Some readers have requested a bit of fact-checking on the recent field trip some San Francisco first-graders took to see their teacher married. So here you go.
About the School:
Creative Arts Charter School is a K-8 school that focuses on an arts-integrated, project-based curriculum. Children in grades K-5 spend two years with the same teacher. Parent and family involvement in the school is “critical to school success.”
One of the guiding principles of the school is, “Respect for all community members defines our actions and our attitudes; it must never be compromised.”
The school is non-sectarian in its programs, admissions policies, employment practices, and all other operations, does not charge tuition, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Admission is for children whose ages meet the current California Education Code requirements and who reside in California.
About Family Involvement at the School:
When children enroll at the school, families commit to volunteer 40 hours per year at the school. In addition to volunteer expectations, “every family attends Community Meetings, celebrations and social events. … Many important tasks are completed due to each family’s commitment to volunteerism….The rich programs provided by CACS would not exist were it not for a very high level of family involvement and support.”
Volunteer opportunities are created to reflect the diverse interests and availability of family members.
About the First Grade Curriculum at CACS:
Part of the Social Studies focus for first-graders includes: “In 1st grade, the students build on concepts of community explored in kindergarten, such as interdependence, group responsibilities and individual responsibilities. Concepts of cultural difference and acceptance of those differences are highlighted for each child in the classroom and families are invited to come in and share their personal traditions.”
About the Wedding Field Trip:
With all of the above in mind, take a moment to re-consider the students’ field trip.
First, the children and parents were well-acquainted with their teacher because she’d been with them throughout all of Kindergarten and because of the high level of parental involvement required at the school.
Second, the field trip was organized by a volunteer parent who wanted to surprise the teacher. Even though it was organized by a parent, permission slips were required. No children were forced to attend the wedding, in fact, at least two children remained at the school.
Third, attending such a field trip and any resulting discussions could easily be seen as a way to help the students understand cultural differences, personal traditions, interdependence and community building.
Finally, these parents chose this school for this children, and all of the parents who allowed their children to attend the wedding chose to educate their children in this way. If we don’t want schools to teach our children things we don’t believe, we shouldn’t be removing the option for other parents to teach their children things they believe, either.
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