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What The Wire Can Teach Us About the Huckleberry Finn Controversy

Why do we censor the language and ideas that students are taught in school while ignoring the harsh realities of their lives?


What do you get when you cross education expert, author and NYU professor Diane Ravitch with the HBO series The Wire, and then throw in the Huckleberry Finn controversy? A smart questioning of why it is that we censor the language and ideas that students are taught in school, even as we refuse to deal with the controversial things kids are exposed to in real life.

Ravitch is the author of the 2003 book The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn. In the text, she details the great lengths school districts and publishing companies go to in order to sanitize the books, plays and poems students read. It turns out Huckleberry Finn isn't an isolated case of censorship. In a piece for Education Week's "Bridging Differences" blog, Ravitch writes,

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