Common 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.
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.
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:
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- Touching The Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson
- 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.
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.
— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) October 15, 2014
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?