NYC Teacher to Possibly Lose Job for Ordering Books for Students

A teacher in Brooklyn is currently in a fight for his career and well-being, but the reason for it is astonishing. He teaches AP English. He assigns Shelley’s Frankenstein to his students. Last year he ordered 102 copies of the book directly from a publisher on his own dime and proceeded to sell the books to students for $2.

I think in this situation it is important to note a few things. He’s been teaching for nearly three decades and he’s won awards for his work. Last year he filed unfair labor charges against his employer for what he calls a dumbed down curriculum.

All of this led to his immediate removal from his classes and placed in an administrative assignment.

I’ve read parts of an interview in which he brings up a valid point. The school says he violated some rule about selling books to students, but no one complained about students having to pay $6 for their copies of Hamlet from the school bookstore. He was providing his students with the books they’d need for class at a financial loss. This guy wasn’t trying to make a few bucks at the expense of his students and their parents. He wasn’t doing anything malicious. He was doing what teachers do by spending his own money for his classroom and students.

I have no idea how this will ultimately play out, but I believe he should be reinstated immediately and any disciplinary action as a result of this particular incident should be wiped from his record as a teacher. My guess is he’ll be fired or a settlement will be negotiated and he’ll go away. I’d love to see him fight it as long as he can.

What do you think of this? A teacher buys more than 100 copies of a book for his students and then gets removed from class.

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Taylor Swift Partners With Scholastic to Donate 25,000 Books

Taylor Swift gets praised and criticized for everything. I’m not a fan of her music. I don’t follow her on social media. And I’m not generally interested in any “news” that comes out about the superstar. I have nothing against her, I actually believe her to be one of the great artists in music today. I just like my country.

But when someone as popular as she is does something to support literacy and get kids reading, I take notice. Scholastic will donate the books to New York area public schools. I’m not sure exactly what her role in the donation is, but I imagine she’s been supporting Scholastic’s charitable efforts for some time.

I know it can be easy to criticize celebrities for attaching their name to charitable causes, but who cares? Promoting literacy is promoting literacy. And Taylor Swift might be the biggest star in the world. So good for her.

What do you think?

Buying Books Without Money

Just yesterday multiple commenters said that they’d read or understand why people read in bookstores because not everyone can afford to buy new books. Well today I discovered that there’s actually a way for people to buy books without any money.

1010 Ways to Buy Without Money is a project that started in 2011 in Spain that has now spread to most regions of the world. The basic premise is that stalls at the events will be ‘selling’ books for a variety of prices set by organizers or by the donors of the books. And none of the prices I’ve read about are outrageous or embarrassing.

For example, one might be asked to eat all your food in exchange for a children’s book. Or someone might be asked to leave positive messages inside books. Or to donate your time to a charity. See, the thing is that the system essentially operates on a promise. The buyer can’t do everything right then and there at the stall, but they know the price of the book and are asked to send photos at a later date of them fulfilling their promise. And there are so many different ‘prices’ for books at these events that it makes buying a new book all the more exciting. Organizing a picnic for at least five kids. Taking snacks to work for your colleagues. Putting flowers on your balcony. Spending a day on your own. All of these things have been the price to buy a new book without spending any money at all. And I think everything about this is great.

The only downside I’ve found when reading about these events (that are about to start happening in the coming weeks) is that they haven’t caught on as much in the United States. There are smaller events held, but I’d like to see something in Houston or New York City or LA on a grand scale that is unmatched by any other place in the world. And maybe that will happen at some point, but for now I’ll just stick to reading about these great events from afar.

What do you think? Like the idea of buying books without having to spend any money?

You can visit the initiative’s website here to see more ways people are asked to buy books without money.


 

On this day in 2014 I published The Lack of Diversity in my Reading.