The curriculum issues that emerged from the case of Robert J. Keefe v. George J. Geanakos (Keefe v. Geanakos), 418 F. 2d 359, 1969 was with regards to use of words in the classroom that are considered vulgar. In essence the plaintiff who was the English teacher and coordinator of grades 7 and 12 was accused by the school committee of using offensive materials one of his classroom teaching. There were five charges against the teacher, including subordination, failure to agree to the request of the school committee to refrain from using offensive language, carrying out a project considered by the school to undermine public confidence and unfavorable reaction upon the school.
The district court refused to grant the plaintiff preliminary injunctive relief on the failure to meet the two tests prevailing in the litigation and showing that the injury or damage will be irreparable. The appeal court overturned the order of the district court denying an interlocutory injunction pending determination of the case. The Court of appeal reasoned as follows; that the material used by the teacher was scholarly, thought provoking and thoughtful and the use of the offensive word used to develop the thesis, the word in question is also not new to high school students, and finally the court held that it feared for the future of learners if they are not adequately exposed to the realities of life. My school has a policy that gives students an option to select instructional materials that are not offensive to them, their parents and culture. This can also be guided by the parents since the school share with the parents a list of materials or books that are to be used and if a parent feels the content are offensive, then they can decide if their children should attend classroom discussion on such materials (Essex, 2007).
The issue of concern raised in the article is whether biology instruction on dissection of animals should use real animals or computer programs. In my views, both sides present valid reasons supporting their arguments. The district high school offers students an alternative to dissecting an animal in their biology. The alternative is for students to use a computer program to carry out the practicals. In my opinion, it is evident that its not possible to lump people into one basket and expect them to thrive (Sadker & Zittleman, 2013). People hold different views, beliefs, opinions, attitudes based on their cultural, religious and other aspects. Consequently, it would not be wise and professional to force learners who detest dissecting an animal despite the argument that it gives learners an unmatched sensation learning (Essex, 2007).
In my view, learners should be given an environment that does not threaten or create fear in them. This will eventually help them to grasp the concept being taught particularly during dissecting. I opine that forcing learners to do dissecting on animals will have a negative impact on their mind which blocks them from learning the relevant materials. However, it is my view that research should be carried out to compare how students who learned through dissection through computer programs and real animals perform on their exams and jobs. If there are no statistical significant differences, then the alternatives should be encouraged as it will eventually cut costs, offer learners a perfect opportunity of learning consistent with their beliefs and culture while at the same time allowing those who are comfortable carrying out dissection on real animals.
The time when the teacher and the school committee sat and deliberated on the curriculum without an active involvement of parents and other special groups is long gone. Currently, according to Essex, (2007) every facet of American schools is greatly influenced directly or indirectly by various stakeholders. One such group is the special interest group and parents. These two groups have significantly influenced how schools select and use instructional materials, however, they do not influence the teaching methodology. In my view, considering that people come from varying cultural setting, coupled with the influence the community (parents and special interest groups) have, it is critical for schools to adopt a strategy of incorporating the contributions of these stakeholders. This will significantly reduce cases where parents sue the learning institutions or specific teachers for violating the civil rights of students and parents (Sadker & Zittleman, 2013).
Additionally, such a broader stakeholder involvement ensures that schools use instructional materials that are appropriate to the learners. However, in my view, there is need to strike a balance to ensure that materials on controversial and important topics are not eliminated from the curriculum as this might deny learners the opportunity to access vital information that would be critical in their lives (Essex, 2007).. Additionally, censure of materials based on unpopular views can also be addressed through a multi-stakeholder involvement. Lastly, the contribution of special interest group cannot be ignored, they have the resources and they might halt activities.
With regards to the case involving the creative social teacher Catherine Ariemma, who allowed students to don mock Ku Klux Klan outfit during a class project, I would have done the following as a principal of the school;
- I will summon the teacher through writing, and requesting her to meet in person to offer both oral and written explanation of her actions.
- This will be followed by informing the school committee on the issues which will then sermon the teacher
- At the same a thorough look at the school regulations on instructional material and how teachers should conduct teaching, particularly of historical events will be thoroughly looked.
- The teacher will also be given a warning considering that she does not have any criminal records
- Where there is evidence that the teacher violated school policy repeatedly, I will through the approval of the school committee suspend the teacher
Generally, it is common knowledge that teachers should be given the freedom to express their thoughts freely as they teach their students. However, teachers should be able to exercise wisdom when it comes to teaching sensitive topics such as white supremacy, history of slavery and black Americans, religion, homosexuality among others. Upholding moral education is central to any institution (Essex, 2007).
Home schooling caters for approximately 2 million students. In Maryland, the law stipulates that children 5 years old and less than 17 years must attend a public school regularly during the school calendar year. The law allows the same age group to be home schooled. The state acknowledges private schools and home instructions as an option to public school enrollment.
The regulation governing home instruction in Maryland is clearly stipulated COMAR 13A.10.01. The law stipulates the procedures that superintendents of every local school system use to examine if the learner is getting regular and thorough instruction within the school year. The subjects that must be taught in home schools must include English, mathematics, science, social studies, art, music, health, and physical education.
Fifteen days before a parent or guardian starts home schooling their children, a consent form or a written statement designed by the State Department of Education must be filled. Additionally, the state does not provide the parents with a curriculum, the same is selected by the parent or guardian (Woolums, et al. 2016)
The parent must also be aware that home schooling must be supervised by either of the following; local school system, a nonpublic school certified by the States Board of Education, a church-exempt nonpublic school or an education ministry of a bona fide church organization (Woolums, et al. 2016)
The law also does not allow any other person apart from the parent or guardian to offer instructions to learners. However, other adults might offer instruction in specialized areas, but not to replace the parents or guardians. It is worth noting that the primary provider of home schooling is not bound to be a certified teacher (Sadker & Zittleman, 2013).
The law does not prohibit the home-based learners receive extra coaching or tutoring. The state acknowledges that tutoring a supplemental to the primary form of instruction. In the same breath, a student may take part in the regularly scheduled standardized tests administered the school assigned to the learner (Woolums, et al., 2016).
Children under the age of 18 years must attend school unless certain criteria are met. Every learner must attend kindergarten before joining first grade. In Maryland, children with mental, emotional or physical handicap must attend school unless their attendance impede their development or they may be serious physical injuries to others.
Concerning the school opening hours, all schools must be open for at least 3 hours every school day for at least 180 days school days as well as at least 1,080 hours in the 10 month period in every school year. Students must also meet the 90 percent rule, meaning that they must attend at least 90% of the time the schools are open (Woolums, et al., 2016).