When Should Parents Opt Out of Their Child's Curriculum?
May 15, 2012
Once upon a time, schoolchildren went to class no matter what was being taught. Nowadays, however, parents in many states have the right to take their children out of classes that address what they might feel are 'objectionable' topics. So when is it okay to opt out of a child's curriculum?
'Education...for the Public Good'
Don't like talk about sex education in your child's health classes? Do your religious beliefs conflict with the teaching of evolution in your child's school?
In some states, such as Florida and New Hampshire, you have the right to take your child out of any class that you deem objectionable. However, just what some people find objectionable can be a sticky subject; in New Hampshire, for instance, parents can object to the teaching of basic history facts!
Of course it is understandable to opt out of a child's curriculum if the subject matter is simply too disagreeable, but parents should take a good, hard look at what they truly believe is objectionable and how much, if at all, a child will be compromised should he or she be exposed to the material in question.
Why? Well, opting out can interfere with your child's right to learn about different cultures and beliefs. In some ways, you might be stifling your child by opting out of their curriculum. Education should always be about expanding one's awareness and knowledge of a multitude of subjects, even those that are at odds with an individual's personal views.
Should parents interrupt this process on any grounds? As one New York Times article on the subject of opting out and school curriculums put it: 'Education isn't the private right of parents. It's for students, and for the public good.'
Letting Kids Learn
Just because your child learns about evolution does not necessarily mean they will reject their religious beliefs. And yes, sex education might get a bit graphic, but at some point your child will need to learn about this topic. Might some parents prefer that they learn in a setting outside of a structured classroom?
Basically, opting out of your child's curriculum is ultimately a judgment call. Keep in mind that your child will likely need to be placed in an alternative curriculum should you remove him or her from a specific class. How will your child feel to be singled out this way?
Keep in mind this, too: schools generally select a curriculum that is believed to be best for all students. Some might say that it's best to stand back and allow the professionals to do their jobs. They are not setting out to be offensive or confrontational. They are simply doing their best to teach our children to be well-rounded individuals.
Parents might find it in the best interests of their children to do the same.
Other Blog Posts You May Be Interested In
A question for parents: would you allow your children to play outside without keeping an eye on them? Many would likely say no. Well, the same mentality should be used when your kids use the Internet; in other words, kids should not be allowed to roam the vast world of the Internet unsupervised and without fully understanding its...
If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school, then you've likely heard plenty of stories about bullying. Even if your child is not the target of bullying, he or she could still be affected by it. As a parent, you'll certainly want to make your kids aware of this persistent and growing problem in schools across the...
Let's face it: moving from kindergarten to first grade can be an overwhelming experience; so can transitioning from elementary school to middle school, or middle school to high school. In many ways, kids can be totally unprepared for what to expect as they move from one grade level to the next. So how can parents help with this...
Is it too early to begin thinking about your child's future career? Whether you have a toddler, tween or teen, it's never too early to begin cultivating interests that might one day turn into a career. So what can you do to steer your child in what is hopefully the right direction?
Are you worried that your child will not be intellectually stimulated during the summer months? While the season should be a time for fun and relaxation, it certainly doesn't hurt to slip some learning in during summer break. So sure, hit the beaches and amusement parks...but consider the following suggestions for activities that are...