North East ISD Superintendent's Response to "Philosophical Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives" handout

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):

From:
Richard A. Middleton 
[Superintendent North East Independent School District]

Comments:

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.

Sincerely,
Richard A. Middleton
Superintendent of Schools

 

Comments

I would like to thank Mr. Middleton for stepping in and taking action for the teacher that distributed material that was not approved by the school district.  It was handled in a timely manner and in very good taste.  We are all adults in these situations and it appears that it was handled in an adult way.  Kuddos to you. 
Not knowing the teacher or seeing the information he or she was distributing to the students; he or she may not have realized the harm or influence the material could have on the students.  Don't crucify a good teacher if it is not called for.  We all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness.

Peace and Love

Ronnie 

I would suggest that is it looked like Mister Middleton didn't think the document amounted to disinformation, it might be because he DIDN'T. If you are inclined in that direction, or even if you are not strongly inclined otherwise, you probably won't see what the big problem is, other than perhaps allowing that even those who are not so well informed have a right to complain about what they perceive as biased.

I reject the British Tory sort of definition of conservatism as a defense of the status quo. In fact, at the time of the American Revolution, defenders of the British crown were considered "Tories," as opposed to the revolutionaries seeking independence and liberty. The veneration of liberty is what I consider liberty, which does not preclude the reverence of God.

However, acknowledging that liberals do not understand such things, there is a grain of truth to what the paper says. Set aside the irony of people who want to restrict liberty and invade privacy accusing the other side of wanting to control people. It is true that I don't think that people are "basically good," and are less than perfect. But, I... See More think they should be personally constrained by an internalized morality, NOT by government; especially a federal one of a jurisdiction the size of The United States.

It appears that only parents of students have complete access to the assignments and related materials on Mrs. Geerdes' school web site. 
I'm wondering if your original contact could pull the full handout packet in which this handout was taken, so that we might evaluate the claim that the handout was merely part of a broad spectrum of viewpoints, as part of a lesson in political bias?

Completely ignoring the fact that there was a document found on her class website labeled "comparative definitions" in which she repeats the status quo comment:http://liarsdice.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/consteach.jpg

So was that document used in order to "to spark discussion among her students about political philosophies and bias, but without clarification of that intention in the materials," as well?
 

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