Kirsten Workman, the Lansing mom who pulled her 12th grade daughter out of an English composition class for content she found objectionable and set a curricular challenge to the material offered in the class, won her dispute at a recent Board of Education.
In a narrow vote of 4-3, the Lansing BOE sided with Workman, rejecting previous findings from administration and a review committee that the material was acceptable in the expository writing course.
He had cited this content as objectionable:
- The Laramie Project – A play about the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepherd
- We Should All Be Feminists – A book billed as a non-academic defense of feminism.
- 13 – Billed as “a powerful documentary addressing the racial issues facing America in 2016.”
Board member Amy Cawvey introduced the motion to remove the 5-week social justice unit and content from the English-language arts curriculum. Later, she praised Workman’s effort:
“I applaud the parent for having the courage to come forward. Unfortunately, as seen in the public comment portion of our meeting, he faced many attacks for his decision. We need to set a better example for our kids and stop attacking each other just because we might disagree. “
“I would like to thank the committee and parents for their views on this matter. I don’t think feminist and social justice studies that contain elements of Critical Race Theory belong in our ELA curriculum or any Lansing curriculum for that matter. I know there is a push to add social justice, CRT, and gender theory, among others, to ELA across the country. I disagree with this, and I’ve heard from many constituents and parents who disagree.
“It’s not about a parent who stands up to it, it’s about a parent who had the courage to come forward and for which she was attacked. The final decision does not rest with a teacher, administrator or parent. The board has received the report, but the final decision rests with the elected members of the school board who, with the votes of our community, are elected to serve as their representatives. We, as a council, may or may not all agree on this, but ultimately that’s why we’re here. Other suitable curriculum choices can be made that can still provide an excellent education and meet or exceed Kansas State standards.
Ms. Workman said her efforts and personal attacks along the way were well worth it:
“I am delighted with the board’s decision. The administration of this district has worked hard to exercise great control over the dialogue. I am grateful that, despite these efforts, the council has been able to shut out all the political noise and see the heart of the issues at hand: ensuring our children are taught impartially using high quality curricular materials.