October 30, 2017

The Mockingbird Debate Isn’t Past, It’s Prologue

By Bellwether

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The debate over Biloxi’s decision to ban and then not ban To Kill A Mockingbird was in some ways predictable, but it’s also about coming attractions. I look at that in U.S. News today:

…Few discount its literary and historical merit, it won a Pulitzer, but its value as part of the canon of books American public school kids read is more contested. Most recently, school officials in Biloxi, Mississippi removed it from the reading list after parental pressure and then subsequently restored it after pressure from the other side and a high-profile debate. Still, you need a permission slip to read it there now.

We’ve had fights about what to teach in public schools as long as we’ve had public schools. And controversial books are frequently under fire – “Huckleberry Finn” is a perennial target along with “Mockingbird.” Lately this debate is seen as a symptom of the growing affinity for safe spaces and the idea that education should be free from troubling ideas.

Really, though, it’s an old story. What’s new is the coming collision between the education field’s growing attention to curriculum and our broader debates in society today…

You can read the entire thing right here. You can find me on Twitter and tell me what books you’d ban or why the Satanic Verses was a masterpiece @arotherham.

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