Critical thinking, thinking for one’s self

My teacher’s heart speaks. On the topic of banning books and censorship, the crux of this issue has a bigger, more important question: How are students learning in school? It’s the ‘how’ that matters most.

I’m an educator of 22 years and my daughter has gone through both private and public schools, educated by highly qualified teachers throughout her learning journey. With my dual experience as a parent and teacher, I can share with those who care about the “how” that all educators I have known practice the foundation of effective teaching; facilitators of information, without bias, empowering students to think critically – and for themselves.

A critical thinker considers perspectives other than one’s own. This can sometimes involve content that is diverse, perhaps at times evocative, and should always be developmentally appropriate.

There are measures in place for parent(s) to opt out for their child from reading a book, and the process for questioning the content of a book is fair, reasonable, and should be followed.

Let’s continue the privilege of thinking for oneself and allowing others to do the same. Our teachers are professionals, well equipped to guide students to analyze, evaluate, and come to their own conclusions.

– Monique Dobbelaere, Bluffton

Why Social Security and Medicare?

Why is it at the time of elections, general or mid-term, politicians talk about the budget; And with that, it always comes down to the amount of spending occurring; the discussion then comes down to cutting Social Security and Medicare to reduce Federal spending? The politicians always threaten the senior citizens and our fixed income.

Just once, I would like to hear one of them threaten the Foreign Aid spending. I mean trim some from that $47 billion budget. How about they threaten their annual congressional salaries. That line item is $84,390,000. They are all extremely wealthy and could stand to lose one year’s income. Wouldn’t that send a great message that they really care.

I as a senior citizen living on Social Security and using Medicare, which are benefits I paid into my entire working career, should not have to worry about what those people in Washington are planning on doing.

– David Gisch

Look up these books; see what is in them’

Your front-page story titled “Bring Back the Books” ought to have included a web address where readers could find a list of the 97 books that have been removed from our school libraries. Readers who were curious about what titles were removed had to search for themselves, as I did.

Let’s be clear, though: Taking books out of our school libraries is a far cry from “banning” books. I doubt anyone is saying these books should not be allowed to be published, but it is quite reasonable to say that our kids should not be exposed to such material in their school libraries.

I would encourage everyone to do the research: Look up these books; see what is in them, and then ask whether they should be available for our kids to check out from school libraries.

Your article almost made it sound as if kids are being denied the opportunity to read, which is an unfair representation of reality. Many of the removed books had content that could be considered pornographic. We should not have sexually explicit content on the bookshelves of our schools. There’s a world of difference between book-banning and exercising wise discernment.

– Steve Walton, Port Royal

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