UPDATED - US School Curriculum: Classics to be Dropped in Favor of “Informational Texts”
While not factually incorrect, the Telegraph article is biased and uses the same words as other articles on the subject, but not in the right order -- and doesn’t tell the whole story. It looks like it was actually based on a Washington Post article HERE.
The Common Core State Standards are NOT suggesting replacing literature with these non-fiction titles. In fact, the exact wording in the Code states:
The percentages on the table reflect the sum of student reading, not just reading in ELA settings. Teachers of senior English classes, for example, are not required to devote 70 percent of reading to informational texts. Rather, 70 percent of student reading across the grade should be informational.
In practice, what seems to be happening is that educators at a local level are misinterpreting the wording of the code. And yes, Recommended Levels of Insulation and the Invasive Plant Inventory are listed as suggested readings - for Science, Mathematics, and Technical Subjects.
When I read this article in the Telegraph, I had a ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ moment: a new curriculum for schools will be put in place by 2014 which will make it compulsory for at least 70 percent of books studied in the classroom to be non-fiction.
Affecting 46 of the 50 states, suggested titles include: Recommended Levels of Insulation by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Invasive Plant Inventory by California’s Invasive Plant Council.
While Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is not listed on the suggested readings, the article’s not entirely correct when it says Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird will be dropped - it’s on the list. That said, it does look like the amount of fiction read will be cut down significantly and some teachers feel it will be detrimental to children’s education.
I'm afraid we are taking out all imaginative reading and creativity in our English classes. In the end, education has to be about more than simply ensuring that kids can get a job. Isn't it supposed to be about making well-rounded citizens?
said Jamie Highfill, a teacher at Woodland Junior High School in Arkansas.
Proponents argue it will benefit pupils by helping them “develop the ability to write concisely and factually.”
I don’t know about you, but I have to say Recommended Levels of Insulation doesn’t sound like a lot of fun…
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