Usually, the idea of banned books has to deal with some activist groups’ view of keeping the youth of America pure of mind. While I don’t agree with such censorship, I acknowledge the right of any parent or guardian to have a say in what their own child learns in school. Now, however, administrators are toying with the idea of banning novels from high school curricula as a method of creating equal education.
As this idea is still unofficial and merely being tossed around in the offices of administrators and the superintendent, I will refrain from stating the name of the school district in question. Nevertheless, if one school district is playing with this idea, it stands to reason that several others are doing so as well.
Currently, most states’ standards require that students read novels for comprehension and application purposes. Very few districts, if any, set a required reading list, and generally leave the decision making up to the teachers. Due to state and exit exams currently being administered in the public school sector, teachers have been encouraged to have students read specific genres or titles as they pertain to test preparation. Additionally, in more advanced classes that are preparing students for college level work, teachers attempt to introduce more canonical literature.
So, as reading novels have proven to be an excellent way for students to develop a better understanding of various literary concepts and human nature, why would administrators wish for students to stop reading?
As many school districts today suffer from overcrowding, the act of transferring students within a district can lead to those transfer students falling behind as each teacher’s curriculum is unique. With setting state standards, teachers are politely forced into creating nearly identical lesson plans in order to keep all students on track according to the standards. Even with having to work a curriculum into the rigid format set by the state, some wiggle room is allowed for teachers to introduce some additional topics, such as novels.
Now, administrators are brainstorming ideas to reduce the likelihood of transfer students falling behind. By enforcing uniform lesson plans and eliminating wiggle room, a student should be able to go into any classroom of his or her academic level and be completely in sync with what the teacher is currently training students to do.
While on paper it sounds like administrators are trying to help students, the end result would be rather harmful to students transferring on to higher education. Students in high school need to be introduced to reading novels in order to start comprehending the deeper meanings involved and to prepare for the workload of reading ahead of them. Novels in high school are necessary as both a training and transition tool for students going from high school into higher education. Although some may speculate that only students in the humanities majors need to read novels, they would be greatly mistaken. What people, (and possibly the administrators), are not taking into account is that nearly all four your institutions require general education coursework in a multitude of subjects, and these subjects require reading a large amount of novels.
English teachers within the unnamed district are currently approaching the administration with their concerns on this matter. Not only are they concerned about the level of education being taken away from their students by eliminating novels, but the teachers are also worried about their schools’ relationships with local colleges and universities. College preparatory classes are made to prepare students to enter a college or university, and a curriculum for these classes must be made by teachers who understand what will best prepare their students to go on to college. Some teachers brought this point up to administrators. As a rather suspicious answer, administrators explained that teachers could still call classes college prep without releasing exact details of their curricula. Such blatant falsehoods will simply not work with colleges and universities, and in the end will only hurt the students’ chances of performing well in college level courses.
No decision has currently been made concerning the subject, and most of the public is unaware of what may be in store for their children’s academic future.