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Op-Ed: Supporting Our Teachers Equals Supporting Our Schools

Group forms to back teachers in book-challenge debate.

On Jan. 10, a group of parents attended the Board of Education meeting. They came because of concern over the effort then underway to ban two critically acclaimed novels, Beloved by Toni Morrison and Waterland by Graham Swift, from the Advanced Placement English course at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park. That night these parents and other concerned citizens formed the Supporters of Academic Integrity in Plymouth-Canton.

Now with well over 200 members and growing, our organization believes that censorship is wrong and that decisions concerning the development of curriculum in our schools should be made by our professionals in the field of education, without consideration of political pressure from outside groups. We support the existing protocol for selection of classroom materials because of the high achievement of our students that this process has produced. Many of us moved to this area because PCCS is recognized as one of the most desirable school districts in the state and we oppose any campaign that would weaken that high standard. While we firmly support the rights of parents to guide the education of their own children, we stand in strong opposition to any parents imposing their personal principles on other students. We believe that parental rights go hand in hand with parental responsibility.

Over the past month we have learned one thing: opposition to censorship is a non-partisan issue. Our organization, like the community we live in, is a diverse collection of people representing all political views. We support any and all people who share our view of academic integrity. Persons of all faiths or none at all are welcome to join our effort. Our focus is solely the protection of academic integrity and the continued freedom of highly qualified and effective teachers and administrators to develop and implement the curricula which are most advantageous to the students they serve without undue external influence. We look forward to working in a cooperative and constructive manner with the school board and citizens from all walks of life to ensure that this goal is achieved.

If you would like more information on our organization please visit us at SupportAcademicIntegrity.com.

Mike Andro February 13, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Thanks for supporting our district! Your energy is very much needed to keep the PCCS a great place to learn and grow. The letter states "Persons of all faiths or none at all are welcome to join our effort." and "We look forward to working in a cooperative and constructive manner with the school board and citizens from all walks of life to ensure that this goal is achieved." Yet the 'Supporters of Academic Integrity in P-C' facebook group is closed to the public?
KateB February 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Mike, we'd love to meet with you to discuss your views on this issue. When is a convenient time for you?
Mike Andro February 13, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Thanks for the reply. I view this book issue as a great opportunity to energize parents, teachers and especially students to further appreciate the tremendous educational possibilities that are offered at the PCCS. I will message you through the website.
KateB February 13, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Sounds good, Mike. Looking forward to hearing from you.
KateB February 14, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Nuffsaid, I direct you to the dictionary definition of integrity: "adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty." (Dictionary.com)
Kelli February 14, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Nuffsaid, the Supporters' mission statement says '...curricula which are most advantageous to the students they serve.....'. Denying the Holocaust can hardly be considered advantageous to our students.
debi p. February 14, 2012 at 02:24 AM
twisting & taking things out of context in an extremist viewpoint is sadly the most dangerous.
The Truth February 14, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Nuffsaid, that's a ridiculous example--it's a straw man and you know it (or at least you ought to know it). A holocaust denier would not meet any of these criteria and would be censured by his or her peers, the other teachers and administrators in the department and school. The key here is peer review, which is the system of accountability that is already in place, and it works just fine. Teachers do not teach in a vacuum, they teach as part of a group of other teachers, with oversight by qualified administrators.
Tim Roraback February 14, 2012 at 02:59 AM
I don't reply to cowardly anonymous commenters!
debi p. February 15, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Please note that the website as well as the Facebook page "News from Supporters of Academic Integrity in P-C" is open to the public & we welcome your comments there.

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