The Deerfield, New Hampshire School district is doing a delicate little dance with NH State Representative Kevin Verville. A constituent discovered some unsettling definitions in an 8th-grade study guide. They reached out to their Representative. He reached out Principal Kristen Withee. Because, one of these study guide items defined the Founding Fathers as “Fat, old, rich, rich men, who started the United States.”
Rep. Verville writes,
The larger issue is relative to the description attributed to our nation’s Founding Fathers. It boggles the mind to think that this is what our children are being indoctrinated with in our local public school. How is it that a “highly trained professional” working in the Deerfield Community School could think that this either acceptable or appropriate for any student, at any level, let alone 8th graders? Our greater fear is that this is just the tip of the iceberg, as it were.
Here is the relevant portion of Principal Withee’s response,
This topic was covered back in September. The students were studying to do a retake. The study guide that was provided was in a file from a few years ago and was written by support staff. John provides students with a list of vocabulary terms and the student is to define each word to use as a study guide. Support staff often create study guides with the definition and lines so students can rewrite the definition and use this as a study guide. The definition referenced in the study guide for founding fathers was taken out of context.
Oh, that old thing? Then blame the support staff. And top it off with the ole “was taken out of context.”
Nothing to see here, just move along…
I used to work for someone who regularly blamed problems reported by customers on employees who no longer worked for the company. I can only imagine how many things that went sideways became a product of my malfeasance after my departure. She, of course, never takes credit for hiring, employing, or training those folks, just relieving them of their employment or whatever circumstance lead to the separation that sheds a positive light on her leadership in the context of the call.
Kirsten Withee is doing the same. Yes, of course, well that’s water under the bridge. The nameless person responsible -mere staff -was clearly unsupervised because the lazy taxpayers just don’t pay anyone enough around here or we’d have more qualified people to catch these oversights. Which, by the way, you’ve taken entirely the wrong way, probably because you are not as smart as we are or perhaps it’s that you are a Republican.
I may be embellishing a bit for effect. But trust me, no one thinks less of parents, their idiot children, (and often teachers) than school administrators.
Thanks for the non-response, response
Thankfully, Kevin Verville isn’t about to lay down and take it.
I am not sure I understand the response. Please provide me the “context” that would make this appropriate for students. Further, how is it that this type of information finds its way onto a study guide, and is not corrected either by support staff, or by the teacher? Am I to understand that if a student provided that language as a correct response for the definition of “Founding Fathers” that the answer would be scored as either correct, or acceptable?
Does the administration, and teacher in question, agree that this is entirely inappropriate? What is the corrective action?
Nice work Rep. Verville, we’ll be watching.