William Shakespeare. Portrait of William Shakespeare 1564-1616. Chromolithography after Hombres y Mujeres celebres 1877, Barcelona Spain

(Jeffrey S. Solochek’s article appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, 8/8; via the Drudge Report.)

The big story: After Florida adopted its Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking standards in 2020, the Department of Education distributed recommended reading lists it said included “top of the line literary works with world renowned titles.”

Authors on the high school list included William Shakespeare.

Three years later, some Florida school districts are shying away from Shakespeare, along with other classic and popular materials. They say they’re attempting to comply with new state law restricting books with and instruction about sexual content.

Hillsborough County became the latest to take this step, telling teachers they could assign excerpts of plays such as “Romeo and Juliet,” but not the full text.

“I think the rest of the nation — no, the world, is laughing us,” Gaither High teacher Joseph Cool said after learning of the directive. “Taking Shakespeare in its entirety out because the relationship between Romeo and Juliet is somehow exploiting minors is just absurd.” Read more here.

The availability of books has become a regular flash point for Florida’s public schools. Groups of parents have pushed to get some materials removed, while other groups have pushed just as hard to keep as many titles available as possible.

(Read more)

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