Does Nickel and Dimed belong in Easton Area High School classrooms?
The Easton Area School Board will settle that question--one that's been debated for the last two years--at its May 22 meeting.
The book--which deals with author Barbara Ehrenreich's year doing low-wage work--is part of the school's 11th grade AP English course.
A committee of district officials and teachers reviewed the book in 2010 and found that it was appropriate.
That was in response to an objection by Lower Saucon Township resident Eric Adams, who argued the book pushes a socialist political agenda, advocates illegal drug use and contains economic fallacies.
Adams restated those arguments again Tuesday night before the school board academic committee.
He also says the book "belittles" Christians and employers.
It's not the targets, he said, so much as the attitude.
"Next time it could be Jews or Muslims or organized labor," Adams said.
Also arguing against the book was Ronnie DelBacco, an Easton resident who ran for a seat on the school board last year.
He objects to "Nickel and Dimed" for numerous reasons, including its passage on how to fake your way past a drug test.
"We wouldn't hand them a book on how to make a bomb," DelBacco said.
Parent Jill Nathanson--a Rutgers Univeristy librarian--said kids who read the book are smart enough not to take everything in it to heart.
"This is a college level book," she said. "You may not like it, but...almost every college or university in the country carries Nickel and Dimed. We're teaching our students to be information literate."
Board member Robert Moskaitis applauded all the people who have contacted the board about the book, saying it shows what democracy is all about.
"That doesn’t mean that is a priority for this board. It's not among the top 10, or top 100 priorities of this district," Moskaitis said, arguing the district has more pressing issues--such as math and science scores--to worry about.