A group of parents are questioning part of the Provo School District's strategic plan dealing with teaching values in schools.
Parents are worried that the district plan usurps parental responsibility to teach morals and values at home."Parents should teach values at home," said Jacqueline F. de Gaston in a letter to the Deseret News. "Parents not only should, but many of them want to teach values to their own children, so they can be free to teach values based on morals and not find themselves having to unteach a set of man-made and child-selected values not based on moral and family values."
Provo District officials, however, say they don't have any intention of replacing the home.
"Our purpose solely is to support the positive things going on in the home," said Kathy Hughes, administrator for curriculum and instruction. But when students aren't getting that in the home, Hughes said, the school may step in to teach values.
Hughes said parents and administrators both want children to learn good values, but are taking different paths to get there. "I don't think we are in conflict with each other," she said.
On Tuesday, the Provo School Board decided to form a committee to evaluate the values portion of the strategic plan. The group will be headed by Drew Bolander, director of pupil services. People interested in participating are invited to apply through the district offices.
Hughes said the committee's goal will be to develop a values-education program and to identify the values to be espoused in the district. Values listed in the district plan include loyalty, integrity, justice, equality of opportunity, freedom of thought, responsibility and dignity.
Parents have objected to a Baltimore County, Md., study on values education titled "1984 and Beyond."
In a section dealing with honesty, the document states, "Few of us are always honest. Moreover, most of us would not advocate the ideal of total honesty."
Parents said they believe absolute honesty is attainable, and children shouldn't be taught otherwise.
Hughes said the highly touted Baltimore study was included in the strategic plan as an information source. The district does not intend to adopt the study for use in Provo, she said. The district has no values curriculum or program and is currently in a discussion stage, Hughes said.