Mt. Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education hears ELA concerns

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Mt. Pleasant High School’s welcome sign at the front of the school. The school board meets in the high school’s cafeteria. Photo credit: Alex Faber

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools Board of Education discussed on March 7 public concerns regarding the English Language Arts curriculum for middle school and high school students. 

Sheila Murphy, the school board’s treasurer, voiced parents’ concerns that the primary objectives in English classes were not  grammar, technical proficiency and critical thinking.

 “These are skills that should be taught first, before we move into social justice,” Murphy said at the meeting Monday.

The ELA issue

This is not the first time the English Language Arts curriculum has been discussed at a MPPS Board of Education meeting. For the past few months, members of the board and the general public have voiced concerns about education allegedly motivated by activism. 

“It’s more of a social activism being brought into our English classes, when our kids haven’t even gotten the basics,” said Murphy. 

Others, like Ty Phillips, a student at the high school, said the curriculum balances the two. 

“We still learn about grammar and all that,” said Phillips, “but social issues also come up. English isn’t just about writing.” 

Maureen Eke, a member of the Mt. Pleasant City Commission, who attended the meeting,said she wants to continue the curriculum. 

“We must create space for histories and stories of all groups,” said Eke. “We must represent those histories honestly and accurately, even if it makes us uncomfortable.” The issue was not solved at Monday’s meeting. 

Arguments surrounding public school curriculum at Mt. Pleasant mirror debates raging across the nation. In some states, curriculum is banned outright because of public outrage. 

In Florida, “racial” teachings and discussion of sexual orientation/gender identity is banned in public schools (the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity is only applied from Kindergarten to third grade). 

Other agenda items

The other primary item discussed at the meeting was employment in the Mt. Pleasant school district. With concerns about finding employees, Mt. Pleasant began using new programs to simplify and improve the hiring process. 

Indeed, ETS and TextRecruit are three programs  utilized by the district, each offering its own benefits. Many of the interviews, and even some of the orientations, have been facilitated via Zoom. 

A calendar with future meetings can be accessed via the Mt. Pleasant Public School website. Past meetings are recorded and uploaded to the school’s YouTube channel.

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