Challenges to Assigned Reading
Untested Right to Read in Public Schools
On sept. 21, a case is scheduled to go to trial in Spokane, Wash., in which the plaintiffs are asking for a permanent injunction against the use in school of The Learning Tree, an autobiographical novel by Gordon Parks describing the experiences of a black man struggling in white society. The case may not go far, but it is worthy of note because it has so much in common with other actions against books that are being brought by students, parents and teachers in school districts around the country. The cases are testing the novel question of whether school boards and teachers have to take the rights of children and teen-age students into account when ...