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23 February 2015 @ 09:48 am
Faux News  
A recent report on a local Fox News station reported this: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2015/02/turn-beginning-readers-serial-readers.

I love this quote from an outraged citizen: "Campus Reform editor-in-chief Caleb Bonham said on "Fox and Friends Weekend" that one of the books that's new to classrooms, "One Crazy Summer" - which is required reading for the nine to ten-year-old students - is the "Debbie Downer of homework."

Bonham explained that it's about three sisters who are shipped off to a Black Panther summer camp."


Guess what, folks? He has not read the book. He might have read some sort of summary somewhere (though I cannot for the life of me think of any resources I use that wold indicate Rita Williams-Garcia's book as the story of 3 sisters shipped off the a Black Panther summer camp. And let's forget that some folks will not recognize the "Debbie Downer" reference/ Let's ask what did Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief (what kind of title is that?) finds depressing about the novel he has NOT read.

But Bonham is not done with his literary criticism: "Another book, Bonham noted, is "Esperanza Rising," about immigration, deportation and the government cracking down on unions."

Wow, I wish I knew where Bonham was getting his summaries. I would love to see what they would say about Hattie Big Sky (a novel about feminists taking over the west?) or Across Five Aprils (there's that pesky war of Northern aggression?) or any other piece of historical fiction. The bottom line here is that books set in other time periods provide readers with a glimpse in into history through the eyes of relatable characters. Rather than the rather dry, disconnected history texts, kids can see what it might have been like to be alive in a different period of time, what kids their own ages had to experience and/or endure.

Of course, I imagine Bonham and his friends would be the same voices raised in opposition to AP History classes (as we have seen in Oklahoma and Texas of late).

Bonham has one parting shot, "Educators are really capitalizing on opportunities to use students to advance political narratives," Bonham asserted. "In California, they are trying to teach consensual sex education courses to K-12. So kindergartners would be subjected to consensual sex-ed classes.""

This sort of fear-mongering and outright lies are sharp weapons yielded by those who would silence any voice that does not conform to what the censor believes is the one, right way to view the world and history. It is dangerous. It results in the censoring of books and other materials. Ultimately, it results in taking opportunities to learn about history away and replacing it instead with the version of history that represents some sort of grand and glorious past where no one was ever harmed, where the slaves were happy, where Native Americans were given land of their own, where everyone always made a living wage. I think this is called revisionist history. I bet Bonham would call it patriotism.
 
 
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