lol. While I was there-I had Koch, who although masquerading as a progressive, was actually a conservative, and his spots came out after he left office. Then I guess there was Dinkins, who was not much of anything. And our ferret hating, ha ha, Mayor Rudy–conservative, and Bloomberg, a fiscal conservative and perhaps a social progressive.

      But I agree–one thing they have in common is an inability to fix or even come close to making a difference in the school system. Charter schools popping up, do help. I hesitate to blame the teachers union for everything–although I definitely believe tenure should be revalued, perhaps eliminated–something they are holding on to with a death grip.

      I wish I had some kind of answer, or plan. More so, I wish the NYC government had some answer or plan! Thanks for posting! I don’t suppose you teach at Pace University–my reason for asking–I used to work at the student bookstore across the street from there, and at Lorry’s Book Company around the corner. Way back in the early 80s.

  2. As an American I’m often frustrated with my own fellow citizens. We have so much potential for good but we waste that potential to get into pissing contests just to hear our own voices. In fact that great idea in our constitution of the right to free speech should be qualified with the duty to listen. Listening and learning other points of view would go a long way to making the USA and all nations better. Yet I think about one cool thing this story brings up, books are still considered dangerous to some people. That means they’re working!

    • Sean, yes indeed! Books still do make a difference–yeah! So much so, that one parent complaining about one book in New Hampshire started this thing–and that one parent is a lunatic. And I say this because he responded to an article I wrote here about it, and he unraveled. So, a lunatic forces his will upon the school system which then the populace decides a little group of extremists should be in control of their congress, and that group, who sympathize with the lunatic, pass this law, and override the governor’s veto.
      Insanity rules.

  3. I do agree that the implementation of NH’s new law could breed chaos and greatly hinder the education of all their children. However, if I understand your post correctly, you also are upset because the stupid and bigoted, elected officials who carried out their will. This is what you get with a democracy at times or do you think it would be better if America was an aristocracy of the smart and enlightened? Shouldn’t they be the ones making educational decisions for our country’s children instead of their stupid and bigoted parents?

    • Voter turnout for New York City school board elections averages 3–5% of registered voters—we already have an aristocracy of the smart and enlightened. I don’t know how it is in NH but in NYC (and Washington) “the stupid, and bigoted elected officials” have hijacked the democratic system in league with unions, corporations, lobbyists and other special interest groups.

      As for “. . . stupid and bigoted parents . . . making educational decisions for our country’s children” Who is better positioned to make decisions that affect their children?

      • Steve, I’m surprised that you, as a teacher, professor, would want parents to dictate to you what you can and cannot teach. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the high school level or college. If a parent is concerned about what is taught their children in public schools, home school them. My kids shouldn’t be forced to deal with someone else’s parents’ belief system or idea of what should be taught. Parents may be better positioned, as in just being parents, that doesn’t make them the best people to be deciding curriculum. Why is it that in this one area, expertise means nothing? I’m not a certified plumber, should I dictate to the plumber what he or she should do, just because I own the house? Do I want it flooded?

        OK, kids aren’t pipes and faucets, but you get the idea. If every parent has the option of deciding curriculum–where do the students stand? Whose point of view should they be following–Mr. Smith? Mr. Jones? Mr. Ahmed? Mr. Esposito? Mrs. Kleinstopper? Mrs. Benedito? Mrs. McCoy? Mr. Andre? Each parent would have the right to demand a separate class if the one being taught isn’t within their philosophical landscape.

        If you have been in NY 60 years, you remember your education–do you believe you would have been better served if parents decided what you should learn–all 300 or so of them in the school district? And don’t try the ‘times are different’. They aren’t different enough to warrant chaos and parental interference in what should be a multi level, various viewpoint and hopefully, expert curriculum in their school system. And if the public think the teachers aren’t up to snuff in terms of quality–that’s an entirely different issue, not one of what is being taught.

    • If you read my post, I berate the populace for voting in the legislators that pushed this bill through and then overrode the governor’s veto. Their intelligence in doing so isn’t the issue. I said WE-there doesn’t seem to be an end to the stupidity we bring down upon ourselves, meaning we as a collective, a country.

      How did the elected officials carry out the voters will? Was this a particular issue in the elections? If so, I missed that part. I also didn’t call anyone bigoted–and the stupidity will be the result of students losing a well rounded decent education.

      I don’t think any specific group should be able to run the country–certainly not a teeny minority that the rest of the populace see as extreme, at the very minimum. As for parents deciding what the state educational system should teach, makes them neither stupid or bigoted, but close minded and frightened that their children may learn something about life that they disagree with. If their point of view is so solid, and their children believe what they do, then reading a specific book, or taking a particular class, shouldn’t affect their kids in any way.

      However, the parents who prefer their kids to learn about new things, maybe even things they disagree with but want them to be well informed, are cheated. The minority should never rule the majority–and if the voters hadn’t decided that a small group of voices should be in charge of the government, then this wouldn’t be an issue.
      And yes, that’s the democratic process–representation–and it should always reign, whether I agree or not. I’m simply embarrassed by the choice these voters made, and even more so over the law their representatives passed.

      • I did read your post, but was concerned I may have misunderstood you (that’s why I wrote “if I understand your post” before asking my questions). You clarified your position (to me) and revealed the gist of your concern with the last sentence of your comment above: “I’m simply embarrassed by the choice these voters made, and even more so over the law their representatives passed”.

        I think we disagree over who should control the education of children. Parents or Public School Leaders?

        • Parents should not have any control over curriculum. So if you think parents should be able to change curriculum to their way of thinking, then yes, we disagree, lol!

  4. This is a difficult issue. In a democracy each person, regardless of their intelligence, ability to reason, or openness to other beliefs is theoretically allowed to challenge and change the government that they participate in. I think that in some way there should be an avenue of dialogue for parents (who are also taxpayers) to object to or make suggestions when it comes to curriculum.

    Yet at the same time should the school be required to cater to each parents wishes? Should an experienced and qualified educator have to submit their convictions to parents? I don’t think so.

    As an analogy, should a parent(and taxpayer) of a member of the military be able to step in and dictate military strategy? Probably not. But should there be an avenue for concerned citizens to make their voices heard in all areas of the government? YES. And that should go to curriculum too.

    How do you envision dialogue should take place between parents and students and educators on the topic of curriculum?

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