The Dispatch normally hits the mark with its editorials but its editors went wide with their editorial on the Olentangy Libery High School's required summer reading list in the paper's July 6, 2006 editorial, "Offer a choice."
Oh, come one now. There were over 170,000 books published in 2005 alone, nearly a million books published since the year The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time hit the shelves. Choices abound in the US book market. No books were banned, they are still available in district libraries, Delaware County libraries, and at Wal-Mart, Barnes and Nobles, etc.
No one removed any choice from any parent or child in the district. These books can be borrowed, bought, or exchanged in any manner desired. The issue is simply this: Out of the tens of millions of books published over time, which ones are best suited to challenge children in preparation for college and beyond?
Any book that makes it on a required reading list had better be the best of the plentitude available. This means that there has to be a good reason to select a book. None of the books in question are on any college recommended reading list that I have ever seen. In short, they are not college-prep reading material.
The books are popular, but they are not appropriate. In fact county libraries place these books in the adult section, not the teen section. A 14-year-old's description of her own rape is never appropriate for any required reading list. With many classics to choose, not to mention the other millions of books available, the Dispatch should be asking why an Olentangy English department chairwoman believes this book needed to be read; non-college material in a college-prep course nonetheless.
Member, Olentangy Board of Education