DeSantis Protects School Children from Cow Lit

I was struck by the juxtaposition of these two blurbs from the New Yorker website. There’s Ron DeSantis, merrily banning books and destroying academic freedom to save Floridians from being “woke.” And there’s Salman Rushdie, persecuted for years because of something he wrote.

Pen America, a nonprofit founded in 1922 to promote free expression in literature, has a list of books that have been removed from Duval County, Florida, schools. Some of these are baffling. Like Cow on the Town: Practicing the Ow Sound. The publisher says it tells a funny story about a cow in a big city that children can read while “reinforcing basic phonemic sounds.” Oh, yeah, that sounds subversive.

A lot of them seem to be about not-white people. These include Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story; The Gift of Ramadan (well, we know why that one’s out); Grandfather Tang’s Story; Black Frontiers: A History of African American Heroes in the Old West; Climbing Lincoln’s Steps: The African American Journey. Etc. etc. I know the author of The Rough-Face Girl, Rafe Martin. He’s a Zen teacher who tells stories. I understand this is an Algonquin story that’s sorta kinda like Cinderella.

They banned The Berenstain Bears and the Big Question? I understand that in this book Mama and Papa explain the concept of God to Stan and Jan. Maybe it wasn’t Jesus-y enough for some people.

From Jacksonville Today:

Dozens of books the Duval County school district ordered in the summer of 2021 will never hit classroom shelves. That’s the result of an ongoing review after the district pulled almost 200 books this spring while the Florida Legislature passed limits on what teachers can say about race, gender and sexual orientation in classrooms and set new rules for purchasing classroom materials. 

After a 10-month process – delayed by staffing shortages, according to the district – 47 titles are being returned to the distributor. Twenty-six others will remain in storage, awaiting further state guidance. 

Among the rejected titles are a book about Martin Luther King Jr. intended for fourth graders; a biography of Rosa Parks for second grade classrooms; a first grade Berenstain Bears book about God; and multiple titles including LGBTQ+ characters and families. District staffers are sending the rejected books back to the distributor, Perfection Learning, for exchange. 

I still want to know why they nixed Cow on the Town.

The New Yorker story about the book bans begins this way:

In late January, at Greenland Pines Elementary, kids attended a party for an annual event called Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! There was an escape room and food trucks. Brian Covey, an entrepreneur in his late thirties, came to pick up his daughter, who’s in second grade, and his son, who’s in fifth. His kids looked confused. “Did you hear what happened at school today?” his daughter asked. “They took all the books out of the classrooms.” Covey asked which books. “All the books,” she said. Covey’s son had been reading “Measuring Up,” a coming-of-age story about an immigrant to the United States from Taiwan. Students who read from a list of pre-selected books, including this one, were rewarded with an ice-cream party. “They even took that book,” Covey said.

Covey went into the school classrooms to see what his children were talking about and found bookshelves papered over to hide the books. (He also went to another local school and later uploaded a video to Twitter showing that its shelves were bare.) “This has never been an issue before,” Covey told me, noting that he’d grown up in the same public-school system, in Duval County, which includes Jacksonville. “But I read books about the consequences of this kind of thing when I was in school.” He was thinking of “Fahrenheit 451” and “1984,” he said. His kids, he added, seemed confused about what would make a book inappropriate for school. “The only way I could get them to understand was to ask what happens if a book in the library or classroom had the F-word in it a bunch of times,” he told me. “My son said, ‘We’d bring it to the teacher or the librarian.’ ” Covey couldn’t think of any books at their library that he would keep from them. (Communications officials for the public schools in Duval County insisted that some approved books remained available to students, including those on the list that Covey’s son was reading from.)

The article also links to a group in Manatee County, Florida, that’s pushing for more book bans. You really have to see this. Someone should give them a copy of Mrs. Guernsey Explains Apostrophes.

10 thoughts on “DeSantis Protects School Children from Cow Lit

  1. Teachers are under orders to ONLY use approved books under threat of criminal prosecution! This is fascism – pure and simple. A lot of folks toss the word "fascism" around quite casually. The state of Florida has passed laws that make it a CRIME to make ideas available to young people when those ideas are not – quite literally – sanctioned in advance by Florida. 

    SO – DeSantis is (or nearly is) the frontrunner in the GOP primary to be president of the United States. If he's not the frontrunner, the former POTUS who organized an insurrection to overthrow the results of the 2020 election is the frontrunner. 

    This is why, in my previous post from yesterday, I found the Koch Organization's threat to infuse the 2024 election with cash so interesting. The GOP voters are marching to a VERY different drum. We've been through periods of conservative insanity before in this country. Will the Koch Organization become the voice of near-sanity in conservative circles? 

  2. That Cow on the Town book is utterly disgusting.  To the whole language zealots, it is pure heresy.  Imagine trying to use phonics to teach reading!!!  Just because it works better is no excuse.  All must believe in the power of the whole language method.  Even if it was a bad idea.  They gave bigger kickbacks maybe?  

  3. This is yet another example of America's "'Christian' Industrial Complex" hard at work dumbing-down young minds.

    There's a reason 70+ million people voted for presiDUNCE PLUMPTy B. DUMBty in 2020.

    Millions of younger Americans lack critical thinking skills.

    Thanks, "'Christian' Industrial Complex!"

    And also thanks to this group, many people have no idea how their government works.  Why?  "Civics" is no longer taught – and hasn't been for decades.

    So, thank you, "'Christian' Industrial Complex!"

    Thank you for ruining the minds of (Tens of?  Hundreds of?) millions of America's people!!!

    America's "'Christian' Industrial Complex":  Brought to you by the same stupid, ignorant, and bigoted shitheels who brought you Ronald Reagan!


  4. OT: Biden gave a better speech than I expected – different in many ways than I would have written. I'm not sure – I'd like to see a few parts again, but I got the feeling that Joe set up the Republicans to commit to not touching Social Security and Medicare. By the end of the 'exchange' Joe might have deliberately incited, Joe acted like he was surprised and happy that for both sides, the issue is off the table. 

    I think it happened again – Joe got the Republicans to object to a position held by a minority in the GOP and nailed it down as an area of agreement. Did he set them up? Or did Joe just capitalize on the moment? Or did I imagine it?

    I think Joe made it harder for the GOP to defend big Pharma using Insulin as the issue. He also went after the corporate tax structure that allows top Fortune 500 to escape taxes completely. 

    Biden lowered the boom on the 'previous administration" for 25% of the national debt… and not a peep about raising the debt ceiling. Yeah, they howled. Biden in reply: "Look it up!"

    Biden nailed the jobs/wages thing well. He could have pounded harder that inflation is getting under control. 

    Best taunt: For Infrastructure that many of you voted against, "See you at the groundbreaking." Infrastructure was passed and a lot of benefits will show up in red states. You voted against, but you will want to take credit for when it's in your district and I'll be there, too.

    I saw a few instances where kevin was trying to quell the rudeness and tamp it down. The next 18 months are about the '24 election. The voters at the right are in the bank. Voters on the left, likewise. As I read the polls, and the 22 elections, the crazy is turning off the independent voters who will decide the presidential race

    Huckabee Sanders was chosen to lead the rebuttal. This feels like a nod to the Trumpsters, not a great choice. From the portion of Huckabee-Sanders that I heard, it's all opposition – not construction. She hit the buzzwords for the Q-crowd – anti-indoctrination. For the conservative-leaning independent woman listening, there was nothing to assure her of her control over her body. 

    I'm still waiting for the criminal charges to drop. That's gonna change the game.


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