NPFC member remarks as delivered to NUSD Board on 8/20/02
Good evening. My name is Abby Wong. My
family has lived in Novato for 3 years and I will have 2 daughters
attending Novato High this upcoming school year, a senior and a
I am a member of the Novato Parents & Family Coalition. NPFC is a newly-formed, grassroots group of concerned families and citizens ....
While we, as parents, support diversity awareness,
we’re opposed to the approval or use of the “That's A Family”
video or other such controversial materials in the future. We
agree with the comments attributed to Trustee Schwarze in the August 11
issue of the Marin IJ, and I quote: “As an educator who believes in
teaching the “essentials,” Schwarze thinks class time should be used
to build a strong educational foundation in the basics, not to teach
social issues topics better left to parents at home.”
As the mother of two high school students, I want
my daughters to have the best education possible. Academic excellence
has always been important in my family as it is in most Chinese
families. My parents immigrated from China and had a difficult
time making ends meet. They wanted a better life for their kids,
and instilled in us the importance of doing well in school and of
getting a good education. Now, my husband and I are instilling
this in our children. We have two girls who not only enjoy school,
they excel in their studies. Both our daughters are straight A
students and we are very proud of them. In fact, our older
daughter had a GPA of 4.33 her junior year and our younger daughter was
the valedictorian of her graduating class. We believe that the
introduction of any such controversial diversity materials will be a
distraction in the classroom and do not feel that they are appropriate.
We, as parents, strongly agree with Trustee
Schwarze that social issues topics are better left to parents at home.
It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children about caring
and respecting other people, not to name call or put others down.
I’ve spoken to other parents about this, at my workplace and my
neighborhood, and they are in agreement.
On the issue of the opt out policy, we agree with
what Trustee McAlpin was quoted as saying in the August 11 issue of the
Marin IJ. “Parents and students are relying on us as a district
to be presenting material and information that is reasonably accepted by
a broad group of the community.” As we have seen with the
petition drive, having received 1200+ signatures in only 12 days via
word of mouth, there is strong opposition to any such controversial
diversity materials. There should not be a need to opt out of
subjects being taught in the classroom. If controversial diversity
materials are needlessly approved for the classroom, then you are not
doing your jobs, and you will be held accountable.