Thursday, June 22, 2006

ACLU Opposes Ban of Vamos a Cuba

The results of the school board's vote to ban a book about Cuba based on one parent's complaint illustrates one of the major problems with schools in Dade County. (read Herald article)

Each school has a very distinct hierarchy in place of which the principal is on top. As we make our way down the list from principal, we have assistant principals, lead teachers, treasurers, activities directors, lead counselors, counselors, administrative assistants, and on and on until we finally get to the teachers and the students.

The deeper problem, however, arises when one individual parent's complaint is given so much attention that it ends up on the top of the already crowded hierarchy. We now have a school system, and thus each individual school, making its decisions based on the possible outcries of hundreds of thousands of uninformed, emotional, individual voices. In the case of Vamos A Cuba, this exactly what the school board is faced with. We have one parent of one child unhappy with the contents of one book.

The school system needs to take back the schools. Those of us who have become experts in the field, through education and experience, need to take up the reigns and lead the way through the irrational and politically charged actions of random individuals towards a system that lets the experts be the experts.

A principal, a teacher, and everyone else in the school system who has achieved the level of professionalism required to garner a certificate needs to be allowed the ability to look at individual complaints and say, "I understand you have a problem here, but we will not change our entire school's policy, and therefore an entire district's policy, simply because you are upset with it."

Until the experts are given this type of respect, our schools, and the nation's current school system, does not stand a chance of raising its current standards.

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