Restoring Local Control In The "Screwals"

Written by David DiCrescenzo on . Posted in Readers' Opinions

Publisher’s Note:  I received the following “Letter to the editor” from a reader and I totally understand the need for such a bill.  However, without the binding over-sight and hands on scrutiny of all text books and curricula by individual parents and parent committees, much of what is deemed acceptable is actually designed to indoctrinate our precious children.  

Case in point is item D which says “Be accurate and factual.”  The problem with a broad statement like that is what one parent finds “accurate and factual” another may rightly find antithetical to his or her point of view and contradict what the child is taught at home.

In any case, we owe it to our children to do much better than we have been in both the public and private school systems nationwide.    

Letter To The Editor:  During a recent delegation meeting in Vero Beach and Melbourne, the subject of restoring local control in education was addressed by several presenters. One of our legislators asked the question, "What does 'local control' mean?" 

The answer to that question and the remedy to the current lack of local control, are addressed in the proposed legislation outlined below. As a parent of 6 children and a grandparent of 7, I am deeply concerned about the content of the educational materials being used in our classrooms, and ensuring the highest possible standards of education, not only for my children and grandchildren, but for all Florida children.

Our children and grandchildren deserve the highest quality education which unleashes the individual learning potential of each child.

This past week Florida Representative Byron Donalds of Collier and Hendry Counties, and Past Senate President and current senator in Hillsborough County Tom Lee filed Instructional Materials companion bills SB 1210 and HB 989.

When passed into law, this Instructional Materials bill will restore local control of curriculum to each school district, give a meaningful voice to parents and the local community in the selection process for instructional materials, and require instructional materials used in the classroom meet the following criteria: 

a. Be research-based, and proven effective in supporting student learning

b. Provide a non-inflammatory, objective, and balanced viewpoint on issues

c. Be appropriate to the students’ ages and varying levels of learning

d. Be accurate and factual

e. Be of acceptable technical quality

f. Shall strictly adhere to the requirements of Florida Statute 1003.42(2) US Constitutional Founding values and principles 

g. Not contain pornography or sexually explicit content as is otherwise prohibited by Florida Statute. 847.012(3).

These common sense proposals state that textbook and online providers of materials used to teach our children “shall” comply with these seven criteria.  

This is the least we should do to protect our children from the beneficiaries of invasive, expensive and substandard materials used in the classroom and in testing methods. It will also go a long way toward ensuring that our children are prepared for a successful future in accordance with their unique and individual gifts and talents.

Lamarre N.