October 2, 2008

The Search for Truth

An e-mail circulated our building today from an irate parent, who contacted our superintendent (not the teacher in charge or even the building principal... this man went straight to the top) in regards to a documentary shown on last week to the seventh grade academic teams. Tomorrow, you see, begins our environmental research unit, and in order to give students a glimpse into a hot button environmental issue, we show An Inconvenient Truth.

After this father fully admitted that he had not seen the film himself, he demanded that it be removed from the curriculum. He was "livid" that his twin daughters were exposed to this type of "liberal, political material" and "appalled" that our district would be so "irresponsible" to present this information to students. Furthermore, he demanded to know when the other, "scientific" side would be presented to students as well (this is where I laugh).

Of course, our response (this was not a parent on my team... thank God!) was that this film is presented as one perspective and that students will spend the next month researching alternative views and that all popular research is somewhat biased. We are fully supported by our principal in this effort, so it sounds like this daddy will have to take his tears elsewhere.

I am well aware that my school is located in a very conservative, upper-middle class Chicago suburb, but I guess I didn't consider how close-minded some people could be at times. I believe that a well-rounded education includes information from multiples sources, so that when these students can learn to be critical thinkers with the ability to discern for themselves what is true. Isn't this what we want for our children?

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