Tuesday, April 10, 2007

They will never admit error

The school board and administration will never admit they erred with regard to any of these latest issues, viz., student newspapers and reading list? Why? The answer to follow.

The administration should admit they erred. They should take responsibility for another appalling decision, and they should take a hard look at themselves and compare what they claim is their goal - teaching children - with what they have become - purveyors of nonsense.

Not one of the responses from the board or administration has convinced me that anyone involved is truly upset. District employees simply view these latest issues as bumps in the road. But, bumps in a road to where?

The district will commit to re-reviewing their literacy selection process, yet there has always been enough district policies and processes to guide the selection of challenging and appropriate reading material. The problem is the selectors themselves, and they remain. Moreover, they appear to be remaining unscathed and unapologetic.

Once again, the talk in the schools will revolve around these issues. Ask parents of high school students what gets discussed in class on Wednesday, and their childen will say the reading list and student newspapers. Teachers will take up valuable time ranting and raving about how they cannot to exercise their professional judgment. Professional judgment? You have to be kidding me.

If I were facing the need for additional tax dollars, I would be as conservative as possible. Why ruffle feathers? Why indeed?

It is my strong belief that a number of teachers and administrators live to indoctrinate children. How else can you explain the insistence and repetition of all of this? How else can you explain the continual in-your-face actions of those entrusted with someone else’s child?

There you have it, the answer to the question above: Why will the district not admit error? Simple, the district staff and leadership do not believe they erred. These tax-funded employees have unilaterally decided to drop the approved curriculum – one that attempts to address the mission statement – for a personal, hidden curriculum that is extremely hideous.

Note: There is always the board member who says that the solution is a little common sense. I agree. Yet, you will not find a mite of common sense within the school walls.


Anonymous said...

If it wasn't for a parent reading the selections listed on the assignment sheet and objecting to Dr. Davis, the selection that Dr. Davis removed would have remained as a choice: a selection he found appalling but that his own staff hand-picked for our children to read.

Anonymous said...

"bumps in a road to where?" THE ANSWER: THE ROAD TO NOWHERE. You see, from the perspective of these teachers, education is all about the journey- not a destination: at least not in an academic sense.

Anonymous said...

Olentangy "THIS WEEK" newspaper reported that "[t]eachers did remove one book" that contained "overt and graphic sexual depictions that our teachers deemed inappropriate." This is superintendent Davis' spin regarding his teachers that are out of control and not under his leadership. ARE THE TEACHERS THAT REMOVED THE BOOK DIFFERENT TEACHERS THAN THE ONES THAT CHOSE THE BOOK IN THE FIRST PLACE??!!??? Davis decided to remove the book, and Davis alone. And he does seem to be very alone in these decisions- at least among district administrators and teachers.

Anonymous said...

Technical Correction: Dr. Davis DEMANDED that his teachers remove "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" from the assignment sheet, and so they did. So one can argue that the teachers TECHNICALLY removed the book. Again, these the same teachers that chose the selection in the first place. The book didn't re-write itself AFTER the teachers initially chose the book. If Dr. Davis was never made aware of the books' content by PARENTS, this book choice made by the TEACHERS would've stood. Unfortunately the [lack of]judgement of these teachers' permeates the classrooms and school environment- Scary.

Jim Fedako said...

Davis appears to be upset, yet he allows the same administrators to continue down the road that the administrators themselves have unilaterally chosen - the goals of the reading assignment do not even map to the maps.

Remember, it's Davis' job to oversee the implementation of the district's mission (read board policies), a no small part is the implementation of the district's curriculum, the maps.

To state that the literacy selection process failed in its first go-around is disingenuous at best. There were only six books on the list, yet the selection committee chose two of the ten most challenged books in the country.

By applying the simple rules of statistics and probability, I have to conclude that there was no mistake at all.

What happened is that once again the district got caught doing some really bizarre stuff.

Anonymous said...

The following is taken off of "ALIGN", the districts' Literature Selection Review: [Chandra's Secret]
Document any potentially controversial content:
3. Some mild profanity such two references to sonofab***h in reference to . . .
4. Implied references to prostitution including language such as wh**e

My question: If these selections are appropriate for students to read, then why are the profanity references "asterisked out" for the ADULTS? I don't understand this double standard, erring on the side of caution for the ADULTS.

