“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re going to be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” — The Hate U Give
By: guest blogger Andrea Jamison. The banning of Angie Thomas’s New York Times bestselling book, The Hate U Give, is another stark reminder that the message behind the Black Lives Matter movement has indeed fallen on deaf ears. Although officials from the Katy Independent School District in Texas affirm that the book is not technically banned but is under a “standard” procedural review, it is clear that the district circumvented their policies by removing copies of the book during this “review” process.
These two cases highlight the importance of having policies and procedures in place, and when the policy is not followed, reaching out to intellectual freedom experts for support.
When discussing policy issues, I think we need to truly think about the decisions we make based on conflicting motives. An important one in school libraries is teaching responsibility versus instilling a love of reading. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about barriers to access for students in school libraries.
Intellectual freedom advocates have many reasons to be excited about the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries that will be released at the AASL National Conference November 9-11. School librarians champion access to information and opportunities for all learners, and it’s never been clearer than in this iteration of our professional standards.
Politics in the classroom isn’t new, but it does feel different this year. The violence in Charlottesville coincided with the back to school rush, and our nation’s violent partisan reality looms as a silent force in many teachers’ and students’ minds.
How do educators create a society of readers? It’s not by restricting reading to an accepted range of Lexile levels or only books that have a quiz attached to them. Reading levels can be a useful tool to assist in guiding a child to the right book for them, but when those numbers become the only determining factor of what is acceptable to read, we have a problem.
For a teacher or librarian, summer reading is not just fun and relaxing — it’s research for our future work with young readers. As part of this research, it’s also a good time to take stock of our individual selection strengths and weaknesses, our leanings and our blind spots as we choose books. Summer is a great time to reflect on how we can broaden our reading and selection habits so that we make sure we are serving all our students and patrons.
The Florida legislature is well on its way to approving a bill that could have dramatic consequences for Florida students’ and teachers’ intellectual freedom. Proponents of HB 989 / SB 1210 claim that the bill improves transparency and gives parents a stronger voice in their children’s education. But we have to ask questions about these claims.
A school librarian explained that her administration would be installing security cameras in her school library, and she wondered if she should voice a protest to the decision. An interesting discussion evolved from her initial inquiry.