Questions Posed to ASD Board

At tonight’s Alpine School District board meeting, a volunteer read the following statement to the school board.

I have volunteered to read this statement from the Utah’s Republic dot org organization.

To the Alpine School District School Board:

Recently, there has been a disappointing set of events that has caused the public to question the district. Last month, hundreds of parents brought you their concerns about the motto, mission statement, and direction of this district in educating our children. Instead of researching the problems to make corrections, you accused parents of “misrepresenting” yours and the district’s positions.

What specific misrepresentation occurred? It is a fact that someone in the district wanted to provide a link to support the district position that we are a democracy. Someone at the district researched and found William Meyers’ site with a page calling our Founding Fathers “predatory elitists.” That person felt it represented the district position correctly, got it approved, and posted the link on the district’s website. Someone approved your mission statement explanation that used the term “democracy” 13 times and the words “academics” or “republic” not even once. Parents then found the source of the “enculturating” phrase coming from John Goodlad, a humanist educator with very socialistic views on politics and family rights. When all these stars aligned, parents decided to present the facts to the public.

In essence, we were doing your job. You swore an oath to protect the constitution from “domestic enemies.” In your stewardship that is to protect our school system from false educational ideas that would weaken the constitution and our families.

We are here tonight to present you with 3 questions and ask that you, our elected officials, provide answers at the next board meeting on April 20th. We are giving these questions to the press as well so you know that we do take your positions seriously.

Our questions are:
1-Who exactly was misrepresented and what misrepresentations and falsehoods are you referring to in your statements to the public and to school district faculty?

2- You admitted at the last board meeting that “Enculturating the Young into a Social and a Political Democracy” is not user friendly and you will revisit the use of this term. In the meantime, will you direct the immediate removal of all instances of the “Enculturating” sign and the “Democracy” motto in all district buildings and schools until you have developed a new motto which is absent of politics? If not, why?

3 -What policies have you now implemented as a result of this recent controversy to ensure false educational ideas do not further creep into our children’s classrooms (ex. sponsoring constitution classes for teachers during teacher development time; reconsidering the sources of your material such as the PSP/NNER/CITES connections to Goodlad’s teachings, etc…)?

We ask that you, the board, our elected officials, specifically answer these questions so that you are responsible for the answers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. The public looks forward to hearing your answers to these 3 questions at your next board meeting on April 20th.

9 Responses to “Questions Posed to ASD Board”

  • candykinser:

    Excellent Questions! I'd still like to know how did that link get posted and who posted it! Who is responsible for the site!

  • Cant-say:

    The Alpine School District web page is administrated by the Curriculum Department. It is my understanding that they instruct the district web master who works in the computer department as to what content to put on the page.

  • candykinser:

    Here is the letter I will be sending to the school board members:

    Dear Donna,

    We were surprised at JoDee's statement. We are not just “any group.” We
    are parents with an urgent and valid concern. The district must be held
    accountable when truth and our children's education are violated.

    A more appropriate response would have been:

    “We join in your concerns. We are in the process of an investigation. We
    are doing everything in our power to get to the bottom of this and
    will respond as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience. We
    understand the importance of ensuring accurate resource material and the
    close monitoring of such. We will be reporting on what gaps led to the
    recent violations so that such gaps will not be repeated in the future. We
    are not only school board members; we are also parents who applaud your
    diligent watch care over the education of our children. We respect the
    serious accountability which we owe to this community.”

    Instead, according to the Daily Herald, JoDee defensively replied: “We are
    not directed by any group that tells us to immediately do things.” Did she
    really think that would be a satisfactory answer to our valid concerns?

    We would appreciate any assurance that these issues are being thoroughly
    addressed with a reasonable and timely commitment. Thank-you for all your
    efforts.

    Most sincerely,

    Dr. Robert and Candace Kinser

    949 East 1480 North Murdock Drive

    American Fork, Utah 84003

  • Scott McKray:

    I am just now reading about the Alpine School District situation. I say situation, as I am not exactly sure about what has been going on, but based on what I read in the questions that were posed to the Board of Directors of the Alpine School District from the Utah's Republic dot org organization, I am assuming that children are not being taught that our country was founded on a very strong fundamental belief in God and that our country is a republic, not a democracy. If I am incorrect in my assumptions, please let me know.

