Close a School Because of a Reading Assignment? That’s What One Nashville School Board Member Wants.

Ravi Gupta, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of RePublic Charter Schools, wrote a blog post about Nashville School Board Member Amy Frogge complaining to MNPS about a book that seventh graders at Nashville Prep are currently reading. Amy Frogge wants to close down Nashville Prep because they are reading City of Thieves, a book she does not want in middle schools. This is what censorship looks like.

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If you want to close a school because they are reading a book you don’t like, you may be closing a lot of schools in Nashville. We hear so much of autonomy in MNPS schools, but some involved in education are still afraid to give up all that power. Nashville Prep agrees with the teaching of City of Thieves. That’s all that matters. If parents disagree with that decision, they can take it up with Nashville Prep and their board.

Seventh graders can handle mature content. When you work with these students everyday, like I do, you know what type of content they can handle. The seventh graders I have worked with in MNPS can handle mature content.

Teachers & schools know their students. That’s what we are trained to do.

Nashville Prep knows how to educate their students. What can the Nashville School Board do to Nashville Prep?

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As a literacy educator, I hate seeing books attacked while students are actually reading. City of Thieves could be the turning point for many of the middle schoolers to stick with reading. While we are spending time discussing the merits of the books, Nashville Prep is making growth while other schools are not.


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Nashville Prep must be doing something right.

Please read the rest of the blog post that was posted by RePublic Charter Schools to hear about the claim that City of Thieves was too high of a lexile for the students at Nashville Prep and how Amy Frogge & Chelle Baldwin were for Nashville Prep before they were against Nashville Prep.


UPDATE: Amy Frogge has responded to Ravi Gupta with a lengthy Facebook post that you can read here.  She lists many allegations against Nashville Prep that she has heard over the years. You can read those at her Facebook page.

Since my post deals with the issue of the book, City of Thieves, here is what she as to say on that topic.

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This book currently resides in high schools in Nashville. This may be the start of at least one book being banned in MNPS.


5 thoughts on “Close a School Because of a Reading Assignment? That’s What One Nashville School Board Member Wants.

  1. Good post. Regardless of the merits of the book in question, I wonder if Frogge would openly criticize, micromanage, and call for the closure of a traditional district school for this same reason. Methinks not. #doublestandard

    Also appreciate the focus on students and their love of reading here. This voice is important in the conversation. Keep it up, Zack.

  2. It is sick that he or anyone would consider that book acceptable for a middle schooler. There are so many other wonderful works of literature to choose from. If my middle school child were given that book to read, I would be furious.

    Amy Frogge is right. I am grateful that she is alerting others to these wrongs, even when the media refuses to cover them. She is doing what her constituents elected her to do. The truth always has a way of finding the light, doesn’t it?

  3. It does not matter if this text is in a high school. The issue at hand is two fold: the book is in no way appropriate for 12 year olds and there are larger accusations of a culture of abuse going on at Nashville Prep that both Ravi Gupta and you are intentionally glossing over.

  4. Zach, instead of jumping on the reformer train of rage you might have been better off taking a step back and getting the full story.

    Neither Amy or I ever said the Lexile level of the book was too high for the students. Nor did the parent from Nashville Prep that made the complaint.

    Lexile does NOT measure age appropriateness.
    As a self proclaimed literacy educator you should be well aware of this. The complaint was based on curse words in the book that the kids were reading ALOUD in class and mature content that was not developmentally appropriate for twelve year old children. Do me a favor and go through the book and read it and pretend that the curse words are marked out, or replaced with something else, and then tell me if you think the content and messaging of that book are appropriate for a child that is twelve.

    If you searched far and wide you could probably find some twelve year olds that could handle the content and messaging of the book but it is in no way appropriate for an entire grade level of kids, in one school, at that young age.

    You and Ravi Gupta and other reformers are attempting to make this about censorship, book banning and burning which it is not. If you fail to grasp the impact that this book could have on the hearts and minds of twelve year old kids then you need to reassess what you are doing.

    This book most certainly has a rightful place on library shelves in our high schools for the older students under the guidance of the librarian and their parents. You are doing children a disservice by attempting to divert the discussion to something it is not. Your willingness to participate in Ravi Gupta’s attempts to deflect responsibility, for some serious missteps as a school leader, is very disappointing as you always claim to care about the students.

    And your attempt to further the false assertion that Amy wants the school shut down over a book is beneath you. Surely you can do some critical thinking and make the connection that there is much more to the story than one book.

    If you want to get real facts about my email to Ravi read what I wrote.

  5. Jeez, man, you don’t even pretend to care about the truth anymore. The point has been made clearly that there are a number of serious accusations pointed at Republic and Gupta and that the book is simply the last in a long line. Not only that, it’s farcical to try and defend this decision. By their own act of censorship, they’ve admitted that this book is inappropriate.
    Both you and Gupta are doing rhetorical gymnastics to try and defend what is blatantly indefensible, all in the effort to direct attention away from the other allegations. It’s obvious that instead of taking these points to heart, yourself and Gupta would rather try and attack and discredit Frogge. C’mon, the thinly veiled comparison of Frogge to Nazi Germany with the image of book burning (not to mention the book takes place in the same period) is absurd and Gupta should be ashamed.
    Now I don’t know about school closures. But an investigation is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, Gupta actions and words show questionable judgement and possible negligence. His board should really consider whether or not he should remain in charge.
    This whole situation is wrong. I’m disappointed in this blog’s attempt to defend it.

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