TDSB Throws Out Old Books

The Toronto Star has reported that the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has thrown out numerous books that are deemed to be old, or contact ‘inappropriate’ or do not meet their ‘equity policy’.

Just because a book is old does not mean that the book is no longer relevant, especially if it contains valuable information that students might need.  Unless the book is badly damaged, then the books should retained for reference at least.

Books that are out of date should be replaced, not just thrown out.  However, at the same time, the viewpoint of the author is still relevant and perhaps the Toronto Library system should take some of these books.  The viewpoint of the author  is important here, as the author’s views are guaranteed in the Constitution (freedom of opinion) and might not be expressed in a new book in the same subject.  Not all these books are irrelevant.  Some of these books, especially those written at the time, can contain information that is informative and may not be contained in newer books.

I love the ‘equity policy’ defence.  This does not make any sense to me.  If the book does not pass the policy then it should never have been purchased in the first place.  If it was purchased then it passes the policy.  Also, in some cases where the ‘language’ may be deemed inappropriate then the book is a demonstration not only on how our Constitution (i.e. freedom of the press, freedom of opinion) and how our Society has changed over the years.

One of the books shown in the picture that sparked the issue is about Martin Luther King Jr.  I have to wonder how a book about such a famous civil rights leader would be ‘old’, ‘out of date’ or goes against some sort of ‘equity policy.’

Textbooks are a problem.  Historical and Geography books will change over the years as new events take place.   However, others do not need to be changed as often (for example, a math book from 2000 may still be relevant today as how you multiply or divide does not change.)  But library books, as well as other books used in schools should not simply be thrown out.  They should be retained, at least for reference, or donated to the library system.

The TDSB’s decision to simply through these books out is not only a waste of money, but also shows a lack of interest in the information that those books potentially contain and the authors who wrote them.

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