Fair, Balanced, & Well-Rounded Summer Reading List

I am writing this petition as someone who is a complete 100% outsider to the cause. I have never been a student at student at Tome School and have never set foot on the campus. In fact, I only know a few people with any involvement at the school at all. They are adults who have their children at the institution. So there’s no personal dog in this fight for me.

What I am, though, is someone who has a conscience, a background in education, and a desire for a balanced, holistic approach to educating children, one that is not totally void of bias (is that even possible?) but rather grouded in the understanding that there are multiple perspectives to nearly any subject, particularly ones that fall into the category of social sciences. With our country’s future at stake I believe that how we educate our children is paramount. They are our future. And as it stands, more often than not, one perspective and one perspective only is being promoted campuses of both higher and lower education, public and private. Students often discover that there are different perspectives on subjects once they leave school grounds. Sadly, even as adults, many people never realize that there are different ways of looking at a given subject matter. They have, sadly, never developed the critical thinking skills necessary to critique their own thoughts and consider the possibility that their way of thinking is not the only way of thinking – let the person telling me what they are telling me is simply a human being who is prone to bias and confirmation bias.

My fear as an everyday ordinary citizen, who has multiple degrees in education, is that the boys and girls of the Tome School in North East, Maryland are being deprived of a balanced perspective on the current hot topic subject of racial equality and racial injustice. From what I gather the summer reading list which they have been given is a collection of books written from a left-leaning political perspective. The fact that students are being given an opportunity to hear about an important subject matter from a left-leaning, progressive perspective is wonderful. I have no complaints  in regards to students  being taught and challenged  to consider  how they view the world through a lens that would be described as liberal. However, there are many other perspectives on the subject, and a lot of them fall in the moderate to right leaning area on the political spectrum.

If the subject of racial equality and injustice is as important as the Tome School believes it is (few would disagree) then my hope is that the school can reconsider the books it is mandating their students read this summer. My personal hope is that some of these books can be taken off the list and replaced with other books written by other authors on the exact same subject. There are excellent books on this subject written by the likes of Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, Booker T Washington, and Ben Carson to name a few. For no other reason than providing balance and perspective, I believe it would behoove the students of this educational institution to enter the upcoming school year knowing that “not everyone thinks the same way on this topic.” I for one wish I would have realized that just because someone has their name on the front of a book cover doesn’t mean that their opinion is irrefutable gospel. 

So please, for the sake of the children at the school, I urge you to reconsider your summer reading list. I would be happy to help choose additional books and authors from which to choose.

Yours in Education,

Neil Dembeck


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