U-46 board member: New curriculum 'glorifies communism,' presents 'pseudoscience'

 
 
Updated 1/24/2017 11:33 AM
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  • Jeanette Ward

    Jeanette Ward

  • Traci O'Neal Ellis

    Traci O'Neal Ellis

A proposal for new digital literacy curriculum and resources has one Elgin school board member concerned about students being indoctrinated.

The Elgin Area School District U-46 school board Monday night voted 5-2 to approve curriculum for prekindergarten through 12th grades. One school board member voting against, Jeanette Ward, objected to some of the materials that are part of the digital curriculum.

"I will be voting 'no' on any curriculum proposal that relies on any text or resource that glorifies communism and denigrates capitalism, deliberately misrepresents Israel's history and right to live in its own land, presents the pseudoscience of climate change as established scientific fact, or celebrates Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger as a champion for women when, in fact, she was a racist who believed in eugenics, more specifically in killing as many unborn African-American babies as possible," Ward said.

Ward said she has given more detailed examples of why she objects to these resources on her public Facebook page.

The district's current library and literacy curriculum dates back to 2003 and does not include digital literacy. The initial cost for implementing digital resources is about $312,000, with a recurring yearly cost of roughly $241,000, according to documents.

School board member Traci O'Neal Ellis said the materials are not part of any class, nor are they mandatory for students to read.

"These are library resources. There is no grade given for reading these materials. I believe in students being exposed to a broad range of materials and not censoring our resources," she said. "This is the digital version of the encyclopedia. And I don't think that it is reasonable to keep the encyclopedia out of a high school."

Ward said she also supports students being exposed to a wide range of resources as long as both sides of issues are represented, which she said is not the case with the proposed curriculum.

She and school board member Cody Holt voted against the curriculum.

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