Jim Fedako said...

re. 11:32,

That's an excellent point. Why are they protecting adults? Because the community does not want that committed to print inside the schools, or on the district website.

Anonymous said...

That same community does not support the employment of teachers or administrators who are committed to making such reading selections for our children.

Anonymous said...

fyi. It was not the same teachers (not that it matters) and you are dealing with a lot of hearsay and gossip. You have a right to your opinion, but if you want to go off sheer random thoughts and your own emotions, you are also going against a lot of research that supports the teachers in this case. And, the teachers did remove a book that was inappropriate.

I would suggest that you be very careful to not state anything that would ruin a reputation of someone -- just for the sake of a blog. You are treading on the edge of libelous comments and the fact that they are on your blog, you will be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

Why should kids read anything?? I mean seriously.. They can just ban books and opt to watch "Southpark" (of course when their parents aren't looking) in their homes.. They can go to school and cuss and show how horrible other students are that "aren't like them" and then they can go to college, be completely illiterate, flunk out.. and, end up living at home with their parents until they are 40. That's what everyone wants right??

Jim Fedako said...

To 6:20,

I think we are all interested in the process.

You state that "the teachers did remove a book that was inappropriate" while you also state that this was a different group of teachers than the those who originally selected the reading list. I don't understand.

When you state that "teachers did remove," are you implying that another committee was formed, or are you implying that the whole staff - with the exception of the original selection group - decide that the book was inappropriate?

In either case, what was the reason for the second review? Do adhoc committees form without authority, with the power to trump "rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of ... (the original group of) educators themselves?"

Doesn't the head of the department chair this process? Or, is there no line of control, a situation akin to a free-for-all whereby the last committee speaks for all educators, and community?

Please shed some light. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

6:24 PM:

Unfortunately, when we see a 34% increase in Olentangy District high school graduates requiring remedial English and Math between 2003 and 2005 (2006 stats are not available yet), now standing at 37% of all graduates, the trendline begins to vector into your scenario--not despite teachers' best efforts, but because of them.

Anonymous said...

The truth shall set you free.. unfortunately the TRUTH is often what most people cannot handle. The truth is that there is a lot of hate and a lot of finger pointing at a lot of people and very little honesty with yourselves. I am so amazed that this community is so guilty of pointing fingers and stating how horrible everyone else is, but cannot seem to realize how much judgment and hate they are actually exhibiting within themselves. The truth is that it doesn't matter what circumstances of anything you write, because they will always be taken out of context. WHY? perhaps you should ask yourselves those questions... Hate and lies are pretty ugly from people who claim to be so conservative and "loving"??? Perhaps you should look in the mirror and examine why you have so much hate and hostility before placing blame on anyone. The Bible has just as many references to the atrocities within human nature, but there so many people who base this judgment and criticism on that blessed book. Before you throw stones, check your own compass to see if that stone should be thrown at yourselves... The Truth will be revealed...

Jim Fedako said...

Nice rhetoric ... but, devoid of any meaning. Fill in your blanks. What is this TRUTH that you are alluding to? I can only image ...

Anonymous said...

The TRUTH is that 37% of Olentangy High School graduates are REQUIRED to take REMEDIAL MATH AND ENGLISH CLASSES once they get to college. Let that TRUTH set teachers and administrators free to improve that statistic. Olentangy students that follow the "college prep" track are being let down by the district teachers and administrators not ensuring these students are well prepared for college.

Anonymous said...

To 6:52 PM:

The two sides on this issue are not necessarily "conservatives" and (presumably) "liberals" ("permissives" is more like it, actually). I find this jump to label we Concerned Parents as "conservatives" is interesting; since teachers and their supporters seem to be unable to grasp the inconvenient reality that some parents actually are concerned for their children’s education, I understand their knee-jerk impulse to demonize us as odious "conservatives"—who, to them are the antithesis of enlightenment.

The dividing line in this argument is common sense and logic vs. nonsense and emotion. A casual stroll through the many strings on this blog reveals a contrast in worldviews: one that is results driven, fact based and anchored in logic; and one that is process oriented, emotion driven and focused on "feelings" (that, conveniently, are unable to be measured). Your own entry is filled with charges of "hate", "judgment", "lies", "hostility", etc. and you fail to apply critical analysis to the topic at hand.

