NPFC member remarks as revised for delivery to NUSD Board on 8/20/02
I am Carl Mosebach. Our family has lived in Novato for 5 years, our oldest son attended and graduated from Novato HS during '98 to 2001, and another of our sons will attend NHS this year. I'm speaking for the first time at a board meeting --- as probably others will be tonight. So … I'm a parent, been active in youth soccer coaching and other youth activities … and I'm also a member of the newly-formed, grassroots group, Novato Parents & Family Coalition (NPFC).
NPFC, came to be in just the last 3 three weeks because it seemed no one was speaking for many Novato parents, families, children and concerned citizens. We committed to test that belief with a grassroots petition drive started on Aug. 8, which we conducted under the self-imposed condition of no public advertising to truly prove its grassroots appeal. We also set a goal of reaching at least 1,000 names of Novato residents by today's vote before publicly representing ourselves as speaking for a large group of parents. Today, as of noon, we have over 1200 signatures ---and counting. Having exceeded our goal, we're now entering a totally new phase of this petition drive through our web site --- novatoparents.org --- and through other forms of public notice that may seem appropriate in the weeks ahead.
Other NPFC speakers are here to talk more about our efforts related to your vote tonight. But, my purpose now is to give you a quick overview. Here's a copy of my prepared remarks and our NoavtoParents.org web pages.
NPFC began as --- and will remain --- a grassroots group. We haven't and won't seek endorsements from any others --- we just want to represent the many folks who before tonight seemed to have no clear voice. We don't welcome this role … as our About NPFC web page explains. We'd rather be home with our families and would rather have not experienced the many personal inconveniences of the last three weeks. But, it was simply too important to have done otherwise … and we're here to stay as long as we represent so many Novato parents, families, children and concerned citizens.
Also, in your package you'll find our Guiding Principles for Public Dialogue. We are looking for common ground. We invite all others involved with any of these issues to contact us, so we can all help solve them. And if we can't agree on something, we'll help define and narrow the true nature, scope and basis of that disagreement so the Board need only address those truly disputed matters. For example, we don't think anyone could disagree with the United for Safe Schools Novato petition from June calling for a just and safe environment and the use of age-appropriate diversity materials.
We just think --- as supported now by over 1200 folks in our ongoing petition drive --- that the approval or use of the "That's A Family" video or other such controversial materials, is, among other things, not age appropriate. As made clear in the preamble to our petition (also in your package) and in our About NPFC page, we are sensitive to the diverse cultures represented in Novato and we do support diversity awareness. And as such, our opposition to "That's A Family" is also based on our belief that we should be able to find and agree to much better, non-controversial, and age and content appropriate materials. That would also avoid NUSD finding itself on the leading edge of needless controversy. My personal letter to the board in July, before NPFC existed, said much the same; and it also relied on what we've all re-learned about our great American Heritage in light of the post Sep. 11th world. That letter is also in your web materials.
One last item --- the Visalia situation may come up tonight --- but given what we've seen on that, there's no factual comparison to NUSD. You have taken a pro-active approach and you don't have teachers doing such inexcusable things. So, don't be persuaded to over-react to different circumstances than exist here in our Novato culture ...