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    MLA panel on Children's Literature & the Common Core

    The MLA Division of Children’s Literature will be sponsoring the session “Children’s Literature and the Common Core” on Thursday, January 9, 2014, from 3:30-4:45 p.m. in the Belmont Room (4th floor) of the Chicago Marriott Hotel during the 129th annual Modern Language Association Conference. This panel is open to the public.

    The New York Times has called the controversial Common Core State Standards, “the most important educational reform in the country.” Defending the Common Core, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state school superintendents that he found it  “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core has come from “white suburban moms who—all of a sudden—their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”  

    Using a roundtable format, five speakers will examine the effects of the English Language Arts Standards of the Common Core State Standards on the teaching of college courses in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.  The featured speakers for the session are Sarah Minslow, University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Kristin McIlhagga, Michigan State University; Michelle Holley Martin, University of South Carolina, Columbia; Joe Sutliff Sanders, Kansas State University; and Daniel D. Hade, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

    While each speaker will present prepared remarks for 5-7 minutes, the session is intended to be an active dialogue and discussion between the speakers and the members of the audience.  Speakers will consider if the Common Core State Standards effectively prepares students for college-level academic work and literacy for the workplace. The political and social implications behind the stated education goals of the Common Core will be examined. 

    Since the Common Core recommends that 70% of the texts used by the twelfth grade should be informational texts, how will this effect of the teaching of fiction, poetry, and drama?   Can the Common Core address issues of cultural diversity given the increasing gap between students of color and their predominately white K-12 teachers? 

    The session has been selected as part of the conference’s Presidential Theme of “Vulnerable Times” and is chaired by Jan Susina, Illinois State University.


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