I've got a story for you to read. Go read it and get back to me -- see if you're as ticked as I am.
Okay, onto the diatribe. ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card is one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read. I give it to my children to read. Children. I want everyone to understand that.
I also recommend the book to all my friends that have not read it. Doesn't matter what they like to read, I recommend this book. There's something about the storytelling, something about the character of Ender Wiggins that appeals to everyone who reads this story, boy or girl, man or woman. It has to do with childhood and the loss of innocence.
For anyone to claim that the book is pornographic is simply ridiculous. Some irate parent must have read a sentence on the back cover that didn't agree with him or her. Instead of looking the book up on the Internet or talking to a local librarian, this person chose to make this underpaid, underappreciated teacher who is treated more like a glorified babysitter and guilt-dump for any failings their child or children may have scholastically a target in the news. News, by the way, that has spread internationally at this point.
If this parent had bothered to look the book up on Wikipedia or talk to that local librarian, he or she would have discovered that ENDER'S GAME is a multi award winning novel, and one that is regularly selected by proponents for teen and children's literature. In fact, the book is listed on the Accelerated Reader program that most public schools adhere to while teaching reading to children.
This is one of those books that's good for you. Maybe if the parent were better read, this would not have happened. But teachers don't get the opportunity very often to instruct parents. They have to start education with the people they see every day: the children.
My suggestion to this parent is:
1) become better educated yourself. Take time to look things up on the Internet, or go talk to an informed person. Since the education process is a public process, I promise there are lots of people available to have an informative discussion with. Most of those people would love to see parents. That's where our education system is breaking down -- at the parental level. Not the education system.
2) get to know your kids' teachers. I coached little league ball for 15 years. I promise you that I knew every parent because they wanted to get to know me and tell me how a good little Johnny was at what ever position they believed little Johnny should play at. Parents should take the same kind of interest in their child's education.
3) don't freak out immediately. If a parent freaks out about something involving a child, that child usually thinks he or she is partially to blame. Take time to think things through. Otherwise, you're going to train your child NOT to come to you when there is a problem.
I think I'm going to contact that school and ask if I can donate books or money to that teacher's personal classroom library. My wife is fourth grade teacher. We buy several of the books that go in her classroom for the kids to read. Teachers need that additional support from people that can provide books for their students because, God knows, we don't pay them enough or get them all the tools they need for the jobs that they are responsible for.
And personally, I see a child's education every bit as important as a child's health. Parents pay doctors a lot of money and usually never question what a doctor prescribes for their child's medication. Good teachers should be encouraged and allowed to think for themselves so they can equip your child to take on the future and not be caught unprepared.
This instructor should be applauded, should be awarded, should be shown off by school systems so they can take pride in the differences he makes. Not castigated like this. The biggest problem I have with this whole situation is that, sure, the charges can be dropped, but the damage that has been done by one selfish, unthinking, uninformed person cannot be undone.
I hope this teacher has the strenghth to come back from adversity. I'm betting he does. That's one of the most important lessons that a young reader gets from ENDER'S GAME.