The standards encourage more use of informational texts and literary nonfiction to build background knowledge and vocabulary that will be useful in the real world. But the Common Core does not stint on literature. By the end of high school, nonfiction would account for 70 percent of the total reading material in all subjects. That still leaves a lot of room for the classics.

Hmmm . . . 30 percent of reading still leaves a lot of room for literature? Not in everyone’s book. Bill Keller, formerly of the New York Times editorial page, takes on conservatives critical of the Common Core educational standards (a.k.a. nationalization of education, as in ObamaCare and student loans), but his effort proves to be a struggle. Nearly every sentence actually makes the case that Common Core is not what it was sold to be, and not what we want for our children. The “standards” were not state-driven, but were written after states signed on to get Stimulus I funding. The content was written, not by educators who utilized international benchmarks, but by two non-profit organizations that may sound like the government but that actually are privately funded. The objective Keller cites, improvement of educational standards, is actually his own aim – and that of many of the politicians and academics who signed on early. Common Core states that its aim is to ready students for entrance to 2-year community colleges. Is this, for example,  a New Trier High School student’s aim? How can one-size-fits-all for the entire country not be dumbing down for at least some sector of students? What we get with Common Core is a new (education) monopoly – much more expensive with much lower outcomes. Sounds like . . . the U.S. Postal Service for one thing.

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