Friday, December 10, 2010

"Brave New World" lives on...

I am happy to announce that Brave New World  "will remain on the list of approved materials Seattle high school teachers may use in their language arts curriculum" writes Linda Thomas on  "The Seattle School Board vote last night to continue allowing its schools to use the book was unanimous."

In case you missed the earlier post this decision is in response to a mother who wanted all schools in the Seattle area to remove Brave New World from their curricula because of the treatment of Native Americans within the text.  I wrote in the earlier post about context and the tone of the book, hoping beyond hope that others would note these aspects of the text somewhere in the process of reviewing the title.  It would appear a number of people actually responded directly to these issues:
"I am opposed to banning of any book," says Harium Martin-Morris. "If we go down that road, it is a road that is a dangerous one. Do we now say we won't do Huckleberry Finn because of its portrayal of African Americans. Do we get rid of Native Sun ? The list goes on and on."  He called these kinds of books an "opportunity to talk candidly with our students - our very capable and knowledgeable and quite frankly very savvy high school students - about these topics."
Another board member, Peter Maier, says he re-read the book recently and it is clearly satirical. He supports making the Aldous Huxley novel available as a high school text.
"I don't believe that censorship is the right answer," says Steve Sundquist, board vice president. "If a teacher wants to teach this text, clearly I want it done in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way."
It's nice to know I'm not totally "out there" while I'm writing these blog posts.  I sometimes get caught up in my own personal objections and then rant and rave about this and that while making points that can be considered questionable at best.  But this time, I was not far off the mark.  It's nice to know that a school board is finally standing up for a text based on it's merit and teachability rather than backing down based on an unwillingness to deal with conflict.

Way to go Seattle!

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