Publishers are promoting new Core-aligned materials. The American Library Association directs educators to their Booklist, which offers “classics” suggestions from contemporary authors. More typical are categories like “Exploring Diversity.”
TeachingBooks.net offers lesson plans and discussion questions, reportedly, to more than a quarter of all U.S. schools. The site also features interviews and blog posts by authors about the research process on favorite topics like the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. Publishers Random House, Scholastic, and Holiday House are re-launching their teacher and librarian sites with information about the Core.
PBS promotes the use of “public media” in the Common Core, thus updating their educational activities.
A July 18 Publishers Weekly article notes that publishers are eagerly putting out Common Core books by adapting adult nonfiction books, like Fast Food Nation, for classroom use in a new title, Chew on This. Indeed, they are following the lead of officials: One of the sample Common Core guides is for teaching The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Lerner Publishing Group is publishing biographies on stars, “such as Justin Bieber,” while carefully adhering to “Core criteria such as reading level, narrative arc, and sentence structure.” Books are sold in clusters, by topic, because “typically, “T”Core authors want students to think more critically about what they’re reading . . . to compare multiple sources in different formats; and to give more sourced evidence, and less personal opinion in their writing.”
Presumably, preteens would not be writing opinion essays about how “cute” Bieber is, but would rigorously be providing “sourced evidence” in their “deep” analyses.
Mary Grabar, Ph.D., is founder of the Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc., which is committed to “resisting the re-education of America.” Sign up for “dispatches” at www.dissidentprof.com. Her other publications can be found at www.marygrabar.com and include Accuracy in Media, PJ Media, Weekly Standard, Minding the Campus, and many others. She teaches English at Emory University.