Sunday, December 20, 2015

So now Common Core schools are junking classic literature? What's next?

As someone who tutors a middle school student on a daily basis, I can tell you that I am not a fan of Common Core, that perhaps well intentioned, but often misguided, attempt to rewrite (and standardize) educational standards and teaching techniques across the country.   Without even getting into the ludicrous way that simple math solutions are taught under Common Core, there are way too many unintended consequences associated with the program to allow to be comfortable with the movement.

Here's one of those unintended consequences that make me particularly sad (as presented in today's Hartford Courant):
Many schools are eliminating the classics of literature, the backbone of any self-respecting English language arts class, in favor of "choice" books such as pulp fiction that offers comparatively little challenge.
Anyone with affection for reading and the study of literature has to wonder how this could happen, why school officials would allow it to happen and why there isn't more outrage.
In part, the cause of this terrifying trend is the Common Core State Standards emphasis on short articles and excerpts of nonfiction, particularly historical and scientific documents, which are easily assessed on a standardized test. The Common Core website indicates that "fulfilling the standards requires a 50-50 balance between informational and literary reading."
This translates to fewer works of great literature, more nonfiction.
The article is not all doom and despair, so take a look at it's suggested solutions to the problem...and it is a problem.

I know that I am fast approaching the dinosaur stage of my life, but it is getting more and more difficult for me to watch silently as so much that I hold dear gets carelessly tossed into history's trash bin. I wonder if common sense will ever be applied to Common Core.

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