Thursday, June 6, 2013

"This Class Changed My Life..."

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. 
Here is a very short video of a young lady pleading with the School Board to re-instate a teacher "that changed her life."
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
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 the press.
Nonetheless, the second investigation by the School District found Jon Greenberg guilty of intimidating the student because his students had mounted a defense. On June 1st, Jon received a letter confirming his transfer to Hamilton Middle School. More information can be found at
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
Concerned Students of The Center School”

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