Controversial issues may be studies in School District 39. Sooner
or later pupils must meet and face issues involving controversy. The
schools can help prepare pupils to face such issues with desirable
attitudes, skills and procedures by selecting some of these issues for
study to give pupils practice in dealing with them.
Controversial issues are here defined as issues on which conflicting
views are held by political groups or factions, by management and
labor, by urban and rural and by other large segments of our society.
Controversial issues are important proposals or policies concerning
which our citizens hold different points of view. Controversial issues
arise from the conflicts in the cherished interests, beliefs or
affiliations of large groups of our citizens.
- Controversial Issues in the Curriculum
The curriculum may include the study of important unsolved problems
which involve controversial issues. These are appropriately studied
insofar as the maturity of the pupils, the judgment of the teacher and
the means available permit. Only through the study of such issues
(political, economic or social) do pupils develop certain abilities
needed for effective citizenship in our democracy.
Free discussion of controversial issues is the heart of the
democratic process. Freedom of speech and free access to information
are among our most cherished traditions. As pupils become mature
enough to study the significant controversial issues facing our
citizens, it is the responsibility of the schools to encourage
dispassionate, unprejudiced and objective studies of controversial
issues in an atmosphere free from bias and prejudice. It is the right
of pupils to have free access to all relevant and appropriate material
and to form and express their own opinion on controversial issues
without jeopardizing their positions with teachers or schools.
The fundamental objectives of studying controversial issues are:
- To improve ability to discriminate between fact and opinion;
- to develop skill in critical thinking;
- to learn how to identify propaganda techniques;
- to develop a willingness to hear and understand other people’s views, to reflect upon them and to judge them; and,
- to develop an awareness of the rights of others to their own opinions.
Adopted: November 10, 1997