An Alaska school board is backpedaling after its decision to remove five American classics from its curriculum backfired spectacularly, drawing national press and local protest.
The Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School Board had previously voted to remove The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. The decision was, to say the least, unpopular: people started reading groups dedicated to those books, showed up in droves to protest school board meetings (including a representative from the state’s ACLU chapter), and the rock group Portugal. The Man offered to mail those books to any of the students or parents who requested them.
The school board voted on Wednesday 6-1 to rescind the decision and reconsider the school curriculum, leaving us with several takeaways, mainly that banning books doesn’t work and that foremost that Portugal. The Man is pretty cool.