Winners, Losers and the Weaponization of CVUSD’s Book Policy



By Diane Hawkins

At it again. There’s been no rest in the long-running dispute over Conejo Valley Unified School District’s (CVUSD) core literature policy, aka the “book policy.” Last year it looked like the matter was largely settled. But this year with a newly elected school board in place—the pro-union candidates having emerged as victors in that hotly charged race—the board majority now seeks to undo the key features of the book policy that many parents believed finally represented their voices and their children’s needs.

The sides argued over that book policy for so long, and for what? The policy gives parents the same notification that teachers have been privy to regarding mature literature on the reading list, allows parents to provide input to the reading list, and affords a clear mechanism for requesting an opt-out/alternative-assignment.

Does the policy do any measurable harm to teachers, many of whom are parents themselves and can appreciate the extra support it may give to moms, dads, and students?  Do some parents, however many or few, see the current book policy as an important opportunity to help support and guide their children?

Yet here we are, still fighting—with an apparent goal of wresting power and declaring new winners and losers.

But establishing a new victor as a result of kneecapping the freshly instituted book policy would be a false triumph. Mutilating a previous agreement and repudiating legitimate concerns, with the apparent goal, or de facto result, of trouncing the opposition, is what ego looks like. It’s wielded like a weapon until a winner is declared, no matter whose voices and welfare have been crippled in the process.

At the CVUSD board meeting this Tuesday, 4/2/19, will any board members or union representatives have the courage to say that the book policy, with its parental input and notification provisions, is actually a reasonable policy? It was, after all, a compromise between the district’s previous handling of book selection and transparency on the one hand, and a rigorous rejection of mature-content literature on the other.

I recommend living with that compromise, that book policy, for a while, and let’s see how it works.


Diane Hawkins is a citizen reporter and resident of the Conejo Valley

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3 Responses to Winners, Losers and the Weaponization of CVUSD’s Book Policy

  1. William Hicks April 4, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    My Wife and I are beyond child bearing and our Grandchildren do not live in Conejo Valley. Why we would care how this issue frequently crosses our minds may be asked, but it does.

    IF parental control is not improved over the issues that affect the education of their children, you will see an increase in those who choose to pull their children out of public education. Nearly 25% of students are already in private school or home schooled. That reduces The Average Daily Attendance funds that come from Sacramento to local school districts. How much more will it take before The Conejo School District will have to start shutting down offices and schools?

  2. William Hicks April 3, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Are we willing to leave this all in the hands of agenda driven activists or is this a decision ONLY parents should be making?

  3. Bruce Boyer for Ventura County Sheriff April 3, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    This forced curriculum of crap will help bring about then end of public school indoctrination as parents demand real choices!


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