The past is not relevant, or so the school says

Here’s a scary story I just read on a discussion forum:

This past weekend we went to visit the Betsy-Tacy historical sites. During our visit another mother mentioned their public school system had “purged” the libraries of books which were not published within the past 10 years. When parents questioned the decision, the school administrators stated “Out of date books aka the classics are not relevant to our society/world. Therefore the students will not be exposed to them during classroom time or have them assigned reading.” The mother went on to say her 10 yo daughter was assigned to do a book report/presentation for her language arts class. The daughter chose Maude Hart Lovelace’s book, “Betsy-Tacy.” The 10 yo was reprimanded by the teacher for choosing an “out of date book” and received a low grade because she had not chosen “current literature” for her report/presentation. Sad.

It’s rather bizarre to me. And kinda sick and self-centered. Imagine only reading literature written in your short lifetime. Nothing outside your time period on this planet is of value. Does this school not teach history? Maybe they don’t. History isn’t relevant, is it? This school not only will not allow “old” books during class time or assigned reading, but they have purged the library of them so that a child isn’t even able to see one and check it out and read in his free time. Bordering on censorship, don’t you think? Talk about banned books!

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7 Responses to The past is not relevant, or so the school says

  1. mrl says:

    When I moved here 7 years ago the small local library was just starting to do that. Needless to say we don’t go there any more. Not sure about the schools, but I am sure it is the same. The classics are wonderful. We do not read the current garbage such as the Babysitters Club, give me a break. Just another way to “dumb the children down”.

  2. Heather says:

    I am so thankful that we homeschool! We are able to show our children the truths through history, how our country was founded on Christian beliefs and glorifying God! If you don’t know history, you won’t have the knowledge of who to vote for in elections! Thanks for sharing this post!

  3. Kay Pelham says:

    It is good to have a choice on what literature and other resources that we use. I feel very sorry for these children who are having their scope so limited. Even though some of these young (less than 10 years old) books might be history books, they are missing the history of what old texts teach. We don’t hesitate to read history books and other literature that use “archaic” terms because that in itself is a history lesson. It teaches us how people were thinking at a certain time and what was accepted usages. You can tell me in 2011 that President Lincoln said something and the people responded in a certain, but if I can read a text from 1880, I get a way better view of how people were impacted by his actions and what they thought about them. [I realize that 1880 is after Lincoln. Just picked a year that was close to enough to represent a still fresh impact. Didn’t want any of my readers to think I was dumb about Lincoln or anything :)] Don’t tell me about the 1950s. Let me read a book written in the 1950s. And I haven’t addressed the fact that so many older books were way better written. If my son can keep reading such richly written history and literature, perhaps one day he can produce literature in a well thought out and written style.

    Heather, you mentioned the founding of the US on Christian beliefs — can there be any better way of knowing this than reading the works of our founders and other citizens of that time? And there is plenty that even the youngest school-age child can understand from listening to stories written in those times.

  4. This entire year our local library has been pulling books off the shelves saying they were out of date. I was shocked at some of the books I saw them pull.

  5. Megan says:

    My guess would be that these administrators have a big problem with the values that old books teach. I think this continues to prove that public schools are attempting to divorce children from the norms and beliefs of their parents. Why else are they pushing longer school days, younger and younger students, and older and older students, and shorter vacations from school?

  6. Julie says:

    This is very sad, indeed.

    Several months ago, I was at my local library {which I love} and asked where their children’s classics section was. The young male librarian gave me some response stating that books are no longer classifed as “classics”. Basically, it would be discrimination against the newer books is what I understood from him. I just walked away with my mouth hanging open. I rarely find anything worthwhile in the “new books” section. I’m sure there are wonderful up and coming authors out there, but for every decent publication, there are dozens that are just fluff.

  7. cindy says:

    I recently had to tell the head librarian who wrote Robinson Curusoe. When I left teaching last June the 5th largest distict in the country had decided US history was only going to be taught for 1900 to the present… Constitution? Civil war? What?

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