IT’S IN THE AFFIDAVIT…


 Another hard hitting and fact laden piece in the Orlando Slantinal..

Mr.Scott Maxwell evidently did not take the time to speak with any of the parents that submitted 33 sworn affidavits, nor testified before the Florida Senate Education Committee, as to why the Materials Review process, from our own personal experience, is broken. Go figure! After all, as Mr Maxwell states, we don’t want to worry about what our kids are exposed to, right?  What exactly is Mr Maxwell afraid of ? Is it presenting all sides of an issue equally and fairly? Is it having parents truly involved in the decision making?

-It is in the affidavit

We want a system that is transparent and parent centered when considering educational materials. That is the parent’s job. If Mr Maxwell had spoken with me or read my affidavit, he would have learned that we want a system set up so that parents can decide which materials are appropriate or not and guide their child’s education.

-It is in the affidavit

It is about having a system, that is easily accessible to the parents, offering full disclosure of school material content, with any previous/present objections and/or praises. That way, the parent can make informed decisions.Today, that does not exist.

-It is in the affidavit

Today, if a parent wishes to challenge material, (opening their child to ostracization), the 2 school committees are hand-picked by the principle. All members were Brevard Public School employees or have a relationship with the principle.

The same goes for the School Board committee. So the very same system that presently blocks any active and meaningful parent’s participation, is the same system to decide appropriateness of material.

-It is in the affidavit

Mr. Maxwell continues , “But now, in the age of fragile snowflakes — where people want to be shielded from any information that might test their assumptions…” . Really?

If the Theory of Evolution, which is not a fact,(therefore..a Theory) is taught as a fact, then so should Creation. If Science Deniers teach Man-made Global Warming as a scientific fact, which is not, then the converse, using the scientific method to disprove this false assertion should be taught and published. It never is, instead, we are called names because we contest the content; whether age inappropriate or against our values as parents, or just not the truth. So Mr Maxwell, who exactly is being “shielded from any information that might test their assumptions”? Seems like your liberal ideals promote censorship, rather than encouraging open learning and discourse. If all sides of a topic are not being taught (which they are not), then that is a disservice to all children, and is Censorship.

-It is in the affidavit

I can attest to the fact that today, educational material does not evenly and fairly delve into all sides of many topics. This came to light early on while reading some of my sons books and later while reviewing multiple K-12 textbooks over the last few years,

Critical thinking is not force feeding one line of thinking into a child’s mind full of mush. Critical thinking is taking ALL facts, assumptions and information, debating openly and fairly, weighting all details and then making an informed decision.

“Snowflakes”? Are they the ones too afraid to have conflicting ideas published and debated in the light of day? Are Snowflakes doing the “Chicken Little” impersonation, while frantically running around yelling book banners, pro-censorship, book banners, pro-censorship?

-It is in the affidavit

Speaking of banning books, I have not seen the best selling text in history in public schools and being openly studied and debated; that would be the Bible. Why not “fight” for that one?

Mr Maxwell, the statue you referenced with “1000s of words” does not contain the language to enforce what the statute says. That is why we have the present bill. I don’t understand how you missed that.

-It is in the affidavit

THE ELITES

State Rep.Mercado says she has;..” been able to handle any concerns regarding my children’s educational needs,” Mercado said, “with their teachers, school administration and, if necessary, the school board.” Do you think, just maybe, that being  a STATE REP. AND BEING CONNECTED might have something to do with that? Sorry, the vast majority of parents don’t have that luxury. Additionally, Rep. Smith says,“The existing process to object to school instructional materials isn’t broken.” Spoken like a man that has NOT gone through the process.

Once more; this is not about being book banners or pro-censorship. It is about empowering parents to have a meaningful and impactful influence in what their children are being taught and  exposed to in school. Presently, here in Brevard County, that process is null and void of any true parent involvement what so ever. To the contrary, parents are blocked.

-It is in the affidavit

The philosophy of the classroom for one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.

