Spanish Fort High AP reading list pulled after concerns from residents


Concerns from local residents have led to a summer reading list for a Spanish Fort High School AP Government/Economics being pulled.

Spanish Fort High teacher Gene Ponder’s summer reading list for his class included a number of texts from a majority of conservative and right-leaning authors including Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Ron Paul, Thomas Sowell, Chuck Colson and Ronald Reagan.

Some of the titles of the books included “Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama’s Attacks on Our Borders, Economy and Security,” “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” “48 Liberal Lies About American History,” “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America,” “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder,” and “The Land of Fair Play: American Civics from a Christian Perspective,” to name a few.

Ponder had previously been a Republican candidate for Alabama’s lieutenant governorship back in 2010.

Posts shared on social media on June 21 questioned if the Baldwin County School System had endorsed the reading list and the perceived lack of diversity of ideas, as well as whether it met the reading levels required for a 12th grade AP class.

Baldwin County Board of Education President Shannon Cauley said she became aware of the issue through social media and brought it to the attention of school system leaders.

“As the school board rep for the SF area, I saw a concern and addressed it with the Superintendent,” Cauley wrote in a Facebook post. “As a courtesy, the school principal called to let me know that the list had been removed and assignment cancelled. He'll be sending an email to all Senior students/parents to notify them that there will be no summer reading assignment for this AP government class.”

In a statement released to the media, Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler said the list was removed by the teacher and will not be used.

“Mr. Ponder’s reading list that is going around on social media has not been endorsed by the school system,” Tyler wrote. “The list has been removed by the teacher. Baldwin County Public Schools has a process to vet and approve reading lists so that a variety of sources are used. I expect all employees to follow our processes, procedures and policies.”