My Response to ‘Laurie Halse Anderson’s ‘Speak’ almost too much for Temecula’

The LA Times Jacket Copy blog has posted the following story:

Laurie Halse Anderson’s 1999 young adult novel, “Speak,” which was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award and the National Book Award, was selected as School Library Journal’s Best Book of the Year and received numerous other honors, was the focus of controversy in Temecula this week. The school board’s trustees were deciding whether or not to add “Speak” to the list of books that may be taught in high school English classes, and were concerned that it deals with the topic of rape and its aftermath. more at http://bit.ly/2bjyqT

Which leads me to wonder: Why is it that students can be opted out of readings so easily? At what point did we decide that teens were too fragile to face difficult subjects in the English classroom but strong enough to learn about them in math, science, history, etc.? Is it because we fear genuine stories more than we fear textbooks? Or is it because we understand intuitively how powerful the written word is and know that the most important thing that a teacher can do is connect a student with story? If so, why aren’t teens reading more books and taking fewer tests?

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