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A Teachers' Statement to a Principal
Letter to Dr. John Sprawls defending The Chocolate War
Three high school teachers, Joy H. James, Judy Ingle, and Betsy Dyckes, wrote to their principal who was intending to remove Cormier’s The Chocolate War (1974) from the curriculum. They argued for the literary merits of the work, specifically character development and youth’s search for meaning. They allude to rich classroom conversations that the study of this novel engendered. Often, it is librarians and teachers who defend worthwhile literary works that come under fire. And, as shows in other letters written in defense of Cormier’s work, the writers value the realistic nature of the fiction, its relateability to students, and its possession of literary merit. This is one of a few pieces contextualized in South Carolina and one of a handful from the Bible Belt.
Want to raise the quality of teaching? Begin with academic freedom. Sir Keith Burnett considers the challenges of introducing a teaching excellence framework.