District reading material
New policy addresses complexity, appropriateness
The Grandview Heights school board is considering a revision of district policy to set new guidelines for approving reading materials for grades 7-12 and setting up a formal process for parents to lodge complaints about the curriculum or instructional materials.
The board will hear a first reading of the proposed policy revisions at its March 19 meeting and is expected to vote on the resolution in April.
"These revisions have been developed with the input of our staff," Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said. "The policy will be given a first reading to allow the public to give its input."
The review of the instructional-materials policy was made in part because of the new Common Core curriculum mandated by the state, he said.
"There is a focus on text complexity and building text complexity so that by the 12th grade, students are reading at a college level," O'Reilly said.
The policy review also arose after questions and concerns some parents raised last year about the appropriateness of a book students were assigned in a literature class at the high school, he said.
"It really led us to look at the policy to see how and why those issues should be addressed," O'Reilly said.
The revised policy would state the district has a responsibility to provide reading materials promoting comprehension of "steadily increasing complexity" that correspond to the expectations of the Common Core curriculum.
The policy also would include a new set of guidelines staff members must use when selecting reading materials for grades 7-12.
Regarding public complaints about curriculum or instructional materials, the policy would state that if a parent requests his or her child not read a given book, the teacher and/or school administrator should resolve the issue, "perhaps by arranging for use of alternative material meeting essentially the same instructional purpose."
The proposed policy states the board does not permit any individual or group to exercise censorship over instructional materials and library collections, but also recognizes that at times, a re-evaluation of certain materials may be desirable.
If anyone asks that a book or other material be withdrawn from school use, the policy would ask that they sign a form documenting their criticism. The superintendent then would arrange for the appointment of a review committee composed of faculty and community members to consider the complaint.
The superintendent would review the complaint and the committee's re-evaluation and make a decision in the matter.
Complainants would have the right to appeal the decision to the school board.