7th Grade Common Core ‘Close Reading’ Covers Rape, Restorative Justice

toystory no fictionCommon Core’s ‘close reading’ has come under fire by opponents in various states and by members of the Common Core validation committee as having subjective, inappropriate content and lacking historical or contextual foundations needed to interpret excerpts given to students.

Such is the case with this Wake County 7th grade Common Core ‘close reading’ assignment on ‘Restorative Justice‘.

The overall gist of restorative justice is more on the feelings and impact of the crime on the offender than that of the victim.  It also has a focus on ‘repairing harm‘ caused by criminals and their behavior.

This concept of restorative justice has become popular amongst educrats seeking to lower criminal incidents in schools, yet it does little to address immediate safety concerns.

Shorter: Let’s all hug it out and hope they don’t do it again.

Back to the assignment at hand 
This assignment was sent to me by a set of parents upset they were having to explain rape to their child (prison rape at that) as a consequence of a school assignment. Remember, 7th graders are about 12 or 13 years old.

The assignment draws from three sources:

  1. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  2. Touching The Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson
  3. What kind of jail would prisoners like? originally by The Los Angeles Times but the copy used is a rip off of the original by a website called Newsela.

None of these items appear as examples in Appendix B of the Common Core Standards. It would be nice to know how and why this particular teacher put these particular items together and why they chose the restorative justice narrative.

The Outsiders is arguably too much for a 7th grader, but I’ve found it being used in NY to satisfy Common Core ELA standards for 7-9th grade. If parents want to check the NY link out, be prepared for auto-download.

I also found The Outsiders Common Core aligned at Teacher Pays Teacher.  The same was true of Touching The Spirit Bear.

 Related Reading:  Will Close Reading Produce Better Readers?

 

Update: Thank you Carolina Plott Hound for linking!

UPDATE II: A parent pointed out that ‘Newsela’ has this little nugget on its website:

“Newsela has been selected for the inaugural cohort of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by TechStars. We are also the recipient of an award from the Literacy Courseware Challenge competition, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Also, Dr. Atkinson has weighed in and told me I am incorrect because teachers choose the  materials.

With all due respect ma’am, this was given to students as a COMMON CORE CLOSE READING assignment. The set of excerpts was chosen to fulfill a Common Core requirement.

Yet you’re saying it’s not Common Core because the teacher chose it? I thought teachers were supposed to have freedom to fulfill Common Core requirements as they see fit?

You can’t have it both ways, Dr. Atkinson.

If it’s just a set of standards, then you have a curriculum problem… FOUR years after roll-out. Clearly the answer is to dictate what all teachers use in all instances, right?

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor at American Lens. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com. Her past writing can also be found at IJ review, Breitbart, FOX news, Da Tech Guy Blog, Heartland Institute, Civitas Institute and StopCommonCoreNC.org. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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22 Responses to 7th Grade Common Core ‘Close Reading’ Covers Rape, Restorative Justice

  1. I don’t have a worksheet to share, however, I DO have a suggested reading from Appendix B Called “The House of the Spirits” That is filled with disgust, and would also fill that CCSS standard you are referring to…………….

  2. Zach says:

    Aside from the labeling of “common core close reading”, what makes it common core? Those two texts were used in conjunction well before CC was even a thing. Are you suggesting the assignment would never have been if not for CC, or the texts would not have been used in a 7th grade classroom before CC?

    • You are unfamiliar with Close Reading? This assignment was used to fulfill a part of the Common Core using those texts as ‘Close Reading’ materials. Whether they were used prior or not is irrelevant. They are being used now, to fulfill common core. Either way, it is problematic.

    • daveeckstrom says:

      “Are you suggesting the assignment would never have been if not for CC, or the texts would not have been used in a 7th grade classroom before CC?”

      That’s exactly what she’s suggesting. She knows better, because she is familiar with the CCSS, but doesn’t care, because it is good propaganda.

      • Re-read that question, champ.
        Go out and find me this exact assignment pre-common core. We’ll wait.

