I. Responsibility for Selection of Instructional Materials
A. The board is responsible for matters relating to the operation of the school district.
B. The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials is delegated to the professionally trained and licensed employees of the school system. For the purpose of this rule the term “instructional materials” includes printed and multimedia materials (not equipment), whether considered text materials or library materials. The board retains the final authority for the approval of textbooks.
C. While selection of materials may involve many people including principals, teachers, teacher-librarians, students, parents, and community members, the responsibility for coordinating the selection of most instructional materials and making the recommendation for the purchase rests with licensed employees.
D. Responsibility for coordinating the selection of text materials for distribution to classes will rest with the licensed employees, principals, and superintendent. For the purpose of this rule the term “text materials” includes textbooks and other printed and unprinted material provided in multiple copies for use of a total class or major segment of a class.
E. If the board appoints an ad hoc committee to make recommendations on the selection of instructional materials, the ad hoc committee is formed and appointed in compliance with the board policy.
1. The superintendent will inform the committee as to their role and responsibility in the process.
2. The following statement will be provided to the ad hoc committee members:
Bear in mind the principles of the freedom to learn and to read and base your decision on these broad principles rather than on defense of individual materials. Freedom of inquiry is vital to education in a democracy.
Study thoroughly all materials referred to you and read available reviews. The general acceptance of the materials should be checked by consulting standard evaluation aids and local holdings in other schools.
Passages or parts should not be pulled out of context. The values and faults should be weighed against each other and the opinions based on the material as a whole.
Your report, presenting both majority and minority opinions, will be presented by the principal to the complainant at the conclusion of our discussion of the questioned material.
II. Material selected for use in libraries and classrooms will meet the following guidelines:
A. Religion – Material will represent the major religions in a factual, unbiased manner. The primary source material of the major religions is considered appropriate, but material which advocates rather than informs, or is designed to sway reader judgment regarding religion, will not be included in the school libraries or classrooms.
B. Racism – Material will present a diversity of race, custom, culture, and belief as a positive aspect of the nation’s heritage and give candid treatment to unresolved intercultural problems, including those which involve prejudice, discrimination, and the undesirable consequences of withholding rights, freedom, or respect from an individual.
C. Sexism – Material will reflect sensitivity to the needs, rights, traits and aspirations of men and women without preference or bias.
D. Age – Material will recognize the diverse contributions of various age groups and portray the continuing contributions of maturing members of society.
E. Ideology – Material will present basic primary and factual information on an ideology or philosophy of government which exerts or has exerted a strong force, either favorably or unfavorably, over civilization or society, past or present. This material will not be selected with the intention to sway reader judgment and is related to the maturity level of the intended audience.
F. Profanity and Sex – Material is subjected to a test of literary merit and reality by the teacher-librarians and licensed staff who will take into consideration their reading of public and community standards of morality .
G. Controversial issues materials will be directed toward maintaining a balanced collection representing various views.
The selection decision should be made on the basis of whether the material presents an accurate representation of society and culture, whether the circumstances depicted are realistically portrayed, or whether the material has literary or social value when the material is viewed as a whole.
These guidelines will not be construed in such a manner as to preclude materials which accurately represent the customs, morals, manners, culture, or society of a different time or a different place.
III. Procedure for Selection
A. Material purchased for libraries and classrooms is recommended for purchase by licensed employees, in consultation with administrative staff, school library staff, students or an ad hoc committee as appointed by the board. The material recommended for purchase is approved by the appropriate building administrator.
1. The materials selected will support stated objectives and goals of the school district. Specifically, the goals are:
a. To acquire materials and provide service consistent with the demands of the curriculum;
b. To develop students’ skills and resourcefulness in the use of libraries and learning resources;
c. To effectively guide and counsel students in the selection and use of materials and libraries;
d. To foster in students a wide range of significant interests;
e. To provide opportunities for aesthetic experiences and development of an appreciation of the fine arts;
f. To provide materials to motivate students to examine their own attitudes and behaviors and to comprehend their own duties and responsibilities as citizens in a pluralistic democracy;
g. To encourage life-long education through the use of the library; and,
h. To work cooperatively and constructively with the instructional and administrative staff in the school.
