About Us

We are a group of concerned parents and others who support our children's right to receive a bias-free education. An important part of this education is the material utilized in class and homework assignments.
Although Newton prides itself on excellent schools and indeed has many fine teachers and departments, some student material contains an unacceptable amount of factual errors and/or bias. As well, some professional development courses supported by the school are taught by organizations with a political, not academic, purpose. We believe that all materials and training, whether intended for students or teachers, should be accurate and unbiased, other than material used as an example of bias or for discussion purposes. 








PENS is Independent and Non-Political

PENS is an educational organization, not a political advocacy group. We are not affiliated with any other organization and do not express a point of view on issues not related to the accuracy or bias of class material. 

We are not associated, formally or informally, with any other organization including Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Open Newton Schools, or Verity Educate. We have shared information and class materials with those organizations, but that is the extent of our collaboration.

Although we are extremely grateful to Verity Educate for research and publishing its Report on the Middle East Curriculum in Newton Public Schools, we did not commission the Report and did not pay Verity Educate for its work. In addition to relying on the Verity Educate Report, PENS has performed independent research on student materials and has worked with other organizations, including StandwithUs, in reviewing such material. 

Although most of this website concerns issues related to the Middle East, our concern is not limited that topic. Our focus on the Arab World Studies Notebook and Middle East history as taught in high school World History classes came about because material about that subject was the focus of numerous complaints, and because even a cursory study of the material showed egregious problems.

We stand ready to work with parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens to review problematic material of any type and if necessary, to take appropriate action. 

We reached out to the Asian-American community with respect to the a play, Thoroughly Modern Millie, presented at Newton South High School. Millie contained stereotypes so offensive that otherwise interested students elected not to become involved or were ashamed to bring their relatives to performances. Other schools which performed the play asked for and received permission to modify characters to avoid offensive stereotypes.

We also conducted an analysis of bias against Arabs and Muslims in 9th and 10th grade World History classes. Instances of bias against and misinformation about Islam and Arab society is discussed here.

Confidentiality

We take confidentiality very seriously. We are well aware of the fear of retaliation among residents concerned about inaccurate and biased material, especially anti-Israel material, used in Newton schools. As noted below, the child of one of our members was subject to illegal retaliation by the Newton Public Schools. We will not release the names of anyone concerned about class material in Newton or any other school, or who have assisted PENS in obtaining class materials or in other ways, unless given express permission or mandated by court order. 

In October 2013 the Newton Public Schools and School Committee Chair Matthew Hills illegally (as determined by the U.S. Department of Education and the Massachusetts agency supervising public schools) retaliated against the child of a PENS member by disclosing confidential information about her to the media. Two media entities, the newspaper Newton Tab and website www.village14.com, published the confidential information, including the child's name and address, as well as false and defamatory accusations against the parent.  Neither the Newton Public Schools nor Newton Mayor Setti Warren have taken any action to sanction Hills or alleviate the effects of the illegal retaliation despite repeated requests by the family and elected officials.

Contact Us

Feel free to contact us at the email address below. If you'd like to join our email list, please send us your name and contact information. If you're interested in working with us, please let us know and we will contact you about projects you may be interested in. Thank you for your interest.

Parents for Excellence in Newton Schools (PENS)

NewtonExcellence@gmail.com