      • daveeckstrom says:

        If you titled this “7th Grade ‘Close Reading’ Assignment Covers Rape, Restorative Justice” I’d have no problem with it. I share your outrage at the use of those inappropriate text materials at that grade level. If my sixth grade daughter comes home with that assignment next year, I will be the complaining parent, I guarantee it. But my complaint will not be that the teacher is demanding close reading, it will be what she is demanding close reading of, as this complaint should be.

        When you throw the words “Common Core” into the title, we both know what you’re doing. I am not a strong proponent of the Common Core. Frankly, I don’t really care which set of standards the math and ELA students in my school have to meet. If the CCSS goes away tomorrow, it will barely affect my life at all. I do get bothered when people use deception to make a point. But you apparently don’t have a problem with it, and it’s your blog, so carry on.

        By the way, just to follow up in case anyone but you or me are reading these comments. The fact that I used to be an AP teacher is in no way a direct connection to the College Board. I have never received a cent from the CB at any time and for any reason. My salary came from the same source before I taught AP, while I taught AP and since I’ve stopped teaching AP, namely my school district, which gave me that teaching assignment. Furthermore, this is totally irrelevant, as the CCSS and the CB are not the same thing at all. The CB is modifying its SAT exam to align with the CCSS, but that’s a business decision that’s most likely triggered by the ACT, their major competitor doing the same.

      • We’ve come full circle here.
        Common Core is a set of standards is what we are all told by proponents.
        Teachers have the freedom to fulfill those standards as they see fit, because there is no ‘curriculum’ yet. YET. I might add we’re 4 years into implementation and that YET will change. Bet on it.
        This assignment was used to fulfill a common core close reading assignment.
        No matter which way you look at it, this was done under Common Core.

      • daveeckstrom says:

        “This was done under Common Core”

        If you’re trying to be convincing, you’ll have to come up with an alternative to repeating the same meaningless claim.

        Since the common core was adopted, several teachers have had sex with students. Why not claim that these were Common Core statutory rapes? It would only be slightly less truthful and have even better shock value. Just a suggestion, since the end seems to justify any means here at LadyLiberty.

        And if I had the time and cared enough about the CCSS, I could probably do a little research and post hundreds of really top notch close reading assignments that teachers have made “under Common Core”. But that wouldn’t make any difference to you, because you’re only interested in anything negative that can be connected to the common core in any way, even if it’s obtuse and disingenuous.

      • FACT:
        This set of texts was used to fulfill a common core close reading assignment.

        You don’t like that this crap assignment was pointed out and IS being used to fulfill common core close reading requirements. That’s your problem; deal with your hair splitting on your own time. Stop wasting mine.

        BTW, It’s not the first time I’ve seen this assignment.
        A copy was sent to me that was nearly identical from another county earlier this year. I held on publishing the previous one because the parents did not want me to and I thought maybe it was an aberration.
        As it turns out, it wasn’t. BOTH were being used as Common Core Close Reading Assignments.
        .

        I don’t do this often, because people tend to prove what jerks they are with their own words, but your continued insults and hyperbole won’t be published anymore on this blog.

        Have a nice day! Stop Common Core!

      • daveeckstrom says:

        I’ll take your blocking me as an indication that finally, you are beginning to see that you have no valid response and don’t know what else to do.

        Continuing to say “It’s a fact that this was given as a common core close reading assignment” doesn’t begin to address my concern. I have never disagreed that some teacher, somewhere gave this as an assignment they labeled as common core. That’s never been the point, but repeating “this was given as a common core close reading assignment” is all you’ve got. You have never shown how the outrageous part of this assignment (the actual reading material) has anything to do with the Common Core. The closest you’ve ever come to making any reference to the CCSS was in the original blog entry, where you actually point out that these materials are NOT in the exemplar texts. Your rhetoric is unconvincing in the extreme.

        You keep spreading your misinformation. As I said before, it’s your blog, you can do whatever you want.

      • “I’ll take your blocking me as an indication that finally, you are beginning to see that you have no valid response and don’t know what else to do.”

        No, it’s called being tired of talking to a box of rocks.
        I’ve given multiple replies, all of which state the same thing and of which you aren’t able to or willing to comprehend:

        THIS ASSIGNMENT WAS A COMMON CORE CLOSE READING ASSIGNMENT.

