« Update: Teachers No Longer Working for Free | Main | Google Redesigns Its Education Site »

Too Much Parental Involvement?

On the New York Times Room For Debate blog, Florida high school English teacher Scott Sterling questions the feasibility—and wisdom—of a newly enacted New Hampshire law that requires schools to provide alternative lesson options to students whose parents or guardians object to assigned content. Given the elasticicity of what parents find "objectionable" these days, he writes, the law will essentially create a new layer of Individual Education Plans for teachers to deal with:

Instead of just having to accommodate the students with documented learning challenges, the teachers will now have to tailor lessons for Johnny, whose parents objected to Edgar Allan Poe because "The Raven" gave him nightmares back in seventh grade. Or Susie, whose parents don't want her to read any Shakespeare because she "just doesn't get it and will never use it anyway."
There's also the matter, Sterling continues, of potentially undermining a central aspect of good teaching:
But as a teacher, my job is more often than not to push the students who don't think they can do something, until they can. In New Hampshire now, teachers can only push until parents object. Students will end up learning less.

The new law derives, incidentally, from a parent's objection to the use of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America in a personal finance class at Bedford High School.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed On Teacher



Recent Comments