Letter to the Editor: Walter Weidenbacher

Borough resident clarifies earlier position about what is being taught, and how, and under whose guidance, in Haddonfield schools.

Dear Fellow Haddonfielders,

Picking up where we left off, “WHAT, PRECISELY, IS BEING TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS?”

News reports are showing our well-meaning Haddonfield board of educaton to be perhaps overwhelmed by social adjustment issues, which apparently hampers how members deal with their academic responsibilities, which in turn compromises their promised transparency with the public.

The Retrospect (July 23) reported BOE members argued amongst themselves over survey findings presented at their July 15 annual retreat. Conversation centered around “social/emotional perspective” “cultural responsiveness” “equity” “cultural competency” “intolerance and microaggressions,” “cultural awareness,” “reimagining education” and other such ideological-oriented socio-chic lingo.

Verbatim excerpts from the article are posted at: wawego.me/boe/retroshort.pdf.  Entire article at: wawego.me/boe/retrofull.pdf.  The 4-hour BOE meeting can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=twl-eRUjvUQ.

Parents and taxpayers worry that such in-vogue ideological crusade-driven vocabulary is several steps removed from providing fundamental education—the three Rs—the founding purpose of public education. They suspect the imposition of contemporary ideologies distract the board’s attention from their assigned duty; that current ideological conceits are at odds with values held dear by parents and the larger community.

Concern is that student rites of passage, such as learning how to champion and how to defend conflicting points of view, are suppressed by teachers and by students alike; that our schools are failing to develop a community of free thinkers. We hear such concerns from perplexed students and from concerned parents.

Recent viral videos show angry parents nationwide accosting BOEs with the same concerns. Rather than see such incivility inflicted upon our dear town, I’m pleading that we as a community somehow regroup for the explicit purpose of delving deeply into what the heck is (and isn’t) being taught in our schools.  However this might be accomplished, we need to hear from everybody involved—students, parents, teachers, administrators, and especially from our overwhelmed BOE.  Discovery is always the first step in fixing any problem.

If even questionable conduct is discovered, complaints will certainly come from many quarters. If no inequities are found, we will be able rest assured that all is well at school.

Walter Weidenbacher

Haddonfield, N.J.