Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Common Core Does Not Mandate the End of Literature

Despite what many teachers fear, the Common Core has not mandated the end of teaching literature.  Two years after the fact, as teachers finally get around the reading the content and learning standards that have been adopted by 42 states, many teachers are frantic about an alleged "mandate" that 70% of the reading students do in English class be non-fiction or informational texts.  Alas, it's not true.  And the only thing we can be sure of is that administrators and principals and teachers have not read or do not know how to read the standards.

Certainly, the Common Core recommends that informational texts be introduced as part of the curriculum and that this genre increase in emphasis until 70% of the reading high school students do is "informational texts." However, that recommendation and ratio in no way focuses on, or is limited to, the English classroom.  English class generally counts for one-sixth of a high school student's day.  Thus, more than 70% of a student's time is spent in classes like math and science and social studies and health and fine arts.  And in those classes students should be reading and thinking critically about non-fiction texts.

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