LAND O’ LAKES — Pasco County high school students will learn about personal finance with the help of a controversial textbook, despite the protests of more than 50 parents and other county residents.
The school board on Tuesday again approved using the materials by internet financial advice personality Dave Ramsey, following a recommendation from an independent hearing officer.
James Robinson, a former lawyer for the Pinellas County School Board, found nothing wrong with the book’s content or the way district officials arrived at their proposal to use it. The board first adopted the book in July, prompting a challenge.
Jessica Wright, a local parent and educator, led the charge against the material. She urged the board on Tuesday to overrule Robinson’s recommendation.
Wright argued the book does not meet state standards for the personal finance course that students will be required to complete for high school graduation. She presented a letter from a Department of Education official making that point.
“We will be setting our students up for failure should we adopt this book,” she told the board.
She questioned the wisdom of spending close to $500,000 on materials that will become obsolete once the state adopts a book for the required course.
Lea Mitchell, the district’s director of leading and learning, told the board that the district has no plan to use the book for a five-year cycle. But students are taking the current finance course now, she said, “and their teachers are asking for support.”
She said all districts struggle to cope with adopting books while the state works on standards, adding that Pasco plans in the future to wait a year after standards are approved before buying books.
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