The challenge of two books assigned in Plymouth-Canton Educational Park's AP English Literature classes by two parents has generated national headlines.
Posts on the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and New York Daily News have addressed the topic. These passages have ranged from opinions favoring keeping the books to more objective news items on the issue. Here's a sampling of what is being said elsewhere:
On the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog:
One of the parents is Matt Dame, who ran for the school board as a Tea Party candidate last year and lost. He and his wife complained that a book like “Beloved” is inappropriate for students, since it contains passages that deal with sex, ghosts and infanticide. At a public review meeting, Dame also complained the characters in the book used God’s name in vain. “Waterland” also contains sexual passages.
In the place of “Beloved,” which deals with slavery, Dame suggested that a nonfiction text about slavery or survival should have been assigned instead, the Plymouth Patch . But a teacher, Brian Read, pointed out that the class in which ”Beloved” and “Waterland” are taught is AP English Literature. “It’s about fiction,” Read said. “Poetry and fiction.”
From Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry:
To me it is dismaying that school administrators are willing to risk kids’ education for perceived political correctness.
And I wonder, if those considering banning these novels have ever watched an hour of prime time TV?
I also wonder what the superintendent will do when the religious right demands Plymouth-Canton schools stop teaching evolution. Perhaps at some point the protests of parents who want their children to get a good education will also start to count.
On the New York Daily News' Page Views book blog:
That's a great idea - let's censor passages in texts if we don't like them. And maybe if we don't like entire books, we can throw them in a bonfire and burn them. And if we don't like ideas, we can make those ideas illegal too. And if we don't like certain groups of people because we've decided those people are somehow "inappropriate" in their beliefs or habits or appearance we can...
On MediaBistro's GalleyCat book publishing blog:
In a Michigan school district, an AP English class assignment to read Beloved by Toni Morrison.
The controversial challenge has generated an impressive response in the Plymouth-Canton community, and the school district is currently deciding if they should act on the challenge.
You can share your opinion in the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education suggestion box. Follow this link to email: firstname.lastname@example.org. According to the board site, “suggestions are reviewed weekly by the Board and your idea may be shared publicly at a Board of Education meeting.”
On the Huffington Post:
"Beloved," along with Graham Swift's "Waterland," both have been challenged by the parents of an AP English Literature student. Superintendent Jeremy Hughes initially removed Waterland from the class curriculum upon the parents' complaint, but that book will be subject to its own review at a later date.