Monday, June 12, 2006

Dennis Byrne on Leslie Pinney

WOW - What a refreshing commentary by Dennis Byrne in today's Chicago Tribune:

Leslie Pinney, a member of the Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214 board, didn't deserve the tarring she got when she tried to exercise board control over what students are required to read.

...she wasn't trying to tell students what they "can" or "cannot" read, as at least one student put it. She wasn't trying to "ban" books from the classroom or the library...

Get it straight: When a teacher makes up a required reading list, he is making a judgment about what is good for his students.

This is not a neutral action. It is giving official sanction to a value judgment. That parents can have their kids "opt out" of the list is not an adequate response to complaints about its content, no more than an opt-out option for non-believing students makes mandatory school prayer acceptable.

Pinney was doing what an elected member of an Illinois school board is obliged by law to do: set education policy...

For those telling her to shut up and go away, a compulsory remedial logic course would be in order.

Recommended Actions:
  • Go to their website and read the entire commentary.
  • Forward the link to all your friends.
  • E-mail Dennis Byrne and copy the Chicago Tribune, thanking him for this wonderful defense of Leslie Pinney's approach to her responsibility and the parents who agree with her concerns. (If your e-mail includes your name, address, and phone, they may contact you about publishing it.)