Teachers: Focus on ‘worthwhile’ topics

Editor:

Concerning the “Book Brouhaha” last week: Other people have complained on moral grounds, views which are valid; but since they have already been expressed, I want to touch on a different angle.

In the first place, I think 14 years is a bit young for some of the content; not all the kids are on the same maturity level. Wait a couple more years before introducing all the evils of the world to them.

And I challenge our teachers not to waste time “teaching” what can be learned on the street. They complain of insufficient class time already, so the time available needs to be used in the best possible way. The time spent on less than worthwhile subject matter deprives all the students.

No one is “deprived” of anything by banning unsuitable books that they can read on their own time if they wish. If there is a list of acceptable alternatives, why not use one of them in class?

The goal of education, I had thought, was to teach attitudes, knowledge and skills that will help students apply for better jobs and a better life. Dropout-level “street ed” doesn’t qualify.

Of course the kids love this salacious stuff, but it is not edifying toward the higher goal. Raise their sights, don’t let them grovel in the gutters. We expect our graduates to aspire higher.

The challenge, then, is for the teachers to find uplifting resources to teach the concepts required, without the use of unprintable vocabulary. In other words, I don’t want my school tax money used to teach anything that isn’t an improvement.

Some of the old classics are still good; how about “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

I exhort all you teachers to research and find truly suitable subject matter for your classes.

Joan Scofield

Sweet Home

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