Cobb County's superintendent said there might be some changes system-wide to the curriculum after complaints from the community about Middle Eastern study materials, but also agreed the issue has been blown out of proportion.
Cobb parent Hal Medlin complained to the district in late August about a homework assignment sent home with his Campbell middle-school student, saying that it "slanted positively towards Islam."
Dr. Michael Hinojosa said Thursday, "I think that we'll have to relook at (the curriculum). We don't need things to be this heated over unintended consequences, so obviously we'll look at it again and see if there are any changes we need to make."
An unidentified teacher who asked students to outline the pros and cons of school uniforms assigned the homework. The material used for the comparison was a fictitious letter from a woman who is explaining why she is "proud and happy" to be Muslim and a list of seven conditions for women's dress in Islam.
When asked the appropriateness of the material, Hinojosa said that the district likes to give teachers autonomy when given supplemental materials approved by the state.
"We feel that if they're provided by the state, they ought to be pretty legitimate," he said, adding that he was surprised by Georgia superintendent Dr. John Barge's statement in Thursday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution saying that he didn't agree with the lesson.
"Someone has to vet those, if they put them in the hands of our schools. … We don't want to tell the teachers yes or no," Hinojosa said. "We leave that up to the teachers and the principals to handle that."
Hinojosa did say that he thinks the issue has been blown out of proportion.
"I'm glad it was brought to our attention because we always want to address concerns, even if it is just one parent who has the concern. On an issue like this one, the amount of media coverage isn't consistent with the level of public interest," he said. "Fewer than 10 people in total have contacted me about this, two from different countries, others from out of state – and one of them was to thank us. I think most people in our community saw right away that the issue was raised and it was handled, so let's move on."
Following board approval, if a parent objects to a textbook or some material used in a classroom, a parent/guardian can ask for a "re-review" of the material by the curriculum review committee by submitting form IJK-3, which can be downloaded from the district's website.