Great News!

Great news! The California Department of Education (CDE) has removed language from its Recommended Reading List book annotations which was at the core of the CVUSD new opt-out policy for high school literature. The policy that Sandee Everett wrote and that was supported by Mike Dunn and John Andersen -- against the recommendation of the faculty committee assembled to address the issue -- requires that teachers mark books with an asterisk when the CDE annotation mentioned that a book contains “mature content.” That language no longer occurs in any annotation for any book on the Recommended Reading List.

As explained in my public comments to the board and in a note I published about my conversations with the CDE (link here), this is a list of books that students are encouraged to read. The CDE was appalled that our school board would use language within their annotations to dissuade parents from letting their students read these books. This was always a subversion by our school board of the Recommended Reading List's original purpose. The CDE has reacted to this use of its list by removing the language referred to in our new literature opt-out policy.

I have always signed my kids’ syllabi and reviewed their reading lists. We have had numerous meaningful conversations around the dinner table about what they were reading. I think it is feasible and quite reasonable to include the CDE annotation on any syllabus that goes home. But I think it is very important for the Board to remove its seal of disapproval from books on our approved curriculum lists.