CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - An agenda item is left up in the air after Charleston County School Board leaders voted to defer it.
Just last month, the board’s effort to replace the EL curriculum failed, yet the curriculum found its way onto Monday night’s agenda again.
There were so many public comments at Monday’s meeting that the board had to vote to extend the public comment session.
Nearly everyone who spoke about the EL Curriculum was in support of it-- but what exactly is EL Curriculum?
Charleston County School District principal Katchia Gethers said EL is the school district’s reading curriculum. She said the curriculum includes both whole group discussions led by teachers, and small group instruction.
“The controversy is from those who think some of the topics are sensitive in nature,” Gethers said. “I think people are afraid of the content that is discussed because for once it’s really showing all of our students in that curriculum.”
Gethers said her students are seeing themselves in literature, which hasn’t always been the case.
“The research behind the curriculum is that we are a global world, and people need to understand the perspectives of different dynamics in order to grow up, to work together, to be able to look at information and think critically and make their own decisions,” Gethers said.
One speaker in support of EL Curriculum, Kayela Clark, said her children have been academically stretched and challenged under EL Curriculum.
“They’ve read about how others live around the world and have lived throughout history. Never have they felt ashamed of who they are, but rather their understanding of humanity has grown,” Clark said.
After over an hour of public comment and discussion, board member Leah Whatley moved to postpone the motion to allow for more discussion. She said many voices had not been heard, and that the board was only hearing one side of the issue.
“This discussion is important, because other voices were not heard during the presentations,” Whatley said.
After some back-and-forth, the board voted to table the EL discussion until after their upcoming “listening circles,” which will be discussions amongst groups of around 20 school district teachers about the EL Curriculum.
We have reached out to the parent group “Moms for liberty” a group that has been outspoken about E-L curriculum in the past, they haven’t responded to a request for comment at this time.
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