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Floyd County parents still concerned about canceled curriculum

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 9:21 PM EDT
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FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Floyd County Board of Education officials held its regularly-scheduled meeting Monday afternoon, with questions and concerns flowing over from last week.

The meeting followed a special-called meeting on September 23 about the Wit & Wisdom reading curriculum in place in the district.

In a statement last Monday, Superintendent Anna Shepherd discussed parent concerns over the curriculum.

“Our goal was to find and provide a rigorous reading curriculum that will help our students be better readers with material that is at appropriate reading difficulty levels,” said Superintendent Shepherd. “We still believe in the structure of this curriculum and much of the text will not be seen as inappropriate.”

“We will be moving ahead with the Wit & Wisdom curriculum and we will substitute any inappropriate texts,” Superintendent Shepherd said.

Complaints that the curriculum was not age appropriate for students began on September 16, mainly coming from Allen Elementary and Prestonsburg Elementary.

“If it was something that was talking about kissing or dating, but they felt like that might be more appropriate for a high school student instead of having their middle school child reading it,” said Shepherd.

The board ultimately decided Thursday night to end its use of the curriculum and go back to the one that was in place for the 2020-2021 school year.

Parents believe there should be more guardian involvement when looking at the things being taught in the schools. So, some parents in attendance at Monday’s meeting submitted a list of questions they hope to see answered by the district in the days to come, including: Can the curriculum be returned for a full or partial refund? Are the materials going to be completely removed from schools? How can parents get more involved in the future curriculums?

“For nine years, I have blindly trusted you all to help me raise my child. And a lot of things have come to light and I feel like there needs to be more parent involvement,” said Amber Burchett.

Shepherd said that she is excited to see parents so passionate, adding that the pandemic shifted the way teachers and parents work together.

“We need to know what we are asking them to read and to study. It would be like giving a child a gun and not knowing if it was loaded,” said one father during public comment.

Shepherd said there is no concern about the transition in curriculum since the teachers taught it last year and students only began classes a few weeks ago. The materials used in the Wit & Wisdom curriculum are being collected from the schools and the district is asking the company for a refund, but stipulations about the purchase included a 45-day grace period and Shepherd is unsure how that will go.

District officials also say they hope to work with parents and site-based councils to find something more age appropriate in the future.

“Last year, during the pandemic, how this county came together. Parents and teachers pretty much taught together,” said Shepherd. “Moving forward, we certainly want them involved and we still would follow the process that we use to adapt curriculum.”

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