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North Fort Myers (Fla.) teacher resigns after school removes in-class library





… “The Book Thief” reigns in America



One of the joys of my young life was reading books that my parents provided to me or that I found in libraries. Reading provides a source of joy and education that is special for young — and old.


However, books in America in the 2020s have become tools of oppression. Take the example of Mike Andoscia, a social studies teacher at North Fort Myers High School who compiled a library of approximately 600 books that he kept in his classroom.


They included books about history, sociology, philosophy, and even the fictional classics. However, an effort by far-right politicians who claim to be on the side of parents to censor the reading of students in Florida has been successful.


And the end result for Mr. Andoscia is that he is no longer a teacher.


If any of you have read “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, or have seen the movie by the same name, you will understand how the fascists did the same thing to young people during the Holocaust in Germany during World War II.


Parents should be aware that their children are not reading materials that are inappropriate for their age levels and based on other criteria. Schools have generally done this rather well.

Not today in certain parts of America.


The Florida book thieves


Mr. Andoscia has been a teacher for three decades and was thinking of retirement. However, he wanted to wait until his daughter graduated from high school this spring.

He did not last that long,


Over Mike Andoscia’s eight years as a social studies teacher at North Fort Myers High School, he’d grown his classroom library to more than 600 books.

When he came into school on Jan. 16, they were gone. 


The next day, so was he.


Andoscia resigned after the school boxed up his library, placed the books in “administrative lockup” and told him to take them home, Andoscia said in an interview.

“[Principal Debbie Diggs] asked me why I just didn’t keep the books covered, and I said it’s absurd and it’s fascism and I’m just not going to participate in that,” he said.


Andoscia’s resignation is the latest flare-up over HB 1069 – a state law, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year, that requires school districts to restrict books that are deemed age-inappropriate or describe “sexual conduct."


Proponents of the bill say the law is intended to protect parental rights, not broadly ban books. But in practice, districts across the state have pre-emptively removed thousands of books to avoid potential criminal liability.


Dan Glaun, “It's absurd': North Fort Myers teacher resigns after school removes in-class library,” Fort Myers News-Press, February 14, 2024




This is an effort to allow right-wing parents like those in the oxymoronic “Moms for Liberty” to force their views on the rest of the population. Across America, the group tried — but generally failed — to do so.


Liberty?


The oxymoronic organization that claims to be pushing for liberty is taking away that from students and residents in the state while vilifying librarians and teacher, but enough people are supporting the efforts to place Florida in a unique place among the educationally-inept,


Founded in 2021 amid opposition to COVID-19 restrictions, Moms for Liberty expanded its focus to include issues like diversity classes, LGBTQ+ rights, and for high-profile bans on school library books.


The Florida nonprofit has called for book bans and censorship of identity topics. 


In April, a Florida school banned an adaptation of Anne Frank's Holocaust diary because Moms for Liberty deemed it "sexually explicit."


 Last year, one of the group's chapters said it would offer $500 to anyone who caught teachers using critical race theory.


Rebecca Roman, “Book banning Moms for Libert just got canceled

by US voters,” Business Insider, November 11, 2023


The story in Business Insider actually pointed out how the organization failed in its local efforts across the country last fall as they were rejected in the November elections.


That will not help Mr. Andoscia, who took an early retirement rather than be part of the fascistic takeover of schools in the state.


The classics are part of this effort


As an educator for almost four decades, I admit that I assigned books that are on some of these lists. They included “The Scarlet Letter,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “1984” and “Animal Farm,” “The Great Gatsby,” and “Huck Finn,” among others.


Today, I am working tutoring students in schools from across the country who are reading some of these books. Gatsby and Mockingbird are still being taught in many schools, and I have sessions with students this weekend who are studying some of these books.


Parents need to be aware of what their children are reading in school, as mine were. Actually, my mother was careful in telling me what I could not read when I was a child. Our living room was replete with books that were often classics that my mother had read and taught in her early years as a teacher and student.


The Florida teachers are now being pummeled by these moms and others who believe that they — and not educators — should dictate what the children read,


For years, Andoscia had allowed his high school students to check out books from his library without complaint. The collection consisted of history, social studies, philosophy and fiction, and he would typically lend out 20-30 books per school year, he said. – though that number had fallen in recent years.


But in May of last year, Lee County told teachers they would have to enter all materials in classroom libraries into a digital database so that media specialists could review them. Andoscia spent 12 hours scanning his collection into the system, he said.


“What we were told was that by the time school started in August, all of the books would have been vetted and we would know what books to put on our shelves and what not to put in our shelves,” Andoscia said.


But that didn’t happen. By the time of the school’s annual parent open house, all his books remained in administrative limbo. Administrators told him to cover up the books, so he hung red project paper over the shelves before parents arrived.


“It looked absolutely ridiculous,” Andoscia said. “I put a snarky sign up on my books that said these books have not yet been vetted by the state.”


Dan Glaun, Fort Myers News-Press, February 14, 2024




This is an effort to dumb down American society, to change history. For instance, this has been taking place for years with revisionist historians primarily from the South who insist that the Civil War was not fought over slavery, which goes against history from 1820 to 1860 and into the war years.


Resistance against book banning is growing


The Moms were thoroughly rejected by voters last fall, and that is where this battle must be fought,


Candidates endorsed by "parental rights" campaigners faced setbacks in state and school board elections on Tuesday …


The group endorsed 13 candidates in Iowa, yet the group saw only one victory, signaling a major setback for the organization, The Washington Post reports.


The Tuesday results mirror a broader trend of defeats faced by the group and Republicans nationwide. Nathan Gibson, the sole Moms for Liberty-endorsed candidate in Iowa to win, secured a seat as school director in the Interstate 35 district, a rural area with fewer than 1,000 students.


Founded in 2021 amid opposition to COVID-19 restrictions, Moms for Liberty expanded its focus to include issues like diversity classes, LGBTQ+ rights, and for high-profile bans on school library books.


However, voters across the country rejected the organization's agenda on Tuesday. With over 130 endorsed candidates nationwide, most faced losses, some with single-digit support.


In Minnesota, all four Moms for Liberty-backed candidates and counterparts in Washington state lost. New Jersey saw only four out of 19 endorsed candidates winning. Ohio, endorsing 25 candidates, had just five elected, while in Virginia, only one out of six received voter approval.


Business Insider, Nov. 2023

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