Wisconsin District Closes Door on Book Selection

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Schools say they want parental input, but closes the door on book selection process

APPLETON, Wis. – The Appleton school board has come under fire after allegedly violating state open meetings laws when a committee it appointed chose the novels to include in the 9th grade reading curriculum without consulting the public.

One local taxpayer said the district’s actions not only violated the law, but illustrated a general arrogance on the part of local educators who believe they know better than citizens what children should be reading.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed a complaint last Monday on behalf of district taxpayer John Krueger to the state attorney general and the Outagamie County district attorney.

The complaint alleges a special committee created by the Appleton school board violated Wisconsin open meetings laws when it met behind closed doors in 2011 and 2012 to determine the 9th grade reading curriculum.

Over a period of six months, the special committee, comprised of teachers and district administrators, reviewed a list of over 90 potential novels to include in the reading curriculum. Since none of the committee’s meetings were open to the public, questions arose about how certain books were chosen over others.

Krueger, whose daughter attends a school in the district, objected to the closed door selection process.

In an email to Appleton Superintendent Lee Allinger, Krueger requested the committee meetings be held in public “in the interest of openness, fairness, and public service.”

Allinger denied the request, stating only that he did not agree that “a teacher work committee of this nature falls under the Wisconsin Open Meetings law requirements.”

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