Welcome to Let Kids Be Kids advocacy blog.
Our goal is to post relevant information that will spark action,discussion and interaction, creating a catalyst for solutions and ideas to impact the challenges we face in our society. We welcome comments, suggestions and submissions in support of those seeking a voice. "...Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear..."
Last night I attended a Seattle School Board meeting in support of returning funds to Special Education programs. Special Education is experiencing Draconian cuts!
These cuts impact those who are unable, for the most part, to speak up for themselves.
I also attended to show my support for a teacher who has been transferred from a Seattle High School, Center School, to a Seattle Middle School because of the complaints of one family about the content in his curriculum.
If you are interested in signing the petition below you may do so on the following link. We strongly urge the Seattle School Board to reallocate funds to Special Education and to re-instate Jon Greenberg at The Center School. M. Barrett Miller Managing Director Let Kids Be Kids, Inc.
“Seattle School District forces out Race and
Social Justice teacher
Confronting racism is a great idea in theory at the Seattle
public schools, but when put into practice the Seattle School District and
Board shutter at the idea of allowing teachers to confront issues that might
make people politically and socially uncomfortable.
Last week the Seattle School District announced its intentions
to transfer Jon Greenberg out of The Center School due to a parental complaint.
Jon Greenberg has taught Race and Social Justice at Center School for ten
years, this is the first and only complaint he has ever received.
So what is the School District’s response to a teacher stepping
outside the normal 12th grade Language Arts and History curriculum and
challenging his students to look beyond themselves and at racial inequality
that exists in the world? Well in the case of Jon Greenberg, they investigate
him and transfer him a Middle School.
Jon Greenberg teaches 12th grade Humanities at The Center
School, a small arts focused public school that exists above the food court at
Seattle Center. Jon has taught race and social justice for 10 years and through
that time has inspired many student to pursue social activism in the community,
not to mention the recipient of many awards, including the recent Seattle Human
Services Coalition Mayoral Proclamation. It is also worth noting that out of
all the teachers in the Seattle School District school district, Jon is one of
the few who has an established curriculum addressing racial issues.
In March, Jon’s curriculum came under review as a result of one
student and their parent's complaint that the curriculum was “intimidating”.
The resulting action of the complaint was an investigation into how the
curriculum was taught. Once the District concluded their investigation, they
found the class created an intimidating educational environment for a student,
even though they failed to gain context interviewing other students who were
present during the alleged intimidation.
The curriculum review process caused a two-week suspension of
discussing social justice issues in the class and led to the removal of
Courageous Conversions (which the district itself used to educated teachers on
issues of racial inequality) and content deemed age inappropriate for 17 and 18
year olds. More information can be found at http://seattletimes.com/html/education/2020515075_bandadecisionxml.html
During the suspension many of the students rallied behind Jon to
help reinstate the curriculum. Then complaining parents of the student who
filed the initial complaint, filed a second complaint claiming alleged
retaliation against their child. They claimed that Jon Greenberg had prompted the
students to fight the curriculum suspension and review. This was not the case,
the concerned students of the Center School put up the petition and contacted
Jon Greenberg’s transfer for teaching a curriculum that received
overwhelming support from the Seattle Education Association. It sends a
chilling effect to all of teachers within the District. It effectively shuts
down any curriculum that effectively incorporates discussions of race and
social justice, and sends the message loud and clear that we as a district
don’t talk about difficult or controversial subjects.
We are asking for your help. Contact the district and school
board and ask that Jon Greenberg not be transferred and that his Courageous
Conversations curriculum be implemented across the district