We are very supportive of, and energized by, the District 200 Freshman Curriculum Restructuring at OPRF High School.
As parents of younger children who won’t be in high school for years to come, changes like the one proposed give us hope and energy for when our children do enter OPRF.
We embrace the idea of instilling academic agency within our children — allowing them space and self-determination in place of rote data and test scores.
We are delighted to think that our children might not enter a learning environment where de facto segregation is at play — where they, as racially privileged children, are not being further socialized around narratives of white excellence and superiority, which are foundless and based in nothing but legacy and present-day racism.
When we think about what is “best for” our children in their high school arc, it is easy to think only about scholastic achievement and getting into the right college with the right scholarships. And we are confident our children will continue to have ample opportunities to demonstrate any academic aptitude and excellence within a “detracked model.” Our children will be no worse off. They will be “losing” nothing. There are no losers here.
On the contrary, we only have gains. What is “best for” our children is only as good as what is “best for” anyone’s child. What is “best for” our children is to learn to build relationships and community within an equitable environment that challenges all of our young people, and allows space for more “gifts and talents” to emerge.
Our children deserve this shift, and we wholeheartedly support this new curriculum — with appreciation and admiration for the faculty and staff who have so thoughtfully created this new curriculum — and so much gratitude and honor to the decades of work from APPLE, CEEE and other advocates that have poured into this conversation.
Brynne Hovde, Elle Morton, Laura Sakiyama, Amy Butler, Erin Hutto Sowers, Suzanne Feeney, Oak Park