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California Teacher Criticizes Shakespearean Works

A California high school teacher has created significant backlash after posting an article this month on a Washington Post education blog. The Burbank teacher, Dana Dusbiber, at Luther Burbank High School noted in the post that she does not want to educate her students about Shakespeare’s work because his perspective does not speak well to ethnically diverse students.

A valid point.

However, the teacher’s controversial opinion has sparked a social media frenzy, causing chaos as traditionalists say her view is “academic heresy”.

Dusbiber says “High school teachers are supposed to love Shakespeare and I don’t, so I said I didn’t”. She continued to say that society’s (educational) reliance on Shakespeare is “odd”.

Many agree, but many more disagree. In today’s society, the teacherings of Shakespeare are passee. However, his historical presence and relevance are still valid and important to be shared with the youth of today’s society, if nothing more than to carry history forward.

Dusbiber has replaced Shakespeare’s teachings with works from non-white authors. She acredits this to her ethnically diverse classroom and wanting to provide a rich educational experience for her students, not centered on the traditional teachings of Shakespeare. Rather, she hopes to widen the horizon and expose her students to more diverse lessons.

The controversial educator suggests that Shakespeare’s works contains outdated views of the world and share only the perspective of the traditional white male.

Replacing Shakespeare in Dusbiber’s classroom are works from the likes of Isabel Allende, Sharon Draper, Francisco Jimenez, and Gary Soto.

Dusbiber wrote in the blog that she worries “that as long as we continue to cling to ONE (white) MAN’S view of life as he lived it so long ago, we (perhaps unwittingly) promote the notion that other cultural perspectives are less important”.

The principal reached out to Dusbiber to remind her that her published views are personal and not reflective of the school and its teachings as a whole.

Though Dusbiber is not the first educator to move away from Shakespeare in the classroom, her vocalization has still created a conversation around the topic. Her view attracted negative responses across the country, mostly from conservative thinkers.

Despite the controversy, the principal at Burbank Luther High School clarified that Dusbiber’s “real concern is that students have an opportunity to be exposed to a broad array of texts and assignments”.

The goal of today’s educational boards is to get and help students think about important questions and ideas. Dusbiber’s post has done just that.


About Laura McHugh

Laura has a Master of Arts from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from Brock University, both in Communications. She is an avid writer with experience contributing to golf course blogs. Her writing is thought provoking with a unique and personal voice. Her writing is always easy & fun to read as she delivers nothing but hard hitting facts. Outside of writing, her hobbies include reading, cycling, and playing softball. Contact Laura: [email protected]