A teacher at a public high school in Alabama sent his students home with a summer reading list chock full of conservative authors from which to choose, including Ann Coulter, Ronald Reagan, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and libertarian John Stossel. But parents became concerned that it leaned too far right and so now, the kids don’t have to read anything over the summer.
Gene Ponder is Spanish Fort High’s AP government and economics teacher. His suggested texts included Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder by Michael Savage, Who Killed the Constitution? by Thomas Woods and Kevin Gutzman, 48 Liberal Lies About American History (That You Probably Learned in School) by Larry Schweikart, and Race & Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination by Walter Williams. A total of at least 31 books were listed.
School administrators were alerted through social media by concerned parents over the one-sided viewpoint represented by the titles. They wanted to know if the Baldwin County School System “endorsed the reading list and the perceived lack of diversity of ideas, as well as whether it met the reading levels required for a 12th grade AP class,” Gulf Coast News Today reported.
Superintendent Eddie Tyler released a statement of his own, explaining the district doesn't endorse the list:
Mr. Ponder’s reading list that is going around on social media has not been endorsed by the school system. The list has been removed by the teacher. Baldwin County Public Schools has a process to vet and approve reading lists so that a variety of sources are used. I expect all employees to follow our processes, procedures and policies.
Education board President Shannon Cauley explained that the principal decided to scrap the summer reading program altogether:
As the school board rep for the SF area, I saw a concern and addressed it with the Superintendent. As a courtesy, the school principal called to let me know that the list had been removed and assignment cancelled. He'll be sending an email to all Senior students/parents to notify them that there will be no summer reading assignment for this AP government class.
The report also notes that Ponder was a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor in Alabama back in 2010.
Here's the full list: