Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Appleton SD Book Review Update...

On Friday, October 29th I wrote a post about the Appleton School District and a challenge to the novel The Body of Christopher Creed.  The review committee met and voted 13-0 to keep the book in the classrooms according to Kathy Walsh Nufer on PostCrescent.com.  A review committee is specifically created to bring a number of people together in one room to discuss a novel critically and to determine its usefulness as well as all of its positive and negative qualities.  This committee met and made their decision, and this, one would hope, should be enough.  But alas, such is not the case.

A parent has decided that because of the unanimous vote to keep the book in place, the system must be flawed!
Krueger questioned how the review committee could truly represent a cross-section of the community when its vote was unanimous to keep the controversial book as part of the required curriculum.
"I find fault with how the committee is assembled," he said. "The selection process itself reeks of cronyism, where the end result is a group of like-minded individuals and where a book challenge that is not politically correct is destined to fail."
I find fault with this parent's way of thinking.  Just because something is unanimous does not mean that it's a failure of democracy.  A review committee is, in some ways, like a jury.  While it does not have to decide unanimously, each member must provide all of their reasoning for their decisions regarding the book, and in doing so, some members may be persuaded of certain things or swayed in a direction they did not originally intend to go.

What did make me happy in this case, was the Superintendent's decision to actually follow policy and defend the decision, telling Mr. Krueger that "once a book has been challenged and a determination made, it cannot be challenged again for two more years."

There you have it parents, if you don't like the book and you feel it's just too unfair somehow to opt your own kid out of reading it, go ahead and come back in two years to try and take it away from every other child in the district again.  K, thanks, bye.

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