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For an interesting discussion of who Coleman is, go to Diane Ravitch's post:
Dana, you are correct in that teachers should coordinate to make sure that too many texts aren't assigned twice. But that still doesn't address the reality that students will be reading an awful lot of "informational texts," and not nearly enough fiction in high school. I've yet to find any good reason to do so. As a social studies teacher, I worry about when my students will read poetry, literary fiction...I don't see what that's a desirable result, but that's probably what happens when non-teachers are put in charge of curriculum.
Let's talk about the common core's emphasis on reading non-fiction. What concerns me is that students won't be assigned to read many works of fiction in high school. The argument that fiction is less challenging, and doesn't promote critical thinking is bizarre. Students often find it tougher to read James Joyce, than say Thomas Payne's essay "Common Sense." Furthermore, many of the "informational texts" (love the Orwellian phrasing) recommended are also covered in social studies. So, students will read essays by Orwell, Martin Luther King, and others twice -- and may not get around to the Shakespeare and Melville at all, because non-fiction is only supposed to comprise of a small part of the assigned readings. Well -- these architects of the Common Core might pick up a copy of Moby Dick, and notice there's a lot of "information" about whaling, and some essays by Orwell might actually be less informative, and more persuasive. Students who haven't read important works of fiction simply won't get a well-rounded liberal arts education, and will lack sufficient cultural capital. We are already cutting the arts enough -- less music, less art. Can we really afford these utilitarian reforms -- which don't make sense, anyway?
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May 17, 2012