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    Common Core article in Inside Higher Ed

    Just wanted to mention that I am quoted in a rather lengthy, somewhat comprehensive article on "The Common Core on campus" by Libby A. Nelson.  The article was published today on the website Inside Higher Ed, which is connected to The Chronicle of Higher Education.  

    Nelson contacted me because I have proposed a special session for MLA 2013 about The Common Core and teaching children's and adolescent literature courses at the university levels.  While some academics have encountered and wrestled with the Common Core, many have not, and, I think, will be somewhat surprised how the creators of this document clearly ignored most university types in favor of business leaders thinking on what's important for school age children to learn.  What's worse, the Obama administration under Arne Duncan's leadership as Secretary of Education has forced states to adopt the Common Core in order to receive the relatively meager amount of money through Race to the Top federal competitions.

    Still, as I point out in the article, I am adjusting my syllabi somewhat so that students in my courses are familiar with the texts that are 'recommended' in the Common Core documents.  This summer I'll be teaching Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 and am looking forward to that.  The texts in the Common Core are just suggested, but my feeling is that new teachers especially are going to follow the Common Core documents hook, link, and sinker because they feel they have no choice.

    The Common Core certainly presents a conundrum for people who argued vehmently against E.D. Hirsch Jr.'s's ideas that he promoted in Cultural Literacy (1986).  Hirsch said in 2010 that the Common Core has the potential to revolutionize reading particularly as it de-emphasizes literature for a wider selection of texts. Hirsch presented his updated ideas in The Making of Americans: Democracy and our Schools (2010).

    Whether academics like it or not, business people and government bureaucrats have decided that there is a canon of texts that all school children need to read and understand.  It's detailed in The Common Core.

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