Teach the Controversy, but Don’t Mention the Controversy

10 Jan

Here is a link to Hennepin-Anoka School District’s proposed Controversial Topics policy. In substance it is this:

Anoka-Hennepin curriculum will meet the Minnesota state standards, and teachers shall teach the Board-adopted District curriculum.

The Anoka-Hennepin School Board recognizes the importance of providing information about controversial topics in a democracy.

The study of controversial topics contribute toward helping students develop techniques for examining controversy, be appropriate to maturity and developmental level of students, be of significance related to course content, and presented in an atmosphere free of bias and prejudice.

Teachers and educational support staff shall not advocate personal beliefs or opinions regarding controversial topics in the course of their professional duties.

Evidently, high school english teachers can no longer claim that Led Zeppelin II is the greatest rock album of all time.

Thankfully, few will be able to understand the controversy about which opinions may not be spoken with the Board’s proposed definition of sexual orientation:

“Sexual orientation” means having or being perceived as having an emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one’s biological maleness or femaleness.

Good luck with that sentence.

UPDATE: They have decided to scrap the plan, though it sounds like they are only working on the controversial topics portion.


One Response to “Teach the Controversy, but Don’t Mention the Controversy”


  1. New Anoka-Hennepin Controversial Topics Proposal « Void for Vagueness - January 24, 2012

    […] school district is in something of a catch-22.  If it over-defines the issue it ends up making a policy that is specifically offensive to some particular group; if it […]

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