Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution had this to say recently about the Common Core English/Language Arts standards: “The Common Core standards recommend that teachers spend 50% of reading time on fiction and 50% on informational texts in grades K-8. In high school, the standards propose a division of 30% fiction, 70% informational text. When English teachers and members of the public complained about the downgrading of fiction, the CCSS [Common Core Standards] promoters insisted that they referred to the entire curriculum, not just to English. But fiction is not typically taught in science, math, or social studies classes (and when it is taught in social studies classes, it has a good purpose)… No nation in the world, to my knowledge, directs teachers about the proportion of time to devote to fiction or nonfiction. This is a bizarre recommendation.”
Sure is. Just think of the many great books, classics in their own right, that used to be so much a part of the English class curriculum, but are no longer. Assuredly, To Kill a Mockingbird will still make its way into our public schools, but can the same be said for the tales of such greats as Hardy, Hemingway, Hawthorne, and so on?
This, they say, is the new normal, so the question is: Do you still think the government knows what’s best for us?