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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Banning a Book or Discernment in Choosing?

 



Dear Editor,


There’s a big difference between banning a book from being used as a lesson plan as part of the curriculum in a tax supported public school and banning a book from being read by citizens at home. 


NOT ALL BOOKS HAVE "appropriate educational value"… and that’s why the public's discernment as well as our elected leader's discernment is needed in making decisions about whether a book should be used in our tax supported public school system.

Lots of books don’t end up in a teacher’s lesson plans… does that mean the teacher has banned them? No, of course not, it just means the teacher has chosen a book for a reason. The teacher thinks the book is appropriate for her students and she can justify its use by searching the SC College Career Ready Standards. Here's an example of a kindergarten standard in our SC schools:

Standard 2.1 English Language Arts...  "With guidance and support, engage in daily explorations of texts to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, or the environment."

Clearly, this standard leaves the door open for a teacher to read ANY book they choose. This is the crux of the problem. The teacher values the book she has chosen. The teacher’s reason for choosing that book may or may not be an appropriate reason. That’s why we cannot just allow ANY book to be chosen to include in a teacher’s lesson plans. Just because a publisher published the book, doesn’t mean it is educational worthy for children or age appropriate.

Even textbooks go through state and local review committees. Some textbooks are chosen to be purchased with tax dollars; some are not. But that doesn’t mean the ones not chosen are banned. Libraries choose books to purchase and put on their shelves, but some are not chosen to be bought, but that doesn’t mean the other books are banned. 

We must judge and discern for underage children as they certainly don’t have the maturity to do so by themselves. Adults have to make those decisions and adults must demand accountability about the books placed before children. Parents have a right to direct their child's education. And if enough parents agree that the book does not meet their discernment requirements, then it should rightly be removed from the curriculum but not banned from a parent to choose to read to their child at home.

What if the community as a whole doesn’t think a book is appropriate? What if the book actually violates a law in place? Shouldn’t a community be able to judge whether or not that book has educational and moral value? Shouldn’t the duly elected School Board vote on whether or not the book should remain in the curriculum? 

Are you really fine with just letting one teacher decide on their own judgement which books to use? 

When a teacher “highlights” a book for their lesson plan, children automatically assume the book has value and importance and they too should value it and use it as a source of wisdom.  Children look to their teachers as their source of knowledge. So, when a teacher assigns a book or reads a book aloud during story time a child instinctively places importance on that book.

Some books are written to educate, and some quite frankly are written to inculcate and indoctrinate.  Removing books that have no real proper educational or moral value from being used in a classroom is well within the rights of local school board to do. 

If there’s a book you want your child to read at home… no one is telling you that you can’t. WE are not "banning" it from you, we are just simply saying it doesn't meet the expectations of being considered for use in our tax supported public schools.

There are guidelines for proper attire in a classroom for a reason… there should also be rules for proper books being used in a teacher’s lesson plans. 

Discernment is so needed in today's society. NOT ALL BOOKS are "appropriate" for meeting educational and moral standards.

written by Johnnelle Raines

2 comments:

  1. Absolutely agree! Parents have the right to determine what books their children should and should not read. Just because I like and enjoy a book doesn’t mean it should be read to or by a child. If I had children, I wouldn’t allow them to set foot in a public school - not today in this crazy world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this letter to the editor. This books needs to be removed from all public schools. I hope Greenville County School District does the same. Your explanations were right on point.

    ReplyDelete

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