North East ISD Superintendent's Response to "Philosophical Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives" handout
by TexasGOPVote on April 12, 2010 at 5:34 PM
TexasGOPVote.com has recently received an e-mail from Richard A. Middleton, the North East Independent School District Superintendent, in response from our post: "School Propaganda: A Warped Discussion Of Liberals vs Conservatives in High School Government Class"
Below is the letter as received (links added for reference):
Texas GOP Vote.com references an alleged incident at Roosevelt High School in San Antonio, which has been brought to my attention. During my investigation, I have concluded the following.
At issue is a handout “Philosophical Differences between Liberals and Conservatives” given to students by a teacher as part of a high school class. This handout is not part of the District’s government curriculum and was brought in as a supplemental teaching tool for the class. The District does not approve of this document and immediately removed it from use. An investigation into this situation is still underway.
The intent of the Roosevelt teacher was to use this document to spark discussion among her students about political philosophies and bias, but without clarification of that intention in the materials, it could be misconstrued as the teacher’s and District’s beliefs. The handout was part of a student packet for a Government class. Students could take the packet home, and it was posted on the teacher’s Web page where students and parents can review assignments. Blogosphere comments that report students were not allowed to take the document home are simply not true. Other students who were in this class have confirmed that they were allowed to take the handout home and were never restricted from doing so.
Soon after a student took the packet home, a parent complained to the school about the handout. At that point, the handout was pulled due to the parent concern. As a result, the document was never used in the class. However, had it been used, it would not have been a stand-alone document. The teacher’s intent was to have students consider their political points of view, identify examples of liberal and conservative ideas, and discuss bias as depicted in the handout’s words and pictures.
The parent who brought this complaint forward was contacted within 24 hours by a school administrator and informed that the document was removed from the lesson. After hearing the school’s resolution of the matter, the parent stated he wanted his child to remain in the teacher’s class.
Again, the District does not support the use of this document, and I’d like to reiterate that this handout was not distributed in secret or restricted to class use as stated in blogs. The District welcomes dialogue between students, parents and community members. When concerns are brought to the attention of District staff, we take them seriously, investigate the complaints and take appropriate action. Unfortunately, in this case, many assumptions were made and misinformation was distributed without the District’s opportunity to explain what occurred.
This misunderstanding has emphasized the importance of referencing instructional materials properly so that parents and students understand their purpose and use. We have learned that lesson and will be training staff accordingly.
Thank you for allowing North East ISD the opportunity to address this issue.
I am requesting that you correct your posting regarding this matter and post this letter as you have done with the handout.
Richard A. Middleton
Superintendent of Schools