- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A California teacher believes the works of William Shakespeare should no longer be a Common Core requirement for high school English classes, because “one white man’s view of life” diminishes other cultural perspectives.

Dana Dusbiber, a veteran teacher at Luther Burbank High School, wrote in a letter to The Washington Post that she refuses to teach the Bard to her students, “because there is a WORLD of really exciting literature out there that better speaks to the needs of my very ethnically-diverse and wonderfully curious modern-day students.”

“I do not believe that I am ‘cheating’ my students because we do not read Shakespeare. I do not believe that a long-dead, British guy is the only writer who can teach my students about the human condition,” she argued. “I do not believe that not viewing ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or any other modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play will make my students less able to go out into the world and understand language or human behavior. Mostly, I do not believe I should do something in the classroom just because it has ‘always been done that way.’ “

“I am sad that so many of my colleagues teach a canon that some white people decided upon so long ago and do it without question,” Ms. Dusbiber added.

The English teacher explained that as a voracious reader, she better appreciates literature written by a wide range of ethnically-diverse writers.

“What I worry about is that as long as we continue to cling to ONE (white) MAN’S view of life as he lived it so long ago, we (perhaps unwittingly) promote the notion that other cultural perspectives are less important,” she wrote.

“Here then, is my argument: If we only teach students of color, as I have been fortunate to do my entire career, then it is far past the time for us to dispense with our Eurocentric presentation of the literary world,” Ms. Dusbiber continued. “Conversely, if we only teach white students, it is our imperative duty to open them up to a world of diversity through literature that they may never encounter anywhere else in their lives.”

“Let’s let Shakespeare rest in peace, and start a new discussion about middle and high school right-of-passage reading and literature study,” she concluded.

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