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  • National Education Standards Trade Literature for Reading Government Documents

    Photo: Odilon Dimier/Altopress/Newscom

    No more King Arthur stories, kids—you’re going to start reading some information-packed government documents instead!

    Adding to a number of problems with the Obama Administration-backed Common Core education standards, beginning with the fact that the federal government should not be involved in the business of curriculum standards, is the questionable quality of the standards themselves. As the English language arts standards make their way through classrooms, educators are waving red flags about the Common Core’s literature requirements—or lack thereof.

    At issue is the Common Core standards’ shift toward a focus on informational texts rather than literature. “English teachers across the country are trying to figure out which poetry, short stories and novels might have to be sacrificed to make room for nonfiction,” reported The Washington Post earlier this week.

    Sandra Stotsky, a professor at the University of Arkansas, has decried the change: “Tackling rich literature is the best way to prepare students for careers and college.… There is no research base for the claim that informational reading will lead to college preparedness better than complex literary study.”

    Teachers are voicing their grievances as well. Jamie Highfill, an eighth-grade English teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas, told the Post that she has had to drop “some short stories and a favorite unit on the legends of King Arthur to make room for essays by Malcolm Gladwell and a chapter from ‘The Tipping Point.’ With informational text, there isn’t that human connection that you get with literature. And the kids are shutting down. They’re getting bored. I’m seeing more behavior problems in my classroom than I’ve ever seen.”

    The shift to informational texts also “opens the door to a politicized curriculum,” some argue.

    Stanley Kurtz from National Review Online points out that one of Common Core’s suggested texts is Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management. Executive Order 13423 was selected because it “appears to give the imprimatur of the federal government to the political gospel of ‘sustainability’ and the crusade against global warming.” Another recommended text from Common Core, notes Kurtz, is a 2009 New Yorker essay on health care. “The excerpt may not explicitly endorse Obamacare, but it certainly leaves students with the impression that Obamacare is wise policy.”

    He adds: “The potential for political abuse in a curriculum heavy with government documents and news articles should be obvious.”

    The Common Core push has been limited to English language arts and math thus far, but more subjects are on the way. Education Week reported Monday that “release of a framework for common standards in social studies had been anticipated at the annual meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies, in Seattle last month.”

    Centralizing education standards pushes parents, teachers, and local school leaders further from crucial decisions about what children are taught in the classroom. States should reject the encroaching centralization of national education standards.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to National Education Standards Trade Literature for Reading Government Documents

    1. Lee says:

      Socialism! Here goes the Govt again, trying to force itself on The People right to choose. If something is not done about this hijack of People's Right who knows where are going to end up.

    2. John says:

      Another step on the road to idiocy that is America today.

    3. Hey federal government, leave those teachers alone!

    4. This is flippin' ridiculous!!!! I cannot even believe what I've just read. Our children are going to be reading crap instead of the Greats!

    5. Great points. We all must evaluate effective strategies to help young people in being successful instead of being unsuccessful. First, start presenting school materials that are present representation of American history.

    6. rightmostofthetime says:

      It takes a different skill set to read informational material, such as science and math texts, than it does to read fiction, so focusing on that isn't a bad thing. But these standards go WAY too far in that emphasis, especially when recommending biased political messages.

    7. John /Fredenburg says:

      May as well give it up fellow Americans, the Gestapo are taking control, and the "gimmies" are empowering them. We are outnumbered, our feckless representatives are outmaneuvered, and Obama and the Democrats have a mandate.

    8. Bobbie says:

      This is outrageous. The insubordination of this government is harmful to the proper development of the human mind where literature inspires free thinking and common sense both work, compared to government who's only interest is to indoctrinate to control. The federal government has no right crossing the lines they're crossing. It's long overdue they're put in their place once and for all! Without people there'd be no government/ Without federal government control, people would be wiser to know freedom is to control their own. If the federal governemtn can't respect the states to do what proves success, the government feds are highly conspiratorial. Expensing themselves beyond their constitutional limits not to mention dummying down society by abusing their authority. The fed government control proves no benefit but costly and the only benefactor is government and more control.

    9. Heather Crossin says:

      Where I live in Indiana, we are fighting "Obamacore.". In fact, grassroots opposition to it was, in part, one of the reasons our Superintendent, Tony Bennett, lost his election. January 16, our Indiana Senate Education Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to withdraw Indiana from the Common Core. If Indiana dumps it, others will surely follow. Please help us, by visiting our website at http://www.hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com and liking our Facebook page.

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