        The materials were used to fulfill A COMMON CORE CLOSE READING exercise.
        Whether you like it or not, this is COMMON CORE being implemented.

        The point of the standards are to drive all the related materials. Right now, teachers can still pick and here we have this assignment as an example. Do you really think the powers that be who imposed a national set of standards on a nation with no vetting, no public input and no concrete evidence their stuff even works are going to allow teachers to continue to do it their way?

        Bottom line:
        You wish desperately this was misinformation, when in fact, this is the REALITY.

      • daveeckstrom says:

        Perhaps I should have entered this whole debate with this question that I’ll leave you with. How would ending Common Core prevent these texts from being used in a 7th grade classroom?

      • The text excepts put together in this manner were done so in the Common Core Close Reading manner.
        The assignment, as given, would not have existed. #derp

  3. daveeckstrom says:

    Why would you title this piece “7th Grade Common Core ‘Close Reading’ Covers Rape, Restorative Justice” when it’s about a lesson that, you even admit, is totally unconnected to the Common Core Standards?

    This is just an ELA example of the popular “My kid brought this stupid math worksheet home, so I hate Common Core” brand of bogus criticism the CCSS has been under for the last year or two. And this one is just as bogus.

    There are actual legitimate difficulties with the CCSS, as there would be with any major educational initiative. Why can’t you people focus on those? It’s very difficult at this point to take the anti-CC movement seriously, as its loudest voices currently deal mostly in uninformed opinions, deceptive distractions and just outright lies.

    • Where did I admit it wasn’t a Close Reading assignment? Do you close reading friend, because I did no such thing.
      This is a legitimate CC close reading assignment given out in Wake County, NC. It’s hardly “bogus”.

      “There are actual legitimate difficulties with the CCSS, as there would be with any major educational initiative. Why can’t you people focus on those?”

      This assignment is a legitimate concern. I’ve focused on all the problems with Common Core. Perhaps you should read up on the over 400 articles I’ve done between here and Stop Common Core NC?

      “It’s very difficult at this point to take the anti-CC movement seriously, as its loudest voices currently deal mostly in uninformed opinions, deceptive distractions and just outright lies.”
      Translated: Shut up, stop exposing the problems.
      It’s hard to take CC opponents seriously when you use uninformed opinions, deceptive distractions and just outright lies.

      • daveeckstrom says:

        You and I both know that this assignment could just as well have been assigned before the common core was established, because focusing on rape and restorative justice is NOT a common core standard. It is disingenuous for you to title this piece in a way that suggests it is and adds to the misinformation that is being spread about the CCSS. In the end this approach will weaken your cause.

      • You and I both know this was a Common Core Close Reading assignment and it shows just how off the rails Common Core can be.

        The parent who turned it over to me told me that this was given to their child as a Common Core Close Reading Assignment.
        Are you calling the parent a liar?

        Keep attacking parents, in the end, this approach will kill your cause.

        PS – By the way, you might want to pay more attention to Wisconsin than NC. Also, did you receive money from the College Board?

      • daveeckstrom says:

        Please cite ANYTHING from the CCSS that mandated or even suggested the use of these works or this subject in a close reading assignment. You can’t.

        I’m not calling the parent a liar, nor am I “attacking” the parent. This is directed at you. If you are as familiar with the CCSS as you should be to oppose it so strongly, you should know better than to link this to the common core. This assignment could have been (probably was) in use before CC came along. This is something for the individual parent to take up with the individual teacher. Or at least the individual district.

        I see you have done a bit of research and figured out I am from WI. What’s your point? The internet is universal. Post on it and everyone everywhere can see. Some of us will respond.

        I have never received money from the College Board.

      • “Please cite ANYTHING from the CCSS that mandated or even suggested the use of these works or this subject in a close reading assignment. You can’t.”

        I said it wasn’t in Appendix B, however, it was given out as a Common Core Close Reading assignment. Your outrage that I posted this lesson suggests you think that teachers should follow a dictated set of curriculum to support Common Core? Thanks for walking right into that one for me.

