A new law recently passed in New Hampshire gives parents the right to file an objection to any course material they find offensive at their child’s public school, and as a result, the school district has to devise an alternative acceptable to the parent. No other state in the nation gives parents this much control over curriculum and the implications have some experts worried.
The new law does not require the parent to justify the reason for the objection, only to state it. Some say “one size fits all” education isn’t working and this alternative gives parents more of an active role in their child’s education.
If a parent believes in intelligent design or creationism, should they be able to prevent their child from learning about evolution? Will the school have to provide coursework that validates its beliefs even if those beliefs are not supported by facts and accepted scientific principles? Will this kind of choice perpetuate stereotypes, or even racism? What if a parent doesn’t want their child to learn about the Holocaust because they don’t believe it happened?
Senator Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford, New Hampshire); serves on New Hampshire's education committee
Richard D. Kahlenberg, senior fellow, The Century Foundation; author, “Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race and Democracy”
Neal P. McCluskey, association director, Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute; author, “Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples and Compromises American Education”