Abe Lincoln

 

 

Florida wants to bolster book-banning in schools

If you think of book-banning, you might think of the 1920s fight to censor James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”

Or Ray Bradbury’s 1953 work of fiction, “Fahrenheit 451.”

Or, as it turns out, Florida right now … in 2017.

Legislators are rapidly advancing a bill that would make it easier for parents and activists to challenge textbooks and reading assignments they find offensive, so schools can “discontinue use” of them.

Oh no, my child read something new! Something edgy! Something about evolution! Bring me a government censor ASAP!

It’s like a return to the Flat Earth Society.

You know, if my kids hear something that challenges their thinking — or even contradicts my own beliefs — I don’t demand government intervention. My wife and I do something simpler: We actually discuss the issue with them.

But now, in the age of fragile snowflakes — where people want to be shielded from any information that might test their assumptions — Florida politicians are seeking salvation in censorship.

Senate Bill 1210, sponsored by Tampa Bay-area Republican Tom Lee, would set up new layers of bureaucracy and petition processes for people to challenge books in schools — even (get this) schools where protesters don’t have children in attendance.

And here’s the catch: The law would only allow activists to protest book choices at traditional public schools — not charter schools or voucher schools that are also funded with public dollars.

So some meddling ideologue can try to stop your kids from learning about Darwin, but you can’t do squat about reading materials that your tax dollars fund at a voucher school.

It’s bald-faced hypocrisy — and part of a continuing trend of undermining public schools while exempting charter and voucher schools from the “accountability” legislators claim to covet.

Democrat Carlos Smith, one of the few local reps to vote against this bill, said the double-standard was obvious. “If transparency is truly the motivation,” he said, “then the process should apply evenly to charter schools and private schools taking taxpayer-funded voucher money.”

But it doesn’t.

Now, by this point, maybe you’re thinking: Scott, I get what you’re saying. But as a parent, I want to have some impact on my kids’ curriculum

Great. You already can. Florida’s existing statutes contain an entire chapter — more than 1,000 words — detailing parents’ rights to complain about and petition instructional material. The statutes even outline how districts must handle parental concerns and how quickly they must respond.

But Lee’s bill puts all that on steroids — with pages of details, outlining a petition and appeals process and hearing officers who will consider potentially offensive material “not suited to the student needs” or cited in “sub-subparagraph A.”

Confused? Sure. Many of the standards are wildly subjective. But hey, if you didn’t have a valid reason to protest “Catcher in the Rye” last year, maybe the hearing officer will agree that sub-subparagraph A now applies.

The same goes for atheists upset about Christmas books in the library. (It could cut both ways, ya know.)

Forget encouraging your kids to actually think for themselves. Thanks to new “procedural safeguards,” maybe they won’t have to think critically at all.

This may all sound silly. And for what it’s worth, Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette said he has no interest in banning books “or even entertaining such efforts.”

But this pro-censorship push already cleared the House with bipartisan ease. Local reps voting for it included Democrats Bruce Antone and Kamia Brown and Republicans Jason Brodeur, Bob Cortes, Eric Eisnaugle, Mike LaRosa, Mike Miller, Scott Plakon, Rene Plasencia and Jennifer Sullivan.

Among the few locals to vote against it were Smith and fellow Democrats John Cortes and Amy Mercado, who described the bill as a solution in search of a problem.

“As parent of six, I have always been able to handle any concerns regarding my children’s educational needs,” Mercado said, “with their teachers, school administration and, if necessary, the school board.”

Smith agreed, saying: “The existing process to object to school instructional materials isn’t broken.”

Lee has said his bill was meant to empower parents. But he didn’t offer any response to my questions about double standards — why he believes activists should get to question books at some taxpayer-funded schools but not others.

Frankly, I’m not sure they really thought this through. The idea seems unnecessary, burdensome and anti-enlightenment.

But if these guys really want to empower book banners, they should at least be consistent about it.

You can find the contact info for your state senator at www.flsenate.gov/Senators.

smaxwell@orlandosentinel.com