- Earlier this month, Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar said she wanted the Ohio Department of Education to remove mention of the Toni Morrison novel The Bluest Eye from state guidelines for schools teaching to the new Common Core academic standards. The book tells the story of a young black girl living in Lorain, Ohio, and describes scenes in which the girl’s father rapes her. Terhar called the novel “pornographic.”
- Uproar ensued. The ACLU of Ohio said Terhar was wrong. The ACLU also invited Terhar and any other interested state Board of Education members to attend the ACLU’s Banned Book Week event today which, coincidentally, celebrates the work of banned African American authors.
- Now an Ohio Department of Education spokesperson says things will stay the way they were before the uproar. That means The Bluest Eye will stay on the Common Core text list included on the Ohio Department of Education website.
“We really can’t change that,” Ohio Department of Education spokesperson John Charlton told StateImpact Ohio this week.
- Despite what you may have read on the Internet, there is no national “Common Core Reading List.” The document that The Bluest Eye is mentioned in is an appendix to the Common Core standards. The document lists passages from texts that illustrate the suggested difficulty level of the material students at each grade level should be reading. The Bluest Eye appears in a list of sample texts for 11th grade. The passage from the novel in that appendix does not describe rape or incest.
- Although critics of the Common Core have pointed to the inclusion of The Bluest Eye on a Common Core text list as a sign of how bad the Common Core is, Terhar told StateImpact earlier this month she actually thinks the Common Core will be good for Ohio students. She just doesn’t think the state should be suggesting any kind of endorsement of The Bluest Eye as assigned reading in Ohio schools.
- And, for the record, Terhar told StateImpact that she has read the book.
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