Dear Junior Senator Cruz,
During your recent questioning of Judge Brown Jackson on the occasion of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing , you displayed several books that can be found in libraries and classrooms at the independent school on which Judge Brown Jackson fills a Board seat.
I reply to your actions as a career secondary educator, now retired, and proud mother of a practicing career librarian. At an independent school in your hometown of Houston, my 8th grade English classroom bookshelves offered students optional reading material ranging from Lies My Teacher Told Me to copies of YES! magazine. As part of the curriculum, students participated in dramatic readings of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. They deconstructed the systems of racism suggested in To Kill a Mockingbird. Students read about and analyzed oppressive power systems in Animal Farm and Fahrenheit 451. All these efforts were employed to foster critical thinking, problem solving, and, yes, even empathy, missing and necessary components in so much of public life.
Over the course of my teaching career, along with the resident librarian, I made a point to highlight the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week as a stronghold of educating students about the promise of the First Amendment and original thinking. I am confused about why you would demonize books available to students and families in an independent school as a threat to democracy and a blight on an educational institution.
As a parent with children enrolled in an independent school, you might be interested in this: the National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) stand on how to “Cultivate Diverse and Inclusive Communities. I’m curious about what steps you would recommend to further the NAIS goals on behalf of your children?