School Board approves controversial civil rights course
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has approved a controversial course for implementation next year.
The course, titled the U.S. Civil Rights Experience, is part of a larger revision of the K-12 social studies curriculum, and will be offered as an elective class for 11th and 12th grade students. It has seen controversy because of the presence of LGBTQ perspectives within the course.
At a regular school board meeting on April 21st, the board heard community comments both in favor and opposed to the course, before voting 6-2 in favor of adoption.
A message from community member Lance Roberts expressed his negative view of the class. “This class marginalizes those with conservative family values as bigoted, a viewpoint that doesn't align with reality. It's amazing how far the school district has embraced left wing philosophies and rejected moral values of love, hard work, and open-mindedness,” he wrote.
The Curriculum Advisory Committee, after months of revising the curriculum in response to public concern and comment, presented it to the board on April 7th, recommending adoption at that time.
Committee member Melanie Hadaway spoke at the meeting about the attention the new course and the curriculum has received. “I feel like it’s really important to be clear on what is actually contained in the curriculum and is being acted upon this evening. I find it unfortunate that what I feel is a misrepresentation of what is actually in the curriculum has gotten more focus than the curriculum itself. The K - 12 social studies curriculum document is a strong, flexible and quality piece of work,” she said.
The revised curriculum will go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year.