My DH is a news junkie and he likes to send me interesting articles related to education. Normally I don't post articles on my blog, but I thought this one was interesting. If you have time, read it and let me know your thoughts! The last line of the article ROCKS !
South Carolina Teacher Suspended For Reading 'Ender's Game' To Middle School Students
In South Carolina a teacher has been placed on administrative leave for reading excerpts of Orson Scott Card’s science fiction classic Ender’s Game to his middle school students.
“The parent that reported him to the school district complained that the book was pornographic,” Tod Kelly writes. “That same parent also asked the local police to file criminal charges against the teacher. As of today, the police have not yet decided whether or not to file charges. The school district, however, appears to agree with the parent, is considering firing the teacher and will be eliminating the book from the school.
“Commonsense Media does say that the book has some violence and should be read by children over 12*,” he continues, “but the children in this class were 14.”
A film adaptation of Ender’s Game is hitting movie theaters in 2013. I imagine it will be no more ‘pornographic’ than the book, which was written decades ago for teenagers and has, to my knowledge, never been described as pornography before now.
Orson Scott Card is a conservative Mormon and an icon in the science fiction and fantasy universe. He writes occasionally at the conservative magazine National Review where he sometimes offers up really good recommendations on fantasy novels.
I’m sure that if he’s heard about this controversy he’s as surprised as the unfortunate teacher.
We’ve heard plenty of cases of fantasy novels being banned. Certainly Harry Potter has met with plenty of resistance from some groups for its inclusion of magic. Anything with magic and witches is subject to a swift censorship in American schools, even though the pillars of fantasy such as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis are all rooted in Christianity.
But Ender’s Game is a science fiction classic that blends video games with futuristic war-for-survival. And it’s written specifically with young readers in mind. It’s a tiny bit violent, but not anything even close to something like The Hunger Games. To be fair, I’m not sure I’d want a teacher reading those books to students, but they’re much, much more violent than anything in Ender’s Game.
Either way, I think one of our most precious freedoms is the freedom of speech, and I think it’s pretty unsettling when our public institutions of learning at whatever level start firing or suspending teachers for this sort of thing, or banning Mark Twain or Ronald Dahl books. It’s Inherit the Wind all over again.
There’s not a lot we can do, of course. Education is local. It always has been and it always will be. That’s a curse and a blessing. Bad decisions are less public and more likely to happen at the local level, but they’re also more contained than decisions made at the federal level.
Anyways, I’d suggest that the officials in this teacher’s school district do a bit more science fiction reading before they make a final decision. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 should do the trick.
Censorship is a slippery slope.
Happy Reading !