In advance of a public hearing Tuesday night (Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m. at Newton South) more than 400 recent Newton North High School graduates have signed a letter in support of “our teachers and our school system in their mission to craft a curriculum that promotes critical thinking.”
The alumni wrote the letter in response to an on-going campaign by “Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), a group whose members have been targeting our school system for years and have recently begun targeting individual teachers” over discredited claims of an anti-Israel bias in Newton Public Schools.
Tuesday’s hearing is the result of a citizens petition and is expected to draw a very large crowd. Participants will be allowed to make a statement of three minutes. Additional documents can be found here. as well as on the Newton Teachers Association website. AFPT’s promotion for the hearing is here.
Here’s the North alumni letter:
To the Editor:
We, the undersigned graduates of Newton North High School (NNHS), write to support our teachers and our school system in their mission to craft a curriculum that promotes critical thinking. We affirm our opposition to Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), a group whose members have been targeting our school system for years and have recently begun targeting individual teachers.
The NNHS curriculum has not taught us what to think, but how to think critically and cross-reference with independent sources. In today’s increasingly polarized and sensationalized discourse, such skills are particularly empowering and simply necessary. We hold that we learned to analyze multiple perspectives as a result of our teachers acknowledging their own lived experiences and consciously encouraging us to find primary sources to both support and oppose their points of view.
As former students, we saw firsthand that our Newton teachers are genuinely and deeply committed to supporting their students’ academic and personal growth. Differing ideas in the classroom did not lead to isolation or arguments but to genuine discussion and a focus on supporting our views with independently-verified and peer-reviewed sources of evidence. To penalize any educator for their efforts to provide students with a comprehensive, global education would be in direct contradiction of the Newton Public Schools’ own goal as expressed in its mission statement: “[To] Ensure all students become knowledgeable, responsible, caring and contributing members of society through evidence-based social and emotional learning from preschool through high school.”
These teachers have always encouraged students’ self-expression, and we felt that our opinions voiced in their classrooms were heard and treated with the utmost dignity.
Go here to view the more than 300 Newton North alumni who have signed the letter.