On the other hand, I'm not claiming for even a nanosecond that such an approach will work for every parent, every child, or every parent/child combination. I stumbled into it and it happened to work for my family. Other parents may find it critically important to heavily restrict what their children are exposed to and they absolutely need to have the right to do that.
I think that right also applies to education. Ultimately, I think it should always be up to the parents what schools should and (especially) should not teach.
For example, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is being banned by a growing list of school districts:
Today, Mark Twain's classic - about a boy who flees his abusive father and travels down the Mississippi River with an escaped slave - is still sometimes challenged in American schools, but for nearly the opposite reason: its liberal use of the N-word and perceived racist portrayals of black characters.A colleague of mine who's a teacher is displeased because of the book's alleged importance:
Huckleberry Finn is a significant work for several reasons:• It transformed the American novel as a literary form, using the lingua franca rather than The King's English• It documented, in novel form, rather definitively, as did other, later works, the state of American race relations, class issues, slavery, growing up, and the capacity (and incapacity) of America to accept change.• It is an engaging story.He further thinks that teachers should be "entrusted to choose materials for their classes (perhaps in consultation with department leaders, perhaps not)." Note that parents are nowhere in his equation.
I think that's wrong. While I have a copy of Huck Finn on my bookshelves and I believe that both my daughters have read it, if parents think the book inappropriate for their children (even their high-school age children), then no, teachers shouldn't be able to override that and be able to force it down the students' throats. Especially, if multiple parents think the book should not be part of a class.
Teachers and educators are experts and should certainly provide advice and guidance as to what should be taught. Indeed, what they suggest should be taught by default. But nobody knows an individual child better than his or her parents and they should get to make the final decision on what their child is taught.
Of course, the same applies to other topics as well including things like the Theory of Evolution. If a lot of parents don't want that taught at a given school, it shouldn't be taught. It's not like the other parents can't expose their children to the topics that the school doesn't teach. They can borrow the book from the library or find a free online course.
I think this conclusion sums it up best: "We have all come to the conclusion that the community costs of reading this book [Huck Finn] in 11th grade outweigh the literary benefits." And that's rightfully the decision of the parents comprising the community and should not be completely left to the teachers and educators.