New social science texts for Cd’A classes

Concerns about critical race theory, global citizenship and outdated content were raised in public comments at Monday’s meeting of the Coeur d’Alene school board.

Trustees voted unanimously to adopt new high school social studies curriculum resources as well as a new and updated curriculum for middle school family and consumer sciences, middle school computer coding, technology/engineering shop in high school, medical terminology in high school, and computer programming and software in high school. development.

Administrators decided not to include any additional social studies materials in the adoption after several people raised the alarm about the contents of some workbooks and field journals.

Administrator Heather Tenbrink said all but one of her children attend high schools in the district.

“I feel like my children have had a solid education in the social sciences,” she said. “When there are controversial topics, my children rarely or never feel like the teacher is telling them what to believe about the controversial topic. They approach it and offer different points of view, and when my kids have to write an essay, they write an essay with what they agree with there… And that’s good for them, that’s how they develop their critical thinking.

Nearly 50 community members have reviewed the educational resources in the past 30 days. The majority of reviews were positive. Some said they favored the adoption, but also offered mixed or negative reviews.

“CRT. I can almost feel the eyes of some people in the room every time these three letters are mentioned in public comments,” said meeting attendee Meagan Slawson as she stepped up to the microphone. “Despite the repeated denial of any critical race theory that is part of the current curriculum and teaching in the Cd’A School District, there is still concern within the community.”

Slawson called out the district for failing to provide a definition of critical race theory.

“If you haven’t defined it, how do you know what to look for in the program?” Slawson asked. “Did the committee that chose the new social studies curriculum receive a definition, or even a guideline of what to look for regarding the CRT when searching for textbooks, workbooks, educational guides and reference materials?

Critical race theory is generally defined as an academic framework dating from the 1970s that focuses on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that these institutions maintain white dominance. The theory is a way of analyzing American history through the prism of racism. It has become a catch-all political buzzword for all teaching in schools about race and American history, and how schools approach diversity and inclusion.

Anne Seddon raised concerns about an economics book with outdated content.

“These are 7-12 year charts and will not give students perspective on economic conditions in more modern times,” she said. “I think the purchase of an economics book should be delayed until one is found that is more relevant to the real lives of these students.”

She also objected to the concept of students being “global citizens” in a sixth-grade supplemental workbook.

“I think the board should establish a policy that the goal of history education is to provide students with an understanding of the historical events, cultures and countries of the world,” Seddon said. “It should not teach students that there is ‘global citizenship’. There is only national citizenship. Empathy and identification with the lives and conditions of others is an appropriate topic with the understanding that there are no citizens of the world.

Grant MacLean of Dalton Gardens said he doesn’t always agree with district policy decisions, but is grateful for the quality of public education in Kootenai County.

He said he wanted to refute the claim that studying true history makes students feel uneasy and depressed.

“Unfortunately, there has not only been abusive and dehumanizing behavior by many of our leaders and citizens throughout history towards Africans, Asians and Native Americans to name a few, but there There has also been a large-scale denial and refusal to take responsibility for this behavior,” MacLean said.

He said some people are quick to point out that their own ancestors did not arrive from Europe until slavery was abolished, the Path of Tears had already been walked and the internment camps have been emptied.

“These people would do well to reflect on the economic and other benefits they all enjoy as a result of the oppression of those who had a different skin color and what it would take to correct the imbalance that persists today” , he added. said. “Winston Churchill was right when he said, ‘Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.'”

MacLean said America has done a lot the country can be proud of.

“There have also been shameful episodes that demand recognition if we are to heal from the divisions these episodes have caused,” he said. “Our teachers are knowledgeable and dedicated and able to teach all of our children the full history of our nation in a way that will not demean but help our children to understand and challenge the discrimination that has been repeated for far too long. .”

Program director Katie Graupman, who presented the review’s findings to the council, said the district does not have permission to post all of the content online. However, parents are encouraged to use their child’s login information and password to view all digital information their child has access to.

• • •

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

This story has been updated.

Jack L. Goldstein