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Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2003 at 9:23 PM
Interesting differences in resources for parents.
The New Jersey Education Association's Web site features a brochure for download called "Getting Involved in Your Child's School." It comes in three versions; the first is simply described as "a parent's resource" (links in PDF format). The second is written in Spanish, but the third is curious. It's called the "African-American version."
Why is an African-American version necessary? Who knows, but there are differences between the text of two versions. For example, here's how the "parent's resource" answers the question: "Why do teachers need my help?":
Today, there is an increasing emphasis on individualized instruction--fitting the curriculum to the child. Teachers want to employ new methods and materials to give each child personal guidance.
When you assist teachers with growing paperwork, make instructional materials, or conduct a science experiment, you give them more time for planning activities, for trying new teaching strategies, and for working directly with children. As a parent volunteer, you allow them to be more effective teachers--and the school obtains your skills and services that might be unavailable due to financial limitations.
Here's how the "African-American version" answers the same question:
Today, teachers want to use new methods and materials to give each child personal guidance.
When you assist teachers, you give them more time to work with children. You allow them to be more effective teachers.
We actually like the African-American version better; it takes just 36 words to say the same thing the parent's resource says in 91. But another way of looking at it is that the New Jersey teachers union seems to think their material has to be dumbed down for the benefit of black parents.
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