Alabama’s state school board approves K-3 English textbooks amid drawback from some parents

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 7:31 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama State Board of Education voted 7-1 in favor of the latest English/Language Arts textbook recommendations for kindergarten through third grade.

The vote came after drawbacks from some Alabama parents.

“This is destroying families and our country,” concerned parent Melissa Gates said.

Those opposed to the textbooks said the stories are inappropriate, negative, and lack resolution. In addition, some mentioned issues about diversity.

“The vocabulary is not age-appropriate,” said Mobile resident Cathy Odom. “I thought personally there was too much black history. Very little about America, the beautiful, and our founding fathers.”

“Approximately 90% of all illustrations of K-1 are of minorities,” said Malinda Williford of Spanish Fort.

However, despite the concerns, the state board approved the curriculum. State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey explained that the recommendations come from both a textbook committee and a literacy task force.

“I promise you, I have not met anybody on either one of those committees who does not care about the education and development of children,” Dr. Mackey said.

Parents were able to read the textbooks at 10 public library locations for 30 days before the vote. By law, board members and Superintendent Mackey could not see the recommendations.

“In the textbook law, there is no provision for the Superintendent, or (in) the Literacy Act, to be involved in this process,” Mackey said.

District 3 Rep. Stephanie Bell was the only board member to vote against the resolution, saying the textbook options were inappropriate for the age group and did not hold students’ interests.

There were some in the audience who were in favor of the curriculum.

“This curriculum is still fresh, timely, and includes up-to-date technology for our bright technology-driven students,” said attendee Julia Cleland.

Now that the state board has voted, local school boards will have multiple textbook options to choose from. Then, districts will decide what is best for their schools.

The board said material can be redacted if any book is considered inappropriate on the local level.

Not reading this story on the WSFA News App? Get news alerts FASTER and FREE in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store!