Hundreds Debate The Merits Of Reading Resources In Cody

May 20, 2015

Credit Abhi Sharma, Flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of parents, students, and teachers showed up for a contentious school board meeting about reading curriculum in Cody Tuesday night. 

Cody teachers, administrators, and parents spent nearly three years selecting reading and language materials for the school district. They chose Houghton and Mifflin’s Journey curriculum books.

School Superintendent Ray Schulte says 8 or 9 people filed 40 complaints against the selection. Newly elected school board member Scott Weber had problems with some of the content.

“There’s junk science in there.”

There is climate change. It is real...I don't know what the hell it's all about, but I know that man is part of it. Not all of it, but part of it. And anybody who sends somebody out of this school system and says global climate change is a hoax is goofy.

  Near the end of a seven-hour school board meeting, he referred to references in the books about climate change. And, he claimed the material had inaccuracies and biases inappropriate for Cody.

“We’re not in a multicultural environment here. This town is what, according to a poll 95 to 98 percent white.”

But, hundreds of people who attended the meeting said they supported the materials chosen by the district.  34 people spoke to the board, some in favor, and some against the material. The last speaker: Senator Alan Simpson.

“There is climate change. It is real. Even my pal Jim Inhofe the Senator has said that. I don’t know what the hell it’s all about, but I know that man is part of it. Not all of it, but part of it. And anybody who sends somebody out of this school system and says global climate change is a hoax is goofy.”

Simpson went on to say there is no room for paranoia on either side of the debate.

“What I’ve learned in public life is when your adversary runs out of facts, they get out the tool bag of emotion, fear, guilt, or racism”

Board policy dictates an oversight committee of an administrator, teachers, and community members will investigate the complaints against the materials. The board will choose the new committee members June 1. The board rejected a proposal to form an outside committee of parents and taxpayers to research, reject, and add to the reading materials.