Disputed math text approved
24 May 2022 — Journal Gazette
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Ashley Sloboda

A high school math textbook that elected officials shelved two weeks ago will indeed be taught in Northwest Allen County Schools classrooms in the fall.

The 4-0 board decision Monday followed more than 30 minutes of public comment from 15 speakers, including several who urged board members to trust the district's education professionals and approve the seventh edition of "Precalculus" by Robert F. Blitzer.

Kent Somers, board vice president, abstained.

The title was pulled from the May 9 textbook adoption list. Somers at that time criticized the author for including story problems about "inappropriate" topics including interracial marriage.

Teachers and parents from Carroll High School participated in the book selection process. The publishers have a "track record of publishing high quality instructional materials," Jeremy Yates, assistant principal, said in an AprilĀ 15 letter to the board.

Steve Driver, the Northwest Allen County Educators Association president, said students deserve the best available textbooks and learning resources.

"Our students don't want to be part of a political or cultural battle over this textbook or any other textbook in other subjects or grades in the future that are based on wild conspiracy theories or such," Driver said.

Martha Lemert, a parent, criticized the board for reviewing books already vetted by teachers and parents.

"Why does the board think it's either wise or advisable to start micromanaging this process and inserting themselves as a form of big government into these decisions?" Lemert asked. "Does anyone really think it's a wise use of the board's time?"

Angela Hess asked board members whether they trust the district's teachers and whether they still agree with the thorough selection process.

"As a parent," she said, "I felt after the last meeting that you were losing faith in your own professional staff and your own system."

This wasn't the first time people have encouraged the board to trust NACS staff. In January, central office administrators urged the board to have faith in the professionals when members debated whether the staff could attend a February conference about students' emotional well-being. The board ultimately denied the professional learning activity in a 3-2 vote.

Lisa Bobay-Somers, Somers' wife, defended the board's closer look at the textbooks.

"It is the job of the school board to review things and to review the curriculum, to : you know : bring up an issue if you have a concern," Bobay-Somers said. "Look what happens when you do. For crying out loud, you're not allowed to disagree with anybody."


This story is provided free courtesy of The Fort Wayne Newspapers.
"Disputed math text approved" Journal Gazette 24 May 2022: A1