Right now there is a controversy brewing at my daughter's school over whether this book, Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy, which is required reading for all third grade classes pursuant to the Ready-Gen curriculum her school has adopted, is "appropriate." Many parents are up in arms, feeling that it is not.
Who should decide what book my third-grader's class reads?
Here's a radical idea: HER TEACHER.
Not Pearson, the writers of the curriculum, not the other parents, and not me.
A curriculum should guide, not prescribe. A teacher should have flexibility - within parameters - to choose what books her class reads. Otherwise, why not just have an untrained adult in front of the classroom? Better yet, why not just have a robot?
I should advocate for MY child. And I do. But I should not tell the teacher what the entire class should read. I only know one third-grader. Her teacher knows 30 - this year - and dozens, perhaps hundreds over the years. She knows what is appropriate for them in terms of vocabulary, sentence structure, context, content, and literary quality (which should most definitely be a factor).
I'm not telling you my opinion of the "appropriateness" of the book because I feel strongly that it is irrelevant.
LET TEACHERS TEACH!