NPFC member remarks as delivered to NUSD Board on 8/27/02
My name is Fred Wright. I am a Novato resident. I am also a father in a multi-racial - not bi-racial but multi-racial family. My 5 children range from 6 to 23. My oldest daughter is a single parent. My oldest son, who graduated 3 years ago, currently lives the homosexual lifestyle. My older children have unfortunately experienced the trauma of seeing their parents divorce. I give this background, not to brag or display my family's flaws, but because nearly every scene in That's a Family and its supporting materials provokes an emotional impact - a very negative one.
In addition to my family history, I have also taught high school Physics, Chemistry, and Math in both public and private schools. Most of all I am a concerned and active parent.
I urge the Trustees not to approve the proposed That's a Family curriculum for the following reasons:
1. The proposed curriculum is inherently divisive. The parents are divided, the Board is divided, and worst of all the schools - students and teachers - are divided over this issue. Implementing the curriculum is not going to bring peace.
2. Opt-out will be a nightmare. Over 1200 parents have signed a petition objecting to the curriculum in the past 12 days. That's a lot of opt outs that the teachers and administration will have to deal with each and every lesson. Opt-out has been a dismal failure in one elementary school already.
3. The curriculum contradicts some of the moral beliefs of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian students, and suppresses their 1st Amendment rights to free exercise of their religion.
4. For those of us whose moral beliefs do not have a divine basis, what makes one person's moral beliefs superior to another? If all belief systems are truly equal, then why are the propositions that homosexuality, divorce, and extra-marital sex are all acceptable lifestyle choices being pushed upon those who believe otherwise?
5. That's a Family perpetuates the stereotype of African-Americans as living in broken families. Multi-racial families are also given little respect in the film. Cultural differences are minimized instead of being celebrated, as a good diversity curriculum should.
6. Academic learning time - already in short supply for every teacher - is being sacrificed for a curriculum that doesn't solve a problem. My family is happy in Novato - we have never felt discriminated against because of our skin colors, unlike other places we have lived. Taunting and name-calling is a function of school discipline. I don't tolerate it in my classroom, or in the hallways, or outside. Taunting and name-calling happens when there is no supervision. That's a Family does not deal with the more common taunting and put downs - "fatso", "4 eyes", "silver mouth", "babe", "hot chick", etc.
7. Last I checked, the age of sexual consent in California is 16. Why are we addressing sexual preference in the 4th grade? Or even the 8th grade? Why only one alternative sexual preference? There are other equally deserving sexual preferences if we are going to go down this road.
Please put an end to this poorly designed curriculum now!