The School District of Pickens County (SDPC) received a complaint from a parent about the use of the book STAMPED several weeks ago.
The parent gave a well-prepared speech at the last school board meeting in September laying out WHY she objects to its use. Her main reason was the book inculcates Critical Race Theory (CRT) tenets which is against the SC Proviso Law in place which prevents the teaching of these CRT concepts.
The SDPC policy is that a school committee reviews the book and makes a decision on whether or not to pull the book from their curriculum. The committee decided the book was in alignment to their SC College Career Ready Standards in English and decided the book would stay in use. The parent filed an appeal to that decision and so policy states the decision will be reviewed by a district wide committee. That committee also decided that the book should remain as it is in alignment with the SC College/Career Ready Standards in English.
Evidently both committees are just ignoring the law in place and think that teaching by using the present SC College/Career Ready Standards is more important than obeying the law.
As a former first grade teacher with a master's degree in Early Childhood Education, I decided to go through the First Grade SC College/Career Ready Standards in Social Studies, Health, and English/Lang Art and what I discovered is that these standards justify ANY book a teacher wants to use in their curriculum.
Below I show you my results from reviewing the First Grade Standards that SC provides for teachers to adhere to.
First Grade Standards and How A Teacher Can Justify reading CRT books or LGBTQ+ books:
“Instruction should utilize the specific thinking skills of a historian, geographer, economist, and political scientist, developed for grade one.”
(The above quote was taken from the SC College/Career Ready Standards Intro to First Grade Standards)
Examples of First Grade Standards:
1.H.2 Analyze a current event in South Carolina and make predictions about possible outcomes. This indicator was developed to encourage inquiry into the causes and effects of current events specific to South Carolina, such as a recent weather experience or a new law. This promotes further inquiry into how events have affected their own lives and community.
1.H.3 Evaluate different sources of evidence used in historical inquiry, such as art, artifacts, digital sources, graphs, maps, oral histories, photographs/images, and texts. This indicator was developed to encourage inquiry into evaluating and utilizing primary sources as sources of knowledge to learn about South Carolina
1.CG.1 Demonstrate how civic dispositions encourage citizens with diverse beliefs and backgrounds to work together for a common goal. This indicator was developed to encourage inquiry into working with others with stories different from their own. This indicator was also developed to encourage inquiry into the identification of examples of this behavior that are already occurring and how to use civic dispositions to better accomplish a task.
So, from my perspective as a teacher, I can justify reading the following book aloud to first grade students and discussing it. Even though I know it inculcates CRT tenets. Because this book STAMPED was a current event that took place in SC, and I can discuss with my students how there are behaviors in our classroom that are already occurring that prove racism is systemic and white people are the problem.
“Not My Idea” by Anastasia Higginbotham excerpts which state:
“Racism is a white person's problem, and we are all caught up in it” page 23 and...
“Whiteness is a bad deal...it always was.” page 58
Examples of First Grade Standards:
M-1.1.3 Identify ways that individuals are unique.
I-1.2.1 Identify how media and technology (e.g., television, video games, and social media) can positively and negatively influence mental, emotional, social, and physical health.
M-1.2.1 List ways that family and friends influence feelings.
I-1.4.3 Discuss ways to get along with others and avoid conflict at home and school.
Again, it's important to note that any teacher could justify reading aloud and discussing any LGBTQ+ book such as: My Maddy by Gayle E. Pitman which inside script states, “Most Mommies are girls, Most Daddies are boys but lots of parents are neither a boy nor a girl...like my Maddy.”
In my humble opinion it is imperative teachers be given better guidelines on what is appropriate and not appropriate literature to be exposing children to and whether or not the book can be "justified" to use based on a standard is irrelevant and especially if that book violates law.
Do we really want to allow teachers to choose ANY grade level appropriate book or resource or should we add “age appropriate, non-controversial” only.
I think if a parent wants a child to read a controversial book they can go to the PUBLIC LIBRARY and check that book out or purchase it for themself from a store. Parents have every right to read a controversial or not age-appropriate book to their child...but my tax supported schools should not be going against a parent's right to direct their child's education no matter what the SC College/Career Ready Standards state.
My tax supported public schools should not be pushing any political agenda on students. High School students comparing and contrasting non-controversial books about slavery and racism will accomplish the standards in place without breaking the law.
Age appropriate, non-controversial books should be used with young children or teenagers with impressionable minds. Did you know the age of rational brain maturity goes well beyond teen years? According to research, even though laws declare children to be adults at 18 years old, your brain doesn't reach full rational maturity until you are 25 years old.
See this article: At What Age Is The Brain Fully Developed? - Mental Health Daily
The final decision on whether or not the book STAMPED remains in use in the SDPC classroom will be voted on by the School Board at the Sept. 26th meeting. I will update you on the decision in the next post.
by Johnnelle Raines
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