Thursday, October 20, 2005

What Was This Teacher Thinking?

The Washington Post reports that a teacher of 8th grade middle schoolers thought it would be a great assignment to give them a list of 100 banned books and choose one of the banned books to read with their parents.

The list contained titles such as The New Joy of Gay Sex and Madonna's Sex -- titles inappropriate for use in a public school at any age, let alone with 12- and 13-year-olds.

The Post's columnist, Marc Fisher, unbelievably supports this project: "...this was a creative assignment, tuned perfectly to eighth-graders' desire to be let in on adult topics, yet tempered by requiring parents to help kids pick the right point of entry."

One parent who supported the assignment is quoted thus by Fisher: "How can I build a resilient child in this world when this is how schools react to pressure?"

There is so much I could say in response to that parent, but it's such obvious common sense I'm not even going to bother.


Blogger phinky said...

I think you missed the part where it said the students were supposed to go over the list with their parents and select a book with parental approval.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Didn't miss that part at all. Frankly I wouldn't want my 12-year-old *child* (that is the age my daughter was starting 8th grade) even being exposed to the title "The New Joy of Gay Sex." And there really is no appropriate reason whatsoever for such a title, or Madonna's "Sex," to be on any potential reading list for children in a public school setting, with or without parental approval.

Best wishes -- Laura

9:17 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I'm with you on this, Laura. I suspect what the teacher did was get a list of banned books from the ALA, then failed to apply any thought to whether any of them were inappropriate for the age of the students. I suspect that if the list had excluded about five of of the books (including the two you mention), there would have been no controversy.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You may be right, Pat. I don't know how many books on the list would have actually been appropriate for middle school, but I suspect most parents would be fine with a "banned book" like HUCK FINN.

What puzzles me is that not one, but two adults signed off on this project, as the article says that the principal approved the list before it was sent home! As a parent at that school it would really trouble me that the responsible adults seemed to have left the building, so to speak :).

Best wishes -- Laura

9:43 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older