2. Materials selected are consistent with stated principles of selection. These principles are:
a. To select materials, within established standards that will meet the goals and objectives of the school district;
b. To consider the educational characteristics of the community in the selection of materials within a given category;
c. To present the sexual, racial, religious and ethnic groups in the community by:
1. Portraying people, both men and women, adults and children, whatever their ethnic, religious or social class identity, as human and recognizable, displaying a familiar range of emotions, both negative and positive.
2. Placing no constraints on individual aspirations and opportunity.
3. Giving comprehensive, accurate, and balanced representation to minority groups and women – in art and science, history and literature, and in all other fields of life and culture.
4. Providing abundant recognition of minority groups and women by showing them frequently in positions of leadership and authority.
d. To intelligently, quickly, and effectively anticipate and meet needs through awareness of subjects of local, national and international interest and significance; and,
e. To strive for impartiality in the selection process.
3. The materials selected will meet stated selection criteria. These criteria are:
a. Authority-Author’s qualifications – education, experience, and previously published works.
b. Reliability –
1. Accuracy-meaningful organization and emphasis on content, meets the material’s goals and objectives, and presents authoritative and realistic factual material.
2. Current-presentation of content which is consistent with the findings of recent and authoritative research.
c. Treatment of subject-shows an objective reflection for the multi-ethnic character and cultural diversity of society.
d. Language –
1. Vocabulary –
a. Does not indicate bias by the use of words which may result in negative value judgments about groups of people;
b. Does not use “man” or similar limiting word usage in generalization or ambiguities which may cause women to feel excluded or dehumanized.
2. Compatible to the reading level of the student for whom it is intended.
e. Format –
1. Book –
a. Adequate and accurate index;
b. Paper of good quality and color;
c. Print adequate and well spaced;
d. Adequate margins;
e. Firmly bound; and,
2. Non-book, including software and electronically available materials –
a. Flexibility, adaptability;
b. Curricular orientation of significant interest to students;
c. Appropriate for audience;
d. Accurate authoritative presentation;
e. Good production qualities (fidelity, aesthetically adequate);
f. Durability; and,
3. Illustrations of book and non-book materials should:
a. Depict instances of fully integrated grouping and settings to indicate equal status and non-segregated social relationships.
b. Make clearly apparent the identity of minorities;
c. Contain pertinent and effective illustrations;
4. Flexible to enable the teacher to use parts at a time and not follow a comprehensive instructional program on a rigid frame of reference.
f. Special Features –
3. Current charts, maps, etc.
4. Visual aids.
6. Special activities to stimulate and challenge students.
7. Provide a variety of learning skills.
g. Potential use:
1. Will it meet the requirement of reference work?
2. Will it help students with personal problems and adjustments?
3. Will it serve as a source of information for teachers and librarians?
4. Does it offer an understanding of cultures other than the student’s own and is it free of racial, religious, age, disability, ethnic, and sexual stereotypes?
5. Will it expand students’ sphere of understanding and help them to understand the ideas and beliefs of others?
6. Will it help students and teachers keep abreast of and understand current events?
7. Will it foster and develop hobbies and special interests?
8. Will it help develop aesthetic tastes and appreciation?
9. Will it serve the needs of students with special needs?
10. Does it inspire learning?
11. Is it relevant to the subject?
12. Will it stimulate a student’s interest?
4. Gifts of library or instructional materials may be accepted if the gift meets existing criteria for library and instructional materials. The acceptance and placement of such gifts is within the discretion of the board.
5. In order to provide a current, highly usable collection of materials. teacher-librarians will ensure constant and continuing renewal of the collection, not only the addition of up-to-date materials, but by the judicious elimination of materials which no longer meet school district needs or find use. The process of reviewing and eliminating instructional materials will be done according to established and accepted standards for determining the relevance and value of materials in a given context