        “I’m not calling the parent a liar, nor am I “attacking” the parent. This is directed at you. If you are as familiar with the CCSS as you should be to oppose it so strongly, you should know better than to link this to the common core.”

        Yes, you are calling them a liar.
        You are directing at me, because I posted it. That doesn’t make it any less a Common Core Close Reading Assignment.
        I am familiar with CCSS. I’ve been doing this almost 3 years. I do know better and I know this assignment is being used to specifically fulfill a Common Core Close Reading assignment. Whether or not it was used in the past is irrelevant. It’s being used NOW for THIS.

        Yes, I figured out who you are and that you use the same rant over and over. How’s that working out for you?

        Thanks for responding about the College Board. Explain your affiliation with them for those following these comments.

      • daveeckstrom says:

        “I said it wasn’t in Appendix B” I think we’ve been over this several times. It is not a part of the Common Core. That’s my whole point.

        “Your outrage that I posted this lesson suggests you think that teachers should follow a dictated set of curriculum to support Common Core” No. You’re not listening. Pretty much the exact opposite, is what I’m saying. Teachers can use a wide variety of curricular materials and teaching methods to meet the standards. This is just one, and it is not even from the exemplar works, so (let me type this slowly, in the hopes that you will understand this time) t-h-i-s a-s-s-i-g-n-m-e-n-t i-s n-o-t d-i-c-t-a-t-e-d b-y t-h-e C-o-m-m-o-n C-o-r-e. You know this, yet you imply in the title to your piece that teaching rape and restorative justice is somehow connected to the Common Core, which is false.

        “Whether or not it was used in the past is irrelevant.” It’s not irrelevant to an honest discussion of the merits of the CCSS, because it is not dictated or even referenced by anything in the Standards documentation itself. However, if your purpose (as it seems to be here) is to rile up the faithful by any means possible, even if that includes deception, then I’d agree that the veracity of what you write is irrelevant. But in that case, the falsehood of an outright lie would also be irrelevant, so why not go for broke and say that there is a Common Core standard that requires students to kill their parents or something? It would have more shock value and the people who are following you without actually reading the standards for themselves would believe it.

        “Yes, I figured out who you are” Really? Who am I.

        “you use the same rant over and over” By “rant” I assume you mean asking people who post ridiculous things about the CCSS to back up what they say with relevant factual evidence from the CC documents themselves. How’s it working out? Hard to say. Rarely does anyone respond when I ask. Either they’re looking at the standards and realizing they aren’t what they’ve been told by people like you, or their continuing to ignore the facts and let people like you tell them what to believe.

        “Thanks for responding about the College Board. Explain your affiliation with them for those following these comments.” I wasn’t sure what this was supposed to mean, but maybe this is it? For anybody who cares, here’s the full disclosure on my affiliation with the College Board. I used to teach a class called Advanced Placement Chemistry, which loosely followed a curriculum recommended by the College Board. My students in that class had the option of taking a nationally normed test that is developed by the College Board. That’s it.

      • You doth protest too much. Seriously.

        “you use the same rant over and over” By “rant” I assume you mean asking people who post ridiculous things about the CCSS to back up what they say with relevant factual evidence from the CC documents themselves. How’s it working out? Hard to say. Rarely does anyone respond when I ask. Either they’re looking at the standards and realizing they aren’t what they’ve been told by people like you, or their continuing to ignore the facts and let people like you tell them what to believe.

        So then it’s not working out for ya then is it? Perhaps calling people stupid or a liar in one form or another is not a winning strategy.
        I provided an actual Common Core Close Reading assignment given by a teacher that was described as such to the class and parents. That’s pretty factual.
        Perhaps you are indeed getting answers back from opponents of Common Core, the problem is you don’t want to hear it.

        The criticism of this assignment stands, whether you like it or not. Whether the materials put together are old or new, they are being used to implement a Common Core Close Reading assignment. That’s fact. Either deal with it or don’t. The problem is not mine, it is yours.

    • You can’t get action if you don’t get people mad, look at you……………

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