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Guest Opinion

I’m qualified to do what Pennridge hired me to do

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The question of Vermilion Education’s curricular recommendations for Pennridge School District appears to have shifted — for what I presume is a lack of evidence — from accusations of my supposed bias, partisanship, fascism, racism, and Christian proselytizing to that I am “not qualified,” to which I wish to respond.

I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (i.e., civics, government and political history) and a minor degree in Latin from Hillsdale College. Hillsdale College is consistently ranked as one of America’s premier and top-performing institutions of higher learning, with a mid-range academic profile of ACT 30-34, SAT 1370-1480 and GPA 3.94-4.0. The college also boasts an unrivaled core curriculum of study.

In addition, I also hold a master’s degree in humanities (i.e., English literature, philosophy and antiquity) from the University of Dallas and earned my teacher’s certification license in the state of Texas granted by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

I began my teaching career in a public charter school in Texas, first as a long-term substitute then as a full-time teacher. There I taught 6th grade Latin and English Language Arts, 7th grade American History, and 8th grade American History, developing and writing curriculum for each class.

It is sometimes claimed that public charter schools are somehow not public schools. However, charter schools have to a) teach any public school student who enrolls; b) teach state standards; c) take state assessments; and d) abide by all state laws. There are two main differences: 1) the school does not have to accept every directive or demand from the education establishment found in many school administrations and unions; and 2) they receive (sometimes considerably) less money than traditional public schools. I thus have experience abiding by the same rules and teaching a diverse student population, while doing so in a school with less funding but that consistently outperformed district schools. It is unclear to me why this experience is not applicable to a traditional public school setting, as claimed.

In Saint Paul, Minn. I taught at a Catholic school, where I served as the history department chair and taught Latin to 3rd-6th grade students, European History to 8th grade and 11th grade students, and civics, government, and economics to high school seniors, for all of which I developed and wrote curricula. During my time in Minnesota, I also developed social studies curricula and led multiple teacher trainings for the Diocese of Marquette schools.

I was then hired by Hillsdale College to work in its K-12 Education Office. For those unfamiliar, Hillsdale College has over two dozen affiliated public charter schools to whom it provides curriculum and training. I worked as an Instructional Coach and then as Associate Director of Instructional Resources. Later I served as the office’s Civic Education Specialist for social studies curriculum and instruction and finally as the K-12 Director of Curriculum in an interim capacity, responsible for managing the review, vetting, and development of curricula to cover all subjects and grades levels.

In each of these roles, I reviewed and wrote curriculum while training teachers and observing their classes, resulting in individualized teacher coaching. This included working with teachers from all backgrounds, including many teachers who had previously taught in traditional public schools. During my five years in the K-12 Education Office, I reviewed dozens of curricular programs, vetted instructional resources, crafted curricula, visited dozens of schools, and observed and coached hundreds of teachers.

I have been published on social studies education in the Washington Examiner, Lansing State Journal, Wall Street Journal, and American Mind. I testified before the Michigan Senate Education Committee and presented at the 2020 White House Conference on American History at the National Archives. I have conducted textbook reviews for the Florida Department of Education and trained social studies teachers for the South Dakota Department of Education.

As a strong believer that parents should have complete access to what their children are learning and that school boards are to represent parental rights, Moms for Liberty invited me to speak to moms at its annual summit in Philadelphia.

As with most consultants with whom a school district may contract, I do not have the Pennsylvania-specific credit hours to be hired by a Pennsylvania district as a “curriculum supervisor” employee.

Per Pennridge’s contract with Vermilion Education, however, the board did not hire me as a curriculum supervisor, but to provide curricular recommendations to district staff for use, edit, and adaptation.

I am confident that fair-minded individuals will find that the last decade of K-12 education experience as outlined above make me well-qualified to do just that.

Jordan Adams is founder of Vermilion Education.


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