Core Literature in the CVUSD

In the fall and early winter of last year, the Board confronted the issues of alternative assignment and core selection policy. The Board consensus was that it was a bad idea to have one member write the policy. Therefore, they unanimously voted on creating a superintendent’s committee — a committee comprised of district staff and teachers, with oversight from an ad hoc committee comprised of two board members — Ms. Sandee Everett and Ms. Pat Phelps — to develop a policy for discussion.
However, when it came time to review a policy for discussion, the board majority proceeded to ignore the teachers’ policy (superintendent’s committee) in favor of a policy written primarily by one board member — Ms. Sandee Everett. The board majority then, ignoring dissent and concern from other board members, hastily voted in favor of this policy to go into effect by the start of the January 2018 semester.

It’s important to note that this policy referred to verbiage from the California Dept. of Education (CDE), in order to justify its use of asterisking certain literature titles, annotating them with blanket warning language that wasn’t accurate to all books notated with these asterisks. Upon learning of the Board’s attempt to misuse their literature annotations for purposes not intended, the CDE removed all annotations from its site.

That brings us to the present — the May 15 board meeting taking place tomorrow night. Since the policy in effect now includes verbiage alluding to written annotations that no longer exist, the CVUSD Board is reexamining this policy — as well as reviewing the policy that was first developed by the teacher’s committee — that until tomorrow night’s meeting, has never been placed on the agenda for discussion.

The Board needs to take the time to offer appropriate consideration of both an alternative assignment policy and a core literature selection policy as two separate and distinct policies, and give appropriate consideration to the teachers implementing these policies. The Board needs to partner with the teachers in our district in formulating these policies.

Now is the time to consider these policies in a comprehensive way without a rush to implement them before they are thought out. This is also an opportunity to show the district’s teachers that we are all partners in the district’s education policy-making process and that the teachers are RESPECTED as partners in this process.

If necessary, why not create two different teams to write the two distinct and separate policies — 1) a committee to address a procedure for individual student and family requests for an alternative literature project and, 2) another committee to write the core selection policy?
Let the Board use every opportunity to show we respect and value our teachers’ opinions, especially when it comes to curriculum decisions which educators are the experts in choosing and evaluating. I implore the Board to take the time to do it RIGHT!

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