(It was also a great excuse to unearth this gem of a kid's book list found in my library):
An excerpt from Book Riot:
"Yesterday, NBC New York posted an article that puts one unfortunate Long Island high school in the spotlight for handing out a summer reading list full of amusing but ultimately disturbing errors. (You can also see the originalNewsday article here, which shows the enthusiastic but mistake-riddled cover letter from the school.)
Here are some of the mistakes found on the book list (from NBCnewyork.com): “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ is misspelled as ‘The Great Gypsy.’ Author Emily Bronte is listed as ‘Bonte.’ George Orwell is called ‘Ornell,’ and Frederick Douglass is listed as ‘Douglas.’ Maya Angelou’s 1969 autobiography is referred to as ‘I Know Why Caged Birds Sing,’ and Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel, later made into a film, is listed as ‘The Lovely Bone.’”
Now, I realize that it’s easy to laugh (I mean, The Lovely Bone? C’mon, that’s HILARIOUS) and scoff and be outraged by this egregious display of ignorance and carelessness. However, there are other things at play here. First of all, I think it’s unfair of Newsday to single out Hempstead when the problem is not limited to just this school. (This doesn’t excuse the mistakes outright, but it’s wrong to vilify one school for an issue that faces many schools, especially without discussing some of the economic factors that might contribute to the difficulties they face.) I also honestly don’t see the errors as being totally life-ruining for students (and I was once a high school English teacher myself who expected a lot from my own students). Fortunately, many kids take advantage of their local libraries, where trained professionals are able to sort these problems out. Librarians to the rescue!
It is reasonable to hold educators up to higher standards, but the point in the article about the school not having a “stable administration” might be a good one. Are these faulty reading lists indicative of a larger problem within the educational system? With crazier and crazier demands being placed on teachers, who is actually writing these lists and letters in the first place? Is it the teachers themselves, or overworked paraprofessionals who might not have the same access to information nor the time to proofread for mistakes? Does it matter?"
I'd love to hear your thoughts!