Thursday, April 1, 2010

Let's keep political propaganda out of our elementary schools

When teachers enter a classroom – especially an elementary school classroom – they leave their political agendas at the door. They're not allowed to use our schools to preach their own views. Neither are they allowed to bring their agenda in through the back door by having the kids read a book that just happens to present their views and no other.

However, in the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this is exactly what the Ontario Library Association has done – twice. If you want to know what it's all about, read my open letter to the Minister of Education, below.

In response, the Minister has chosen the path of least courage and is pretending the issue doesn't exist. So, as she's useless, it's up to us. Please help keep our elementary schools a politics-free zone. Google your school board, (you don't need to have a child in school to do this) and email the Superintendent of Education (or the Director of Education) or a Trustee. Tell them:

– We don't want our schools used to promote anyone's political agenda.
– We don't want our schools to recommend books to our kids that might promote hatred of any people or of any religion
– Ask the Board to investigate whether The Shepherd's Granddaughter is an appropriate book for our teacher-librarians to be promoting and whether it should be removed from the Red Maple program
– Ask that, in the future, the school board vet books recommended by the Ontario Library Association, as they've shown they can't be trusted.
– Urge them to act quickly. For a few weeks now, teacher-librarians across Ontario have been innocently urging our children to read all the books in the Library Association's Red Maple program, including the odious Shepherd's Granddaughter.

Note: In Toronto, school board trustee Sheila Ward has vowed to get the Shepherd’s Granddaughter off the shelves. See here.
And in York Region, access to the book has been restricted. See here.