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Free “Freakonomics” for District 214 Students

Last week, I posted here about how a member of the school board in suburban Chicago’s District 214 wanted to have several books removed from the schools’ reading list. Among them was Freakonomics. The board member, Leslie Pinney, objected to the various books for various reasons, including pornography, vulgarity, and in the case of Freakonomics, the argument that legalized abortion led to a lower crime rate.

Last night, at an apparently raucous meeting, full of students and parents as well as board members, Ms. Pinney was the only board member voting to remove the books from the list.

So Freakonomics will not be tossed out after all. We’re pretty grateful for that. To be fair, there is some vulgarity in the book, and yes, I can see why parents want to have heavy input into what their kids are reading — but also to be fair, the vast majority of teenagers (and their parents) we’ve heard from have talked about how the frank discussion of various topical issues in Freakonomics have actually encouraged lots of good dialogue between kids and their parents, as well as kids and their teachers and kids and other kids.

Now that District 214 students are free to read Freakonomics, we thought it might be nice to send some copies their way. If you attend a District 214 school and want a free signed copy of Freakonomics, please send your name and address to We’ll honor the first 50 requests.