Cowardly DE school board cancels entire summer reading list over LGBT-inflected YA novel


#1

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#2

Banning books is idiotic, regardless of context. That is all.


#3

One suspects that some of the members of the PTA are uncomfortable with reading in general, except for maybe the Bible.


#4

Why would you join a school board? I suspect two popular reasons are to kick off a political career (making avoiding controversy goal number one) or to influence the teaching of children towards your preferred philosophy (as in this case, banning books dealing with homosexuality). Clearly actually educating the children took a back seat to those priorities.

If you don’t have political ambition and don’t have the bizarre need to force strangers’ children to conform to your belief system, I imagine campaigning and then participating on the school board sounds like an enormous chore (it does to me). But this is another reminder that leaving the work to politicians and busybodies is bad for education, and it’s important that the rest of us take an active role in our communities.


#5

First, the title of this article is inflammatory. Banning the reading list is their call to make, and it’s the journalist’s job to not put emotions on display. Don’t be Kotaku or Polygon, please.

Second, most of what’s on that list is boring to read, and from what I know of some of them, they’re likely only there for progressive reasons versus literary ones.

Third, most of those books have little literary substance to them beyond ‘progressive’ ideas that kids can and should make their own choices about, versus being told what to think about them. That’s what opinions are for, and opinions on social topics are still permitted, last I checked.


#6

School boards can be both heavily left leaning and right leaning. This time, it seems to be right leaning so bring on the hate parade.

They want to nuke the list and make a new one, more power to them. That’s their choice.


#7

Boing Boing is a blog, not a news site. It has always been and will always be opinionated. And this school board is a bunch of cowardly crybabies.


#8

Uh duh, it’s a school board summer reading list. They don’t put the Babysitters club on there.


#9

Welp. Guess what book just lept to the top of my to-read list.


#10

That’s going to be so Catcher in the Rye. The book you read because “zomg it’s getting banned like crazy, it must be awesome”, and then you read it and it’s so boring.


#11

okay…


#12

One suspects you’ve never been to Delaware. It’s a blue state. Not a little blue—solid, through-and-through deep blue. So what you say about reading the Bible to the exclusion of all literature there is demonstrably facile, and sounds to me like the musing of someone invested in either the American oligarchy or clerisy of SF/NYC; everything between those two poles is “flyover country”, even if it’s clearly geographically and politically a coastal, northeast corridor state. Fascinating.


#13

If you don’t have political ambition and don’t have the bizarre need to force strangers’ children to conform to your belief system

Every form of education is an inculcation of a belief system. That behaviour is not the exclusive provenance of either the left or the right.


#14

I find it curious that BoingBoing valourizes their approved philosophy here by denigrating those who don’t play along. Canning an overtly LGBTQ reading list is “cowardly”, but I’ll bet they’d regard doing the opposite as heroic.

The problem is that if the LGBTQ list was reinstated under political pressure, it could just as easily be a cowardly, status quo move.


#15

There’s a reason they call it, “Slower Lower Delaware…”


#16

…ignoring its own rules for challenging reading assignments…

Based on your logic, while working as a police officer, I am allowed to murder at will.


#17

One suspects you’ve not been south of the canal in a while…


#18

That seems like a very odd summer reading list for Delaware. I suspect that the school board is horrified by every single book on it, not just The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

It was probably really just a matter of some parent drawing the board’s attention to the list, since of course they’d normally ignore it. Delaware school boards are usually much too busy taking bribes and doing direct damage to the state’s children to bother looking at summer reading lists.

Honestly, it’s pretty hard for me to say anything nice about our school boards. They are always full of abominable people who took office in order to do harm - for example, we’ve had childless people on the school boards with a stated goal of cutting spending and services to the limits of their ability (because they feel it’s wrong for the childless to pay school taxes, which is a mind-bogglingly shortsighted form of selfishness, so they want to break the whole system). Like every other US state, we also have the usual tedious religious fundamentalists who insist that their bigotries and superstitions must supersede all social customs and requirements of law. And for the last 20 years or so we’ve had people like George Evans, who cater to post-Columbine and 9/11 hysteria by imposing racist, sexist and counter-productive “zero tolerance” policies - these people are of course supported and empowered by the “soccer mom voting block”.

But anyway, here’s some more typical Delaware summer reading lists, taken from my kids:

Dickinson High School (IB program): The Great Gatsby, Heart of Darkness, Of Mice and Men, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein.

Dickinson 12th Grade (Honors and College Prep): ONE OF Frankenstein, Brave New World, Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, Heart of Darkness, Jane Eyre.

Dickinson 12th Grade (Advanced Placement): Wuthering Heights, Wide Sargasso Sea, The Namesake and EITHER Waiting for Godot OR Catch 22.

You will note the lack of controversial titles, or indeed anything written in this century.


#19

Presumably, people think banning books is bad regardless, but that it’s even worse when viewed as a move against a disenfranchised minority. In that context, reinstating a LGBTQ reading list is not equivalent to reinstating a reading list containing, say, Mein Kampf.


#20

I was south of the canal just this Saturday (near Magnolia, the self-proclaimed Center of the Universe Around Which All Else Revolves) at a 55th wedding anniversary party.

I can assure you that I was the only person of voting age present who did not vote for Obama both times, and if I lived any further north of the canal, I’d be in Pennsyltucky.