By Grace Carr
Minnesota schools dropped “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” from students’ required reading after education leaders decided that the racial slurs were problematic and oppressive to students.
Students attending public schools in Duluth, Minn. won’t be required to read to the two classic novels after a group of district leaders made the change following alleged concerns from students, parents and community members, according to the Star Tribune.
“The feedback that we’ve received is that it makes many students feel uncomfortable,” said Michael Cary, Duluth’s curriculum director. “We’re doing this out of consideration of the impacts on our students and specifically different groups of students in our schools, and especially our communities of color.”
“Our kids don’t need to read the ‘N’ word in school,” said Stephan Witherspoon, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Duluth chapter president. “They deal with that every day out in the community and in their life. Racism still exists in a very big way,” he said, applauding the move and adding that it’s long overdue. He also noted that the literature has “oppressive language for our kids,” the Tribune reports.
Minnesota public schools used to be “the gold standard” of education, but the shift began in 2013 when education leaders began adopting the “All for All” plan which made racial equity their academic mission, according to the Weekly Standard. That equality agenda turned into a “full-scale ideological reeducation campaign,” the Standard reports.
“Relentlessly obsessing about race—pretending it’s the only thing that matters—is counterproductive and harmful to everyone,” Orlando Flores, the father of a Minnesota public school student, told the Standard. “Years ago, we fled Communism to escape indoctrination, absolutist thinking and restrictions on our freedom of speech. If we see these traits in our schools in America, we must speak out and oppose it.”