  • Exactly right Scott. Do a search in the top right box for the word “vampire” and you'll find the original set of events that triggered this fiasco for ASD. This has been going on for a long time but now they've been caught red-handed with a link to a radical and then blaming the public for “misrepresenting” their views.

  • brian_c:

    I am a Utah County citizen with strong conservative values, but after reading reports from this site, others, and various news reports, I'm going to have to side with the district on this one. I believe some of your questions are valid, and should probably be answered by the district.

    However, petitions never sway my opinion, unless they represent a significant proportion of the population. As of right now, about 750 people have signed this blog's petition, which is virtually nothing compared to the population in ASD. It is easy to write up a petition for any idea, and get people to sign it, but the petition doesn't in itself make the idea any better. A better option would be to conduct an unbiased survey to find out whether those affected agree with you or not. For example: “Do you believe that ASD should remove the district motto from all buildings…?” Also, it is usually the extremes of the political spectrum that are most vocal in petitions and reform, though a majority or residents exist closer to the middle.

  • Brian, it seems you have only read a few select things and missed the point. The petition on this site started before the ASD fiasco and has nothing to do with getting their motto changed. ASD's link to a radical website just happened to parallel the overall goal of this site to improve constitutional education in Utah. I would ask that you read this page and then post back here if it alters your view any.
    https://www.utahsrepublic.org/democracy-media-fi

    You also have no evidence to support your notion about majorities being needed on a petition. Majorities usually don't even know about a petition no matter how much attention it gets. A case in point is for several years I fought fuzzy math in Alpine school district. In all that time we only got about 1,000 people on a petition which represented about 5% of the children in the district schools when we asked for a child count. Yet when Cedar Hills was doing a survey of residents views on a variety of subjects, they decided to stick in that survey a question of what they thought of ASD's Investigations math program. 50% of residents surveyed in a statistically significant sample said they did not support the district using the program and 17% said they did. Yet I only ever got 5% of the district on my petition to remove the program even though this 3 to 1 ratio probably existed across the entire district (page 11 of this link shows the study: http://cedarhills.org/pdfs/decisions_2006.pdf).

  • brian_c:

    Thanks Oak for your comments. I've read much more on your website and your purpose is a little more clear to me. That said, it seems you missed the point regarding petitions.

    If you get 1000 people out of a population of 100,000 to sign a petition, it may very well mean that 95% of the population agrees with the purpose of the petition. It may also be that only 5% agree with the petition, or it could be any proportion in between.

    A petition is the most biased form of a study, because there is only one answer recorded (if the person signs) People who don't sign are not recorded, so a public sentiment/decision is never determined.

    Regarding your previous petition with one thousand signatures… Had you done an unbiased survey, you would only need to contact half as many people and you would still have high confidence regarding the true feelings of whole district. Statistics, when used properly, is a very powerful tool.

    Like I mentioned before, I don't completely disagree with what you are advocating. I just believe there are more peaceful and effective channels for doing so.

  • Brian, I appreciate the tone of your response. Let me clarify something. This petition isn't meant to be anything scientific at all. It's just a gathering point for like-minded people to say, “yes I agree with this petition to the state office, and I would also like to ask them to modify the 5 state standards and implement a quality text and Constitution Day programs.” It's not at all meant to be scientific, and it was never any type of confrontational petition. Under the 1st Amendment it's just a way to petition officials and ask for them to consider your position in an official capacity which we have always done in a very peaceful way. It's also a very handy way to keep in touch with these people and continue to work together for common goals.

    As for ASD, initially there was a shock-effect to the original email (which you can read if you just search for the word “vampire” in the search box). Then the district came back and said parents were misrepresenting them. That raised the ire of parents because now the facts of a person's personal experience was essentially being called a lie. Never was it said that the district believed Jesus was a vampire, but the district endorsed this radical by linking to his website. It has been a bit confrontational but not in an aggressive way, just strong disagreements, and as things came to light about the Goodlad connection, it was more disturbing as well.

    Regardless, we do want to communicate effectively with the district, board, and public, so everyone has exposure to all the facts and can make the best decisions based on them. If you feel like you agree with the goals of this site, I invite you to sign the petition and get involved. We welcome anyone who shares our goals and will put their name down to support better constitutional education and to keep our system free of false educational ideas.