Northwest Allen County Schools teachers embrace people from multiethnic families, their union said Wednesday in response to a board member's comment about interracial marriage.
Kent Somers, board vice president, wanted extra time last month to review four math textbooks proposed for the next academic year. On Monday, he praised three titles but criticized the other for including story problems about “inappropriate” topics.
The five-member board unanimously approved the K-12 textbook adoption except for a high school textbook – the seventh edition of Precalculus by Robert F. Blitzer.
The publisher's description of the book says Blitzer's “relatable voice engages students in the world of math through compelling, real-word applications.” Topics new to the seventh edition include the world tiger population, the coronavirus pandemic, use of social media by age, and area burned by U.S. wildfires, according to the Pearson website.
The story problems included inappropriate or concerning content, Somers said, noting many of the topics aren't part of mathematics.
“Are we talking about divorce rates by education levels? Are we talking about interracial marriages by such-and-such?” Somers said during the board's discussion.
Steve Driver, the Northwest Allen County Educators Association president, told The Journal Gazette in an email Wednesday that Somers' statements generated conversations among teachers in many buildings.
The union drafted this statement on behalf of the educators:
“The teachers at Northwest Allen County Schools cannot speak for school board member Mr. Somers as we do not know his intended message in opposing the adoption of a pre-calculus math book used at Carroll High School.
“The message that the teachers of NACS would like to convey is that we represent, support, and embrace the employees and children of NACS who are from multiracial and multiethnic families.
“The teachers reject any philosophical view or messaging that conveys an image of NACS as not being supportive of multiracial and multiethnic families.”