Encouraging our Youth to Read is of Utmost Importance – The Summer Reading Programs Statewide and Here in Middletown are Most Welcome – Public Must be Vigilant to Prevent Politically Slanted Textbooks from Entering the Curricula – Some Questions About Gender
The July issue of The Chronicle (Middletown’s Community Newspaper) carries an article by Karena Garrity about a Bookmobile that will travel about the city offering used books to students. The project, sponsored by Middletown Public Schools, is called Middletown Reads.
In addition to the Bookmobile there is a contest offering a free Kindle e-Reader to the student, in grades 6-12, who creates the best project relating to a book or books read over the summer.
The winning project will be the one that best illustrates the student’s connection to the material read. Graphic works on paper or even audio or visual material are suggested. Entries are to be submitted on opening day of the 2011-2012 school year. for more information go to this link or email Ms. Buchanan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to The Chronicle the Bookmobile will operate on Wednesdays through August 17 driven by the principals from each of the eight elementary schools in the city. According to Donna Marino, partnership coordinator for Middletown Public Schools; “…studies have shown that if we can keep students reading over the summer months they are less likely to slide back academically.”
Credit: Catherine Avalone - The Middletown Press
Unfortunately the web site at Middletown Reads does not yet include details about the Bookmobile schedule merely stating; “Information about the book mobile on the way!”
Connecticut Governor's Summer Reading Challenge
Middletown Reads is part of the statewide effort Connecticut Reads sponsored by the CT Department of Education and the The Connecticut State Library.
I do have a question about the statement of purpose posted at the Middletown Reads home page where is stated;
“The theme for Connecticut’s summer reading program is One World, Many Stories. Middletown has embraced this idea with the understanding that any book has the capacity to take the reader somewhere new. To this end, the recommended lists contained on these pages promote stories about different countries, cultures, races, genders, socio-economics situations.” (emphasis added)
Huh! Promoting “stories about different…genders”. What does that mean? Last time I checked there were two genders, male and female. If this simply means stories about men and women, or boys and girls, all well and good. Just wondering though…
To illustrate the extremes to which this “gender” business can be taken is a recent report regarding a school in Sweden where teachers have eliminated “gender” from their vocabulary and school activities.
“At the “Egalia” preschool, staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys…The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden’s efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward…Some parents worry things have gone too far. An obsession with obliterating gender roles, they say, could make the children confused and ill-prepared to face the world outside kindergarten…”
Brave new world here folks! A more sober, but still very liberal view, also from Sweden, can be read here.
One final note about politically slanted textbooks. I can only caution vigilance towards textbooks that examine culture, government and public service in the U.S. and other countries but subtly promote foreign political systems while disparaging the U.S.
One such book, ““Social Studies Alive! Our Community and Beyond” became the subject of controversy in the Frederick, Maryland public schools where a parent complained; The entire slant of the book is you’re getting used to the idea of government running your life…Government is setting the rules. We’re all going to live by it, and we’re all a collective society”
Source: Washington Times, June 22, 2011
Also see Middletown Press, June 30