Viewpoint on "That's a Family"
Viewpoint: Too much, too soon?
By ABBY WONG
On behalf of the Novato Parents & Family Coalition (NPFC), I am addressing the concerns of our community about “That’s A Family,” the diversity video and guidebook, soon to be piloted in all fifth-grade family life classes.
NPFC is a grassroots group of Novato parents and residents who are committed to “keeping academic excellence paramount ... for our children.” Over 1,600 Novato citizens have signed our petition in opposition to the approval and use of “That’s A Family.” We also represent many others who have applauded and encouraged our efforts — though privately, out of fear of being labeled or harassed.
Many have already found “That’s A Family” to be objectionable for one or more of the following reasons:
Here are just some examples from the video and guidebook (which quotes the video and contains optional classroom activities) that illustrate people’s concerns:
These kind of concerns were publicly presented to the NUSD on Jan. 14 and posted on our web site. Likewise, over a dozen NPFC representatives of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities expressed similar concerns to the board last August (samples of those public comments are also on our web site).
We strongly encourage all fifth-grade parents to view the video and guidebook to make an informed decision. But we know many parents are unable to attend parent previews. That is why we asked NUSD in January to send guidebook excerpts to all fifth-grade parents along with the opt-in forms, and why, on April 29, we offered to pay for, and mail, such excerpts ourselves.
In the weeks ahead, NUSD will need to address questions like the ones below that were included in our Jan. 14 letter:
We invite you to join our efforts, sign our petition, and help us
find common ground (as per our “Principles for Public Dialogue”). Please
also visit our Web site, www.novatoparents.org, view our
videos/guidebooks, e-mail us at npfc@NovatoParents.org. We appreciate your taking the time to
examine all aspects of a curriculum that will impact our schools, our
families, and most of all, our children.
Abby Wong is a Novato parent and a member of the NUSD Diversity Advisory Committee since October, 2002.