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John Huber


December, 2023 Worcester County Board Presentation About Inappropriate Materials was Deceptive

Worcester County Board of Education was deceived at the December 2023 meeting.

In December I sat through an exhausting Worcester County Board of Education meeting where one person after another after another came to the table and gave his or her opinion on the appropriateness of materials in schools.

The Coordinator of Instruction for School Library Programs and a school library media specialist from one of Worcester’s High Schools put on an hour long presentation on the policies and procedures regarding selecting these materials.

What the board failed to realize was the presentation that described the procedures followed for selecting instructional materials showed a clear violation of the very set of procedures that they claim to be following.

Then they gave a long introduction detailing all their qualifications, strategic planning, mission, vision, goals, how their policies were developed, a history of the manual, professional organizations and more.  Then they referred to the actual policy. One of the presenters said “I pulled a few quotes…” Indeed, she did.

She “pulled” from II-C-03 and chose:

I.A.2. The system-level responsibility for selecting basic textbooks, digital resources, and other basic instructional materials rests with the leadership of the central office instructional staff.

I.A.2 The selection of supplementary books, digital resources and supplementary materials of instruction is the responsibility of the various schools with approval by the central office instructional staff.

III-B Specific procedures for the evaluation and selection of textbooks, digital resources and other instructional materials are found in the Procedure Manual

III-C. 2 The selection process must assure the provision of materials which are consistent with the philosophy of the Worcester County Public Schools and which support the curriculum and its objectives.  The process must also assure the provision of materials that (a) Insure proper recognition to all groups and individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, creed, and national origin.

All relevant for sure. But sandwiched between III-B and III.C.2 there is III.C.1 that states “Instructional materials used in the Worcester County Public Schools are available for public examination.”

Also, while they included III.C.2(a) they did not include the very next policy:

III.C.2(b) …have content suitable to the educational needs and maturity levels of the students for whom they are selected.

Not a major revelation by any stretch, but they obviously looked right passed these policies and chose not to share them. I wonder why. Next, they discussed II-C-04 regarding reconsideration of textbooks and materials.  The very first policy in this section says:

The final decision for retention or removal of controversial books or materials shall rest with the Board of Education after careful examination and discussion of the matter with school officials or anyone else the Board may wish to involve.


I wonder why this was not included in the presentation. Here are the links to the policies.  II-C-03  II-C-04

In the upper left corner of the policies pages, there is a drop down that changes the page to procedures. Procedures are the details of how policies are to be implemented.    Procedures under the same policy are II-C-03p-01 Procedures for Textbook Selection and Recommendation.   Here is the link  II-C-03p-01

Here, we find this:

Process Guidelines

1. Process Guidelines

a. The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials shall be under the direction of the supervisor/coordinator responsible for the area of instruction being considered.

b. Final recommendation shall be made by a committee that includes a minimum of one supervisor/coordinator, one principal, and two teachers.  At least one professional representative from each school (100 students or more) affected by the adoption of an instructional material must be included on the selection committee.

c. Input from all the teachers in the schools affected should be considered by the committee.

d. The committee must complete the textbook or digital resource evaluation form and submit it to the Assistant Superintendent with a recommendation.

e. The Superintendent will be advised of the recommendation and upon his approval may submit a recommendation to the Board of Education for review.

f. The Board of Education may be presented with the recommendation and the actual instructional material under consideration.

g. Supplementary textbooks and instructional materials will be selected by the supervisors/coordinators of instruction in concert with principals and teachers.

(1). Teachers affected by the purchase of the books or instructional materials shall be given an opportunity to review the materials and submit recommendations.

(2). Requisitions for supplementary textbooks and instructional materials must be approved by the appropriate supervisor or coordinator and the Assistant Superintendent.

I wonder why this was not mentioned in the presentation.  After speaking of the chosen policies, the presenter described how she, and she alone, orders materials for the library.  She spoke exclusively in first person through the entire presentation of the selection process. I have no question that the presenters are highly professional and caring individuals.  I think their presentation was incredibly thorough and can only imagine the time it took to put it together. They are clearly experts in their fields.

I also believe that they are aware of the requirement of the committee in the procedures but possibly believe it (the committee requirement) to be applicable only to textbooks and materials used by teachers in the direct delivering of the curriculum and not to “other instructional materials.”  Unfortunately, for them, the procedures would disagree.  The policy statements at the start of the section make it clear that instructional materials include library books.

I further understand that it would be impossible to include a committee on every choice for a new addition to the library.  I would suggest that a standing committee meeting the requirements of the policy be formed and meet as needed. Perhaps it may only need to meet a few times per year, in the summer, or some other type of arrangement.

If the board ever does revisit this policy, I would highly encourage community input when adding materials. Currently there is none.

It is a shame that no one at any level pointed out the problem with the presentation.

They clearly did not have a committee. If they did, it would have been on the first slide. I believe this was a deceptive presentation.





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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.