The Governor’s Honors Program in Georgia is a prestigious residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students who will be rising juniors and seniors.
The official website touts the diversity of the program, saying it “offers instruction that is significantly different from the typical high school classroom and that is designed to provide students with academic, cultural, and social enrichment necessary to become the next generation of global critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders.” The program is free for students, with the exception of travel expenses, and only a select few are accepted into the program each year.
But the 2017 summer curriculum has raised a few eyebrows from different corners of the state.
The program, set to begin at Berry College in Rome in just a few weeks, incorporates instructors from around the state to teach on a variety of topics. Teachers are solely responsible for the courses they teach and the subject matter within, but a few students enrolled in the program have voiced concern over the political leanings of some of the courses.
The courses proposed by one instructor in particular have garnered attention on social media. Eleta Andrews, who identifies as a former Fulton County School teacher, posted to her personal Facebook page last week about her excitement over the Social Studies courses she’ll be offering.
Her list includes:
1. Eugenics: America’s Dirty Secret
2. Horrors, Oddities, and Unnatural Feats: the History of Freak Shows
3. The Second Amendment: Fuel to the Fire
4. The Dark (K)Night(s): the Rise and Fall of the KKK
5. Acronyms, Identity, and Why It Matters: Gender as a Social Construct
6. Hillbillies, Rednecks, and White Trash: Blue Collar America and Making America Great (Again?)
7. Comets, Kool Aid, and Going Clear: The Mysteries of American Cults
Andrews’ official Facebook post is ripe with compliments from former students and requests to sit-in as a guest, but of concern to some parents is what appears to be political leanings and potential for bias. Andrews’ consideration of Scientology as a cult when it is a religion for others.
One commenter expressed a hope for respectful disagreement in the class, specifically relating to No. 6 – “Hillbillies, Rednecks, and White Trash: Blue Collar America and Making America Great (Again?)” Andrews said, “PLENTY of room for discourse in these classes. That class will discover the “underclass” of American history and how many of its members truly did make America great (working class, builders, laborers), but also how many have been politically manipulated.”
The program is completely funded with tax dollars by way of allocation from the Georgia General Assembly.
The 54th year of the program begins on June 18 and runs through mid-July.