After Controversy Over Offensive Books, Minneapolis Dumps Reading Horizons

By Liana Loewus — October 22, 2015 1 min read
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Yesterday, the Minneapolis school district sent out a notice saying it is immediately ending the use of all Reading Horizons instructional materials.

The district has been embroiled in a controversy over its K-2 curriculum since teachers pointed out this summer that the early-reader books were filled with racial, gender, and cultural stereotypes.

The district quickly pulled the books before students ever saw them. After a freelance blogger brought the story to light, the district apologized in a Facebook post for not having “comprehensively vetted” the books and vowed to work with the publisher to fix the curriculum.

Then, on Oct. 13, the school board voted to cancel the Reading Horizons contract, which was worth $1.2 million. The district has been trying to recover some the money it spent, reports the Star Tribune.

But the district also initially said students would continue using Reading Horizons until another foundational skills program was selected—a move that didn’t sit well with some community members.

According to yesterday’s announcement, the district is now doing an about-face, ending the use of all materials right away.

“As of today, Reading Horizons instructional materials will no longer be used in K-2 classrooms in Minneapolis Public Schools,” the statement said. “It’s become clear that any Reading Horizons materials will be an ongoing distraction to learning.”

Minneapolis schools will soon put out a request for proposal for a new early-reading curriculum, the announcement said. “Community members, parents and teachers will be integral in the selection of a new curriculum, and more details on process changes will be released in the coming weeks.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly characterized when the district collected the offensive books.

Related reading: Offensive Early-Literacy Books Anger Minneapolis Teachers, Are Pulled

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.