After spending many years as a substitute teacher, I'm struck by education's insistence on mandating specific texts ("'Mockingbird' sub irks faculty," Jan. 31). If an editor mandated specific sources for a news story it would illustrate the frustration the hierarchy instills in its followers.
Texts are rich and varied, as are news sources.
We approach teaching texts with critical analysis regardless of the quality or level of the text. Charlie Brown deserves as much as Toni Morrison, but we would use a different set of criticism aspects to discuss each. Each school of thought has its set of accommodations and considerations.
Each student has a valid opinion and unique point of view. Just like the news.
Curriculum should mandate the literature theory and criticism model but not the specific texts. There are too many texts and too many students. Let the child's high-interest texts to suit their own interests and attitudes, and let the teacher teach how to approach that text in context and with critical analysis. Toni Morrison or Charles Schulz.
No more dead white guys determining what passes for wig powder. All art is a text. All texts are viable for criticism. As all journalists have biases and all editors explore and exploit bias, same as literature. Same as technical writing.
Let's let the children read what interests them and follow their needs.