One mom is so worried that her children might be reading books written by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh that she took her fears to a Slate parenting advice column.
Fifth-grade teacher Matthew Dicks, who hails from Connecticut, helped allay the woman's concerns in a lengthy response.
On Thursday, Slate presented the mom's concerns about Limbaugh and his kids' history books series, "Adventures of Rush Revere."
Titled, "I'm alarmed that my child's class is reading a Rush Limbaugh series. Am I overreacting?" the unnamed mother fretted over what kind of message the history books might be sending to young children.
"Care and Feeding," Slate's parenting advice column, features a weekly variety of teachers from around the U.S. to help answer education-related questions.
"I have an 8-year-old in third grade, and I found out yesterday that they are reading the adventures of Rush Revere series in class. I know they are children's books and don't contain the kind of vitriol Limbaugh is known for, but I am still concerned about the subtle messages he may be receiving about Native Americans and black people and their place in American history," the mom complained. "Am I overreacting here? Should I talk to his teacher about my concerns? I'd like to take a thoughtful approach rather than one of outrage."
Dicks responded by pointing out that he, too, would be afraid of his kids reading books by such a "polarizing author," and insisted that the mom wasn't overreacting at all.
The choice in books, Dicks said, "strikes me as a foolish decision that is likely to create problems in the future."
"[K]nowing that the class has already begun reading the books, I would also recognize the futility in convincing the teacher to change course at this time," he advised. "The text could also be a part of the school or district curriculum, which would make a change even more challenging and unlikely."
Instead, Dicks added that the mom should "view this as an opportunity."
"Find out which books your son is reading and get yourself copies of each one," he advised. "Read them, too. Find out for yourself if these books contain any subtle messages about minorities and their place in American history. Begin a conversation with your son about explicit and implicit bias and the importance applying a critical eye to everything we read."
Dicks pointed out that she should also encourage her child to "ask questions about authors and their possible motives when writing."
Final bit of advice?
"If you do find those subtle messages while reading the books, document your findings and only then bring your concerns to the teacher, well-armed and well informed," Dicks cautioned. "It's entirely possible that the teacher does not know anything about Rush Limbaugh and that these books were chosen based upon a recommendation or even based on cost."
"Having the evidence to support your position will be important if you hope to eliminate these books from future classrooms," he concluded.