Defined as "the courses offered by an educational institution," curriculum seems to be the last priority of the current EASD school board and the current administration under Mrs. McGinley.
At the March 27th regular school board meeting some concerned citizens staged a public reading from one of the most vulgar, politically biased, non-fiction books approved for our children by the McGinley administration.
Excerpts form the book were identified by page number, prefaced for context, and then simply read word for word as printed.
Audible sneers and whisperings against our public reading could be heard from the group sitting directly behind me. Muffled laughter came from the side of the room were a good sized group of high school students sat. Mocking sighs could also be heard from several different areas around the room while our presentation continued.
And the school directors sat silently with no comment at all about the vulgar content of this book, its use in the curriculum, or their personal thoughts on the matter. Only Mrs. Matthews, a former teacher, expressed her proud approval of this book in previous communications with a concerned citizen.
Mrs. Leonard –Ellison, present through a telephone patch, at least suggested this book go to the Education Committee for further discussion and review.
However, by the end of the meeting it still wasn’t clear if the board will take action on this disgusting work of non-fiction or if they will just continue to silently approve and hope the situation goes away so they don’t have to take a position on it publicly either way.
The book Nickel and Dimed was brought up for review two years ago by Eric Adams, a 1988 graduate of Easton Area High School, but the board never scheduled a vote on the book after a review was conducted per school district policy #109.
The school board changed dramatically through the last election but even the new board has not put this on the agenda for a vote still to this day. The board is so focused on financial issues, building matters, and personnel concerns that it seems to have forgotten the main reason we send our kids to school; Education.
Curriculum issues like this should be the priority of every school board established to manage the local public educational system for our children.
One by one other school districts in our area and in other states across the country are removing this book for a variety of different reasons ranging from its biased political ideology, its vulgar content, its pure socialistic view points, and its graphic and braggadocios admissions of illegal drug use and detailed instruction on beating, or cheating, a pre-employment drug test.
For Easton this book is a far cry from meeting the standards set forth for selecting materials as described in policy #109.
The issue most concerning to me is the illegal drug related passages. The Easton Area School District proudly posts “DRUG FREE SCHOOL ZONE” signs near every school district building. We have on-sight police presence in some of the schools to help combat crime and illegal activity and to help create a safe environment for our children.
Gang activity in our schools is closely watched and stopped as soon as it is identified. Because of the close relationship between the illegal drug culture and gang activity, this fact cannot be separated or marginalized in this discussion.
Meanwhile Mrs. McGinley’s administration has condoned the smuggling of explicit illegal drug use instruction directly into our classrooms and into the hands of our children by approving of the book Nickel and Dimed as part of the curriculum.
Arguing to keep the book, one student stood up at the March 27th meeting and reminded everyone in attendance that, “we have Google and we (his generation) can easily get this information on the internet anyway”.
While that is true, instruction on illegal drug use absolutely should not be handed out to our children by their teachers with the blessing of Mrs. McGinley’s administration, while our elected school board simply looks the other way.
It is a gross contradiction for the Easton Area School District to allow curriculum material which contains detailed instruction on the use of illegal drugs and related chemical buffers while at the same time claiming to enforce a “DRUG FREE SCHOOL ZONE” policy.
It is the duty of our elected school board to hold accountable the administrators tasked with the selection of curriculum materials for our children. The school directors are in place to represent the citizens’ interests in the highest quality education possible for our children’s education.
It is their duty to make sure that the selections made meet the strict criteria set forth in policy #109, even though the “weeding” process (or book burning as some like to call it) is delegated to un-elected administrators.
Selecting material that tells our children it’s ok to be dishonest, use illegal drugs, and then teaches them how to cheat on a pre-employment drug test starkly contradicts the standards outlined in policy #109 and sends a strong message in opposition to the very principles which we hope to promote in guiding our children to become honest and upstanding citizens. With the use of this book we are basically telling our children, “Don’t do drugs, and here’s how to lie about it”.
It is my sincere hope that our public reading of the vulgar language and illegal drug activity contained in this book will weigh heavily on the minds of those elected school directors entrusted with our children’s’ education and that they will act swiftly and decisively to overturn Mrs. McGinley’s recommendation to continue the use of Nickel and Dimed.