Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes:
So the Association of American Publishers washes its hands of any responsibility for the bowdlerization of school texts and tests. This letter is a model of Orwellian duplicity. For shame.]

Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

Don't Blame Publishers for Bowdlerized Texts

In her July 1 editorial-page commentary "Cut on the Bias," Diane Ravitch again unfairly lays the blame for the censorship of language and ideas in education on the backs of American publishers, who are outspoken opponents of censorship. Perhaps Dr. Ravitch has confused the process of textbook development with the forces in a free-market economy.

Publishers are accountable to local and state education authorities for alignment of textbook content to a framework of state standards. Only instructional materials that conform to these standards will be considered. Many states or school districts invite their citizens to review textbooks submitted for adoption and offer the public a forum to comment on the appropriateness of the submitted materials. Dr. Ravitch's participation in such a public forum could add significantly to the dialogue, and we hope she will consider participating.

The publishing industry has been in the forefront of virtually every major First Amendment fight for the past three decades. In the spring of 2002, the Association of American Publishers was one of the very first groups to support Jeanne Heifetz in calling the New York State Board of Regents to account for routinely altering and expurgating literary passages on the state's English Language Arts Regents Exam.

Pat Shroeder, Pres. & CEO, Assoc. of American Publishers

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