Middle East studies in the News
Wallingford School Board to 'Re-Brand' High School Course on Middle East
by Eric Vo
The Board of Education wants to "re-brand" a high school course focusing on the Middle East to appeal to more students, rather than eliminating it as an elective.
The Board of Education's instructional committee met this week to discuss the course after a proposal to eliminate it was submitted by the social studies management team. It hadn't been taught since 2008 due to low enrollment, according to Shawn Parkhurst, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
At the request of Board of Education Chairwoman Roxane McKay, the school board opted to keep the course.
"I kind of was the one that was pushing the buttons on that," McKay said. "There hasn't been much interest in the last seven or eight years. That surprised me because I thought the idea of a Middle East course is so relevant in our world today."
McKay referred to ongoing issues in the region, such as the civil wars in Syria and Iraq.
"It's relevant subject matter to our world and I was just surprised there wasn't an interest," she said, "which prompted the conversation of perhaps we can re-brand."
McKay said she believes that if the course description is rewritten it may result in greater interest. She also said, however, that the course could be deleted if the enrollment doesn't increase.
Chris Shortell, a school board member and the vice chairman of the instructional committee, said he would not have a problem with the course being eliminated because the material may be taught in another course.
"I'm not opposed to re-branding it, but I also trust the administration and teachers to come up with courses that the students want to enroll in," Shortell said. "Nobody complained when British literature was eliminated a few years ago in favor of a more global literature curriculum, so I would likewise have no issue deleting this course knowing that its subject matter would still be covered elsewhere."
The school system's social studies management team will rework the Middle East course description and submit the proposed language later this month. The Board of Education will formally vote on the proposed changes at its televised meeting at the end of the month.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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