Perhaps to some, when you have to chose between reading Charles Dickens or studying a driver’s manual, the choice is obvious. “Seven in 10 teachers overall and five in 10 high school teachers limit classics ‘because there is no longer room for them in the curriculum,'” Kristin Blair writes in the Carolina Journal, citing a study by the Thomas Fordham Institute.
None dare call it Common Core, especially the Fordham Institute, but a Common Core of Characteristics surrounds the displacement of the classics. “This year North Carolina implements revised English language arts standards, passed by the State Board of Education in 2017,” Blair reports. “Four State Board members voted against those standards, including Dr. Olivia Oxendine, who served on the state’s Academic Standards Review Commission.”
“Oxendine, a professor, says much hard work has been done in North Carolina ‘to improve the standards and make them more comprehensible,’ but the standards still aren’t well-written; many are ‘convoluted.’ Another concern: revised standards stipulate that instructional time in English language arts classrooms should be divided evenly between literature and informational text. ‘I was an English teacher and taught the classics,’ Oxendine says. ‘The deepest kind of higher-order thinking comes from literature.'”
One wonders if a survey of Common Core supporters will indicate that any of them have read the classics.