The full report includes:
- What elements the committee voted on (purpose, authenticity, appropriateness, and content)
- How many members voted “yes” or “no” on those elements. For example, all 12 members said the book accomplished its purpose and exhibited authenticity, but 11 of the 12 voted “yes” on appropriateness. Ten voters said the content of the book was “well presented,” while one voted “no” and one voted “undecided.”
- Links to two reviews on the book that were used — one negative from The Houston Chronicle and one positive from Booklist.
The supporting documents include:
- Committee guidelines
- Learning objectives
- More reviews from various sources
- Emails among committee members
- Community questionnaires from committee members
- District book list — including which texts are required reading or in classroom use, and which books are used for what grade level
For English II Standard, The Art of Racing in the Rain is listed under the third six-weeks’ unit, entitled “Lessons for Understanding Others.”
The “text rationale” reads:
This book is recommended by committee more for a TAG class (sophomore-senior level). It provides a unique writing style, being from a dog’s point of view, of a compelling story realistically told. Free of human agendas, Enzo is able to see the unfolding human story both dispassionately and empathetically. The book combines high interest subjects (car racing) with family issues which have universal applications as well as deeper messages of commitment, friendship, determination, responsibility, etc.
Under “possible objections,” the rationale goes on to state that “committee feels that these occurrences are not out of character with the overall book or topics to which adolescents are exposed in media.”
The supporting documents link also includes the results of an activity in which each committee member was given three dots to vote three times on their preferred action, such as “confirm the present use of the book for whole class required use” and “determine the book is not educationally appropriate.”
There were 32 votes for “confirm the present use of the book for whole class required use;” three votes for “designate the book for required outside reading only;” and one vote for “restrict the use for certain grades.”
As it has been highly publicized, the committee conducted their review following the Policy EFA (LOCAL) procedure.