Monona School Board Makes Correct Decision To Retain “To Kill A Mockingbird”

The Monona Grove School Board did the right thing this week–and I want to give it a post all its own as the week winds down.  Too often the worst among us makes the headlines, and the good news gets neglected.

Not today.

The school baord voted this week to retain To Kill a Mockingbird in the district’s curriculum.  This followed a long and needlessly protracted set of meetings after two parents failed to understand why the Harper Lee novel should not be removed from the ninth-grade English classroom teaching.

Board members voted 6-1 to uphold their decisions.  I only differ with the slippery slide that the board allowed for the English department to further examine the novel, the context it is taught, other equivalent readings and other ways the book could be used in class.

There is nothing wrong with just reading the novel and taking it as a piece of literature from a certain period of time and then talking about it.  To attempt to water it down or distort the story and message in any way is simply not a way to educate young minds for the world in which they will need to live.

I was most proud of the words John McCain said recently to The New York Times about Huckleberry Finn.  The same applies to Lee fine book.

Are there books that to you are important that your children read? That all American children read?

I’d like any child to read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” for the reasons I gave for loving it when I first read it as a child. I think I was about 12, and it had an immediate and lasting impact on me. I’d like them to read Twain, too, at least “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” It’s funny and it’s scary, and it teaches us to see past our differences to the inherent dignity we possess in equal measure.


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