Sunday, July 20, 2008

[indyweek] N.C. Governor's School under pressure from anti-gay group

by Matt Saldaña
Photo by D.L. Anderson
July 2, 2008

Each summer, 800 of North Carolina's most talented high school seniors attend the country's oldest Governor's School, a prestigious six-week residential program with campuses in Winston-Salem and Raleigh. The 45-year-old program, which receives about $1.3 million from the General Assembly, eschews traditional teaching methods—including grades—in favor of exploring "the most recent ideas and concepts in each discipline." It asks students to adopt the motto "Accept nothing. Question everything."

This summer, one former Governor's School instructor is questioning the influence that a powerful "family values" group, based in Arizona, has had on a North Carolina institution that has fiercely guarded its academic independence.

Tanya Olson, a community college English professor who led the Human Sexuality Film Series at the Governor's School East Campus in Raleigh for four years, was not offered her position back for this year's session, which is now under way. She calls the loss of her job retribution for her criticism of school administrators and state officials after they suspended the film series and censored her course material—apparently in response to the threat of a lawsuit from the Alliance Defense Fund.

[View the entire article at the Independent Weekly.]