Taking a Position on Controversial Issues
Message from DoE Superintendent, September 10, 2019
A memorandum will be posted tomorrow as a reminder that under Board of Education Policy 101-13, all Hawai'i State Department of Education (HIDOE) educators shall maintain objectivity when facilitating discussion of issues that generate opposing points of view. Kumu shall fairly present all points of view in their selection of resources and learning experiences, design and facilitate learning opportunities based on the maturity of the learner, and promote critical thinking embedded in our adopted curriculum standards.
This extends outside the classroom to educators and staff who represent the Department on various community boards and committees. These HIDOE employees are expected to recuse themselves on issues the Department has not officially taken a stance.
To be clear, we fully embrace opportunities to discuss and express differences in opinions on important issues. However, our commitment is to protect our learning environment from approaches that may inappropriately influence or coerce students to a particular political viewpoint. As a learning community, we foster innovative and meaningful learning in a safe environment by supporting students to listen respectfully and share different points of views. Ours is a learning environment - not a political environment.
This is why we take a clear stance around responsible and positive discourse, especially when diverse perspectives are creating disagreements in public discourse. Respect, thoughtfulness, and reflective dialogue drive education discourse. We are committed to student voice that focuses on the student's thought development, not the social or political issue, allowing them a safe space to consider their authentic voice.
Thank you for your commitment to ensuring our haumana can thoughtfully engage in civil discourse and solution development using Na Hopena A'o (HA) as a guide for discovery of self, of others, and of community.
LINK: POLICY 101-13 CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
Student discussion of issues which generate opposing points of view shall be considered a normal part of the learning process in every area of the school program. The depth of the discussion shall be determined by the maturity of the students
Teachers shall refer students to resources reflecting multiple and diverse points of view. Discussions, including contributions made by the teacher or resource person, shall be maintained on an objective, factual basis. Stress shall be placed on learning how to make judgements based on facts.