Saturday, June 03, 2006

Response to Challenges in Schools

The National Council of Teachers of English has a response form for teachers to give to parents who are challenging the use of a particular book in the classroom. I think many of its questions are valid ones to ask whenever a book is being restricted.

1. Have you been able to discuss this work with the
teacher or librarian who ordered it or who used it?
2. What do you understand to be the general purpose
for using this work?
a. Provide support for a unit in the curriculum?
b. Provide a learning experience for the reader in
one kind of literature?
c. Other
d. Did the general purpose for the use of the work,
as described by the teacher or librarian, seem a suit-
able one to you? If not, please explain.
4. What do you think is the general purpose of the author
in this book?
5. In what ways do you think a work of this nature is
not suitable for the use the teacher or librarian wishes
to carry out?
6. Have you been able to learn what is the students'
response to this work?
7. What response did the students make?
8. Have you been able to learn from your school library
what book reviewers or other students of literature have
written about this work?
9. Would you like the teacher or librarian to give you a
written summary of what book reviewers and other students
have written about this book or film?
10. Do you have negative reviews of the book?
11. Where were they published?
12. Would you be willing to provide summaries of the
reviews you have collected?
13. What would you like your library/school to do about
this work?
____ Do not assign/lend it to my child.
____ Return it to the staff selection committee/department
for reevaluation.
____ Other--Please explain
14. In its place, what work would you recommend that
would convey as valuable a picture and perspective of
the subject treated?

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