To the Editor:
I am writing to commend and thank the administration and Board of Education (BOE) of the School District of Chatham (SDOC) for its comprehensive presentation about the social studies curriculum, its mission, balanced content, purpose, and goals for grades K-12. This March 6th presentation, along with the opportunity for public forum which followed, clearly demonstrated the district not only complies with NJ State standards but in many ways exceeds and excels.
For those supporters like me, and evidently the majority of attendees, the administration and board substantiated what is already believed and valued concerning our school district, namely its educators dedicate themselves to policies, practices, and decisions designed to serve the best interests of each and all students. Clearly any questions about the curriculum have been answered and any individual concerns about the promulgation of one religion over another or the practice of a faith has been debunked. Gauging from public commentary, letters, and signed petitions, the SDOC curriculum is not viewed to be irregular or unwelcomed.
Opportunity now presents itself for the community at large to quell the firestorm, cease the divisiveness, stop verbal lambasting, and to restore civility and kindness neighbor-to-neighbor which is the hallmark of Chatham. To do otherwise would send the erroneous message that tolerance only exists if viewpoints are homogeneous, peaceful dissent is unwelcomed, and bullying or even intimidation are acceptable means of conflict resolution. These should not be the social studies lessons our youth learn from the behaviors of the adults in our community.
I urge each person who took the time to attend the board meeting or write a letter to remain engaged. Often BOE and PTO meetings, along with other local government meetings, are vastly under attended. Consequently, information is disseminated second hand, hearsay happens, and dialogue stalls. There then is the risk of social media or elsewhere running with partial facts.
The next BOE meeting is March 20th. Showing the district's outstanding, hardworking Administration and volunteer Board consistent support does not require everyone's blanket approval on all topics. However ongoing involvement and active participation is civics put into practice.
Thank you for this chance to express my opinions.