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New U-46 curriculum approved via split vote

By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 approved a digital literacy curriculum proposal by a 5-2 vote, Cody Holt and Jeanette Ward voting no because of “biased” resources, on Monday, Jan. 23.
  The initial cost for the resource aligned with the proposal is $312,087, and there’s a $241,337 annual cost.
  The proposal was presented at the Dec. 12, 2016 meeting and was expected to be voted on at the Jan. 9 meeting but was moved. There were only four board members in attendance at the Jan. 9 meeting and the proposal would have likely been voted down by a 2-2 vote.
  U-46 CEO Tony Sanders said “we extended this to this evening” because board members did not have access for the entire time between the meetings.
  Ward did access the resources and made posts on social media on Dec. 29, 2016 showing evidence of bias within the Britannica and Cengage resources.
  “As I have stated on other occasions, I will be voting no on any curriculum proposal that relies on any text or resource that glorifies communism and denigrates capitalism, deliberately misrepresents Israel’s history and right to live in its own land, presents the pseudoscience of climate change as established scientific fact or celebrates Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger as a champion for women when in fact she was a racist and believed in eugenics, more specifically, in killing as many unborn African-American babies as possible,” Ward said before her no vote.
  Some of the evidence of bias Ward posted included a dividing of citizens up as either property owners or owners and claiming “workers have little or no income-earning assets other than their capacity to labor” in capitalist systems while workers can hold ownership in communist systems through “collective ownership.”
  Britannica also portrays Sanger in glowing terms and saying she “believed in every woman’s right to avoid unwanted pregnancies” while ignoring her controversial statements on population control as well as the fact many Americans view abortion as murder.
  As previously reported, Sanger attended Ku Klux Klan rallies, sympathized with Adolf Hitler, wrote in a 1939 letter to Clarence Gable that “we do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population” and wrote in “Pivot of Civilization” that black people are “human beings who never should have been born.”
  Some of Ward’s detractors have taken to her social media page to defend Sanger and claim Ward took her out of context, but government data appears to show Planned Parenthood’s mission, still today, is to target minorities. U.S. Center for Disease Control statistics show 15.5 million black Americans have been aborted since 1973 which is nearly six times higher than the 2.7 million blacks who die of heart disease, and 2010 census data show that 79 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities are in minority neighborhoods.
  Traci Ellis voted in favor of the proposal but instead of refuting Ward’s claims and showing evidence that the resources weren’t biased she made an accusatory argument.
  “I believe in students being exposed to a broad range of materials and not censoring our resources,” Ellis said who added: “This is the digital version of the encyclopedia, and I don’t think that it’s reasonable to keep the encyclopedia out of a high school”
  Ward replied: “I also want our students to be exposed to a wide range of resources, and if both sides of these issues were presented I would be voting yes, but sadly that is not the case.”
  Holt told The Examiner after the meeting that he “voted against this proposal because it is a biased resource that is fiscally irresponsible to the taxpayers. First, the notion of paying for resources that contain content that can easily be Googled is fiscally irresponsible. Second, though we have all grown up with the ‘Encyclopedia Britannica,’ it has vastly changed in the recent years. Because of the popularity of the internet the writers of ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ have started to editorialize on its content. So we have started to see a blatant bias with no presentation of the counterpoint. Adding these resources into our libraries is a disservice to the students.”
  Also approved that evening were over $200,000 in expenditure items, all with votes of 6-0 with Phil Costello voting present as he was not in attendance at the Jan. 9 meeting when they were presented. Ellis and Veronica Noland also did not attend that meeting but did vote for the proposals.
  Those proposals include a $51,570 expenditure (which the nation’s taxpayers will fund through a Perkins grant) to buy IPADs from Apple Inc., a $59,225 expenditure (out of the education fund) for an AVID Certified Nursing Assistant program and a $107,022 expenditure (out of the education fund) with Bibliotheca, LLC to finish library construction at Elgin and Streamwood high schools.
  Itemized bill of $7.8 million were also approved by a 7-0 vote.



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