When: Lancaster School District School Board meeting, January 4.
What happened: Administrators plan to update the district’s elementary and high school social studies curriculum to include more diversity, and this change may include the addition of controversial material for students in upper grades.
More information: The district will not be completely overhauling social studies, told council members Holly Rubick, who coordinates high school literacy and social studies programs.
Quote: “We take a look at old documents and ask ourselves: what do we need to do to improve? ”Said Rubick.
Settings: “The days of that whitewashed version of history are over,” Rubick said. The district wants to include diverse perspectives. Educators, however, will not teach these beliefs. Instead, the program can present an idea and then guide students through research and evaluation, allowing students to form their own informed opinions. “We don’t want to tell them what to believe,” she said.
Details: “We can look at The 1619 Project and see if it fits,” Rubick said in a telephone interview a few days after the meeting. “It’s a hot topic,” she explained, referring to a much-discussed journalism project that offers a different perspective on American history. Rubick and Jessica Sherman, who head the district’s literacy and social studies departments, asked interested teachers to apply for the program’s work. Parents and administrators will also make their contribution.
Hourly: College classes could be ready for the 2022-2023 school year, and the high school curriculum will follow a year later.
Reaction: Kareena Rios, vice-chair of the board, praised the proposed changes as teens might show more interest in social studies. “I think what’s really valuable about what you’re saying now is a refresh that really brings cultural relevance to our students.” However, Molly Henderson, a newly elected board member, asked how the district would bring together impartial people to work on the project. “How do you make sure that a diverse group within this writing and parenting program provides you with a wide range of ideas, philosophies, and opinions?” Sherman and Rubick said they plan to offer a training module that will explain how to leave personal opinions outside of the program’s work. “We want to reduce the bias that comes to the table,” said Rubick.
Voices from the community: Parents will also play a role, Karen Wynn, district education program director, told board members. “Parents are great vets for us. They definitely look at documents from a different perspective than we educators do. “