Tell me more, CVUSD Board President John Andersen, about your love of transparency... I know how much you love to talk about it from the dais.
Would you like to be transparent regarding the public information request you filed to the California Department of Education (CDE) regarding not only any exchanges that detailed the reason for the removal of the annotations (for the opt-out policy you fast-tracked into approval while holding a book expenditure approval hostage until you got the vote you wanted), but also the names and exchanges of community members who corresponded with the CDE regarding this topic?
Why do you want names, John? We've already seen another board member aligned with your board majority retaliate against a constituent with who he disagreed with. What would be your reasoning for needing names? Would you or your fellow board majority members seek retaliation against teachers or community members who corresponded with the CDE?
Would you like to be transparent about the fact that you did not do this with board approval (other board members were not aware of this action), and you spent more than $1,000 of district money to do so? We, the public, only learned of this after Dr. Connolly brought up that it had been brought to her attention, and she had no prior knowledge.
And...a law firm in Oakland? Per the firm's website:
"Our attorneys can help school districts develop charter policies, assist with petition review, oversight issues, renewal and revocation issues, develop MOUs and evaluate and solve charter facility concerns. Our charter school attorneys also are frequently requested to speak to educational associations on problem solving charter issues."
Above is John Andersen's request.
Upon learning about this at the meeting, parents, with reason, were outraged to hear about the money Mr. Andersen used, and to learn that they had potentially been targeted.
Want to read the documents/exchanges the CDE sent back? Here's the PDF. It's public information.
Want a recap of some of the important points from the above document? Indivisible Conejo did some of that heavy lifting, compiling a few excerpts, below:
"It's clear from the back-and-forth among CDE professionals that they consider Sandee Everett's opt-out policy profoundly unwise and unhealthy, educationally speaking. And the final proposal to delete the "caveats" (as they call the annotations) -- which we've uploaded here -- shows that our board's misuse of them was the direct cause of the CDE's decision to get out of the business of offering judgments on the "maturity" of literature.
(That memo, by the way, undercuts recent statements from the CDE to both the Thousand Oaks Acorn and the Ventura County Star that the annotations were deleted as a result of a routine "periodic review," and not because of our board majority's actions.)
We encourage you to read the attached memo in its entirety. In addition, here are some quotes pulled from the correspondence among CDE officials concerning the "caveats" and their use in the CVUSD policy.
1. "The caveat is meant as a tool to assist in selecting literature, not to censure it."
2. "What are your thoughts on just removing the caveat entirely from individual annotations? I don’t particularly want to give people an avenue for excluding books, especially for vulnerable students."
3. "All of this has me thinking more deeply about the caveat and the appropriateness of it...I am also concerned that there is a morality aspect to this -- what is considered "mature"? For example, a kiss shared between a heterosexual teen couple might not be considered mature, but a kiss shared between a LGBTQ teen couple might have been. And then a lot of classics have mature themes, but have they received the caveat? 'Of Mice and Men' certainly has mature themes, but that does not have the caveat. So, essentially, I am concerned about us making a judgment on the "maturity" of literature. What could be considered to have mature themes could vary wildly, based on the audience...Adults shouldn't let a subjective caveat on the List make a decision for them as to whether a book is appropriate for a child."
4. "I do not believe that one school district has the right to demand that we censor or warn students and/or parents about the suitability of a book... In a way this smacks of censorship, and I for one would rather resign from the committee than be a part of this."
5. "[I] sure hope that district doesn’t bow to a handful of parents."
6. "We are not comfortable at this point with stakeholders using CDE statements to develop their policies that could be perceived as censorship."
7. "We started off the call with a summary of the issue at Conejo Valley USD...The caveats, while they may have been appropriate when they were conceived, may no longer be appropriate in today’s educational context."
8. "Just wanted to let you know that we were able to remove all of the caveats we found. We’re continuing to go through the database to see if there is any other, non-standard language that serves as a warning, but the two main statements that Conejo was using are now gone. 😀""
Come November 6, 2018, I'M SAYING #ADIOSANDERSEN at the polls and voting in candidates who respect good governance, our students and our teachers.