Essential to erasing the opportunity gap in our schools, is erasing the boundaries between school and home life so that children can see themselves in their curriculum.
The Minneapolis school district bought a series of books for youngest readers that are racist, sexist, and full of historical myths that perpetuate inequality. Thanks to teachers who called the question and community who protested at the School board meeting, the books are not in the classroom.
Everyone seems to agree that the book content is faulty. The problem is what to do it about it, since the district sunk 1.2 million into the curriculum.
I have an easy solution. Among the protesters and within our community are people with ample skills to write children’s books that reflect our community. We have the artists as well, to draw arresting pictures. The district should lease out a nearby retreat center and put up a committee of writers and artists to create stories that take place in our neighborhoods, in the countries and states of immigrants and multi- generational migrants to our city, that in a word, bring the real world in which our public school kids live, into the classroom. If there is anything salvageable in the Reading Horizons template ( that’s where we need the input of K-2 teachers) they can be used to direct the team on how to introduce new words and sounds, etc.
I don’t know how much it would cost but I imagine they could pay the group and cover the publication cost, for half the 1.2 million, and people would be well compensated. They could be published in such a way that if someone hits a wrong note, or things change, the book could be updated, edited, at low cost. New stories could be added, about people and places familiar to the lives of our public school children.
Essential to erasing the opportunity gap in our schools is erasing the boundaries between school and home life so that children can see themselves in their curriculum.