Branding one side as partisan ("conservative" in this case) is a device the losing side commonly uses to nullify the winning argument made by the other side. This is how campus activist groups justify shouting down speakers they do not agree with; intimidating campus groups they don't agree with; and stealing campus newspapers they don't agree with, among other counterproductive or destructive activities. These people cannot win an argument framed with logic, therefore they steer the discussion away from a debate of ideas into areas less objective and quantifiable. For the less angry of those on the other side of the "conservatives", the use of emotion is their campus radical alternative. Why? Because one cannot find a metric for "feelings"--it can't be measured. It has no basis in logic therefore it cannot be proven true or false. How convenient.

Since the teachers and their supporters cannot "map this crap" meaningfully to the curriculum they resort to emotions and feelings to justify their selections. It's become a law of nature: what comes up must come down; what has a beginning must have an ending; what cannot be justified with logic must be shrouded in feel-good nonsense, such as using the exploration of "social issues" to serve as the basis for the selections of Whale Talk and "...Wallflower". Let’s not teach the kids how to read critically and write well…assign them to explore how it must feel to be a “marginalized” person. The only marginalized people I see are concerned parents. There is something seriously, seriously wrong here.

To Olentangy parents: If you're not outraged, then you're not paying attention.

NAP said...

I am a student at Olentangy Liberty High School. Personaly I am rather angered by the recent book bans. I understand some parents may not want their children to read some of the material that there is available, and this is understandable. But what is not understandabel is that someone would wish to extend their own judgements, and beliefes to the rest of the school populice by banning books based on word usage, or reference to sex. Here's a news flash, we don't have to read it to know about it, whether we read it in a book or hear about it from our friends. Either way, we still learn about the world around us, even the dark corners. Also here in the USA do we not have the right to read what wwe wish? The right to say what we will? Parents, you cannot stop your children from growing up, and beign shown the dark side of the world. You can hold out on your kids, but do not make the rest of us suffer from ignorence longer than we have to. You are not our parents, and have no right to force us into following your ideals on what we should learn and when. I know you alll will probably not even listen to this as I'm "just a kid" but for those who do, thank you for your time.

~Nick Paul

P.S. sorry for any spelling errors

Jim Fedako said...

Nick Paul,

Let me introduce a concept that tends to go unnoticed in government entities, such as public schools: scarcity.

If you want to read about the dardk side, and your parents approve, have them purchase the books for you - available at most book stores. No one is saying that you cannot read them - no censorship here.

Time is a scarce commodity, either the schools read perverse books which have no benefit to your dream of a college degree, or the schools have you read books that benefit you. As time is scarce, you cannot have it both ways.

So, why not let the students read classics that are beneficial, and you read whatever your parents allow you to read on your own time. Then, we would all be happy.

Isn't that a wonderful solution?

nap said...

Yet somep arent's try and restrict us from reading these books. You said that someo f the books are preverse, ad do not help for college. I see where you're comming from but at the same time, these books, they are much more real than most people want to believe they are. There books are here to show us what we want to ignore, point out the things that we have disregaurded over the years. Others give an entierly new perspective on life. Personaly I think that is the most valuable thing you can get. The gift of understanding, the gift of knowledge. We asre not here to learn nothing but book smarts, we are not here to stay sheltered, we are here to learn. Is learning about the dark faccets of our world to day any less importiant than learning algebra, or composition? My generation is told many times "you are the future" yet how can we lead man into a brighter future if we are banned from reading books that show us the darkness? I would nto have a problem of the banning of the books if it was a majority, but they where not done in such a fassion, it was done by a single parent's complaint. It is the parent's job to decide what their own child can see, read, and learn. It is not their job to decide what other children can learn. All to often I see people around me floating in ignorence, floating htrough a grey haze of misconception. And for the "inapropriate" matter in the books, we wil learn it one way or another, so either parents teach us, the schools teach us, or we learn it on our own. Which is the most dangerous choice there? As for my parent's view, they have no problem with me reading any of the books that have been baned. You said that these books do not benefit me, that they do not help me get into college, yet they do help me, they show me thigns i would not have learned about, the dark side of humanity in our world today. They may not be on the college reading list, but they offer some very strong openings for essay writing in highschool, and can introduce a mutch more mature idea of thought. I suspose what I am saying is if your childi s not mature enough to handle the reading, they should nto be in the class.

Jim Fedako said...


I hope you don't think that your writing samples are college material. You would do well to take some outside writing courses as your district teachers have failed you.