NPFC member remarks as delivered to NUSD Board on 8/20/02
Good evening Trustees, My name is Aaron Brown and I have three children in the district, one at Sinaloa, one at Pleasant Valley and one at Lynwood. I am one of many parents that are advocates of diversity awareness, including sexual orientation as long as the materials used are age-appropriate. I think it is important to focus on diversity in a broader perspective, but just as important to address local issues. I am very confident that I as well as several other parents would not be here if this district had already done their jobs regarding age-appropriateness. Specifically related to the issue of diversity curriculum, I don't think the issue is whether or not we should address diversity; the question is how we address diversity.
As I previewed the film and guidebook for "That's A Family", I agreed with many of the issues addressed in the film, but I also had problems with some of the themes. I think that adoption and divorce are personal and for some people very private issues that when raised in the classroom, may place parents in difficult positions as to whether or not they are ready to discuss these types of issues. I don't know about you Dr. King, but I was offended by the one theme in the film, where it appeared that the only families with drug problems were African-Americans. I really found the theme where the young man discussing his two moms' and pregnancy were not age-appropriate for fourth grade. I am not sure this section is in compliance with the Ed code. These types of issues are not even discussed in Family Life with fifth graders.
Roger, you have really tried to find a safe haven with the opt out concept and I would like to ask you how parents handle the situation in which they choose to have their kids participate in some sections of curriculum, but want to opt out of other sections of curriculum. Can you please tell us how the district is going to manage this very complex and difficult process? If the answer is the process has not been defined, how does the board form policy without knowing the impact on each and every student?
Perry, you have mostly supported the issue of diversity as long as it was age-appropriate. Can you please tell us why you think these types of issues are relevant to K through 6 graders? Many parents are telling you they don't think they are appropriate for K through 6 grades; therefore, why not try and reach a solution that is acceptable to most of the community? What about the guidebook for "That's A Family" which is supposed to be used by teachers after the film? Has the Diversity and Curriculum Committees reviewed and approved it? Which ages or grades will the guidebook/film be targeted to?
Let's now consider budget issues. Is the proposed curriculum already budgeted for and if so what is its priority in the overall budget? Do we have to give up other services and programs to implement this curriculum such as books, teachers and academic programs?
I feel that the district should give the administration some direction in terms of the response from the greater community and develop materials that are more acceptable. We had masturbation added to the fifth grade Family Life curriculum at our elementary school by the Principal. When a parent brought it to the attention of the board and administration they knew nothing about it.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my views.