Those engaged in fighting Common Core know how it is destroying the love of reading in our youngest learners. Common Core asks a kid to read a book, comprehend every facet of the book from title and author to extrapolating on story narratives and plots. They then have to write about it – without prompting. Remember these kids are ages 5-8 years old. Common Core attempts to take kids who are concrete thinkers to make them abstract thinkers. It’s developmentally improbable, but Common Core tries anyway with age and developmentally inappropriate standards in K-3.
These little kids are being rushed along the path of ‘proficiency’ in reading in order to make them write earlier. Common Core demands everything be written out and explained — even math, with 1+1=2, you have to explain how you know in writing and with diagrams, sticks, dots and more. That’s a mental beat down and that is what supporters call “rigor”. I’ve seen it first hand as a 6-year-old, in front of me, struggled to read a basic book and then panicked at the thought of having to write an opening statement, three supporting statements and a closing statement — alone. Small wonder, that’s a 4th to 5th grade skill.
That mental beat down and training of our K-3 preps them for high school where they will be given subjective ‘informational texts‘, with little to no context, at an increasing incremental degree rather than classic pieces of literature.
Think I’m kidding about subjective? Think again and remember this split is the brain child of “unqualified” David Coleman. In K-5, it’s 50% and by the end of high school it’s 70% informational texts. The problem with the English texts isn’t the kids or teachers, it’s the standards.
Because of their earlier beat down, students won’t question the content given to them; they’ve learned to jump through the hoop to get the grade by now. Students set to work on taking apart the text provided in the manner they have been trained to. Not much thought to it.
Students under the Common Core will have been drilled since Kindergarten to dissect a story instead of enjoy it or understand it. It will be a collection of moving parts, of which few of them will ever question the whole. So when they read things like Tony Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (which glorifies rape and pedophilia, by the way) kids aren’t horrified — they will just see the text and dissect it as taught.
The overall effect of Common Core from Kindergarten through 12th grade is the removal of imagination from the student and with it, emotion and empathy. Imagination is replaced with a dictated set of processes the student uses to compartmentalize what they read. Students will be able to identify aspects of the text, but meaning and investigation are lost. Common Core calls this “digging deeper”. The rest of us call this conformity.
I laughed, wept, twisted with frustration and reveled in hidden meanings of subtext while reading Shakespeare, Faulkner, Bronte and other great authors. I want my kid to know those same highs and lows.
Those not engaged in fighting Common Core, who just read the paragraphs above, are probably now having a mild to moderate panic attack. Good. Those who aren’t should read an example of an “informational text” and ask themselves if they think that’s rigorous. Try “Evolution of the Grocery Bag“. Imagine being an 8th grader reading that. Can you hear that 8th grade reader yelling, “MY KINGDOM FOR A GLASS OF WATER!” because that text is dryer than a the Sahara. Ask yourself, does that top Tom Sawyer?
The assault on literature in Common Core is not to be taken lightly. Do yourself a favor, go out and get the book The Story Killers: A Common Sense Case Against Common Core.
Now, listen to Bill Whittle in the video below because it inspired this entire blog post. It’s only a little over 4 minutes.
Sci-Fi Author Jerry Pournelle recently re-published a sixth grade reader from 1914. In his latest FIREWALL, Bill Whittle explains how full comprehension of a single paragraph from that hundred-year-old elementary school textbook eludes virtually all of today’s college graduates; shows why it is such a sin, and reveals the Progressive Struggle for Stupidity in all of its undeniable venality.