To illustrate his point, Mamatas googles lesson plans related to Poe and finds a beaut on a wiki. The teacher's less-than-stellar projects gives Mamatas plenty of fodder to demonstrate how teaching Poe can be pathetic, defanged, and b-o-r-i-n-g. No wonder people don't want to read Poe as adults: they've met him, been taught to loathe him, the end.
But that's one data point.
I have two other data points. One is a teacher who, on Hallowe'en, dims the lights to her classroom and reads "The Tell-Tale Heart" to her thrilled sixth graders. I have met some of her students who, years later, still recount the power of the story. The other is of a student who after a unit on poetry that included "The Raven," decided she needed books on poetry -- and very definitely Edgar Allan Poe's poetry.
I have a third data point, but it's a little older. I read "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" in 7th grade. The class discussion was not at all memorable. But that reading launched me into a years-long passion for detective stories.
Which data points truly represent the teaching of Poe in today's classrooms? I don't know. I don't really think Mamatas knows either. But that wouldn't make as good an essay.