A Sickening Turn of Events: Common Core-Approved Pornography May or May Not Be on This Year’s Standardized Test

Reposted from Christel Swasey’s blog

When I saw, both in a Politichicks article and in a Blaze article, that it was on the recommended reading list of Common Core for 11th grade students to read “The Bluest Eye,” a book that graphically, vividly narrates sex crimes of a child molester in first person, I found it hard to believe that this would be approved in my state.

I wrote to my state school board member.

“Dixie, please tell me that in Utah, we have not approved “The Bluest Eye” for our students’ English reading which is on the Common Core’s list of approved readings. Please tell me that our curriculum committee is more selective. This is disgusting child pornography.
Thank you for finding out the answer.”

She wrote back after consulting with someone at the Office of Education with an assurance that although it was recommended by Common Core, it was not recommended by the Utah State Office of Education. Here is that letter:

“I hope this helps-was what I thought but wanted to be sure.

Dixie

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Dickson, Sydnee”
Date: Aug 25, 2013 10:43 AM
Subject: RE: Common Core approved reading: The Bluest Eye
To: “Allen, Dixie”
Cc: “Hales, Brenda”

Dixie,
You are correct in that there are no prescribed texts for the Common Core. There are examples of texts that could be used for text complexity by grade level but this is certainly not one of them in Utah. When you go to our Appendix A and look at the suggestions for 11th grade, you will not find Bluest Eyes listed http://schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartelem/Core-Standards/ELA-Color-Standards-8-12-13.aspx. When you look at Appendix B (pg. 154) in the document published by CCSSO and NGA you will find the following brief excerpt from Bluest Eyes considered as a piece of text with complex language. This is not a recommended book but a section of brief text from the book.

[Excerpt was shared here from Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”]

We have not recommended this excerpt nor is it published in our Core ELA Standards documents. Because the Common Core is NOT a prescribed curriculum, districts, schools, and teachers are free to use texts and materials that comply with their district policies. This is not a book or text that would be likely be approved by schools in Utah. Also, we are developing digital texts by teachers for teachers and have started with 6-8. Those can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartsec/Digital-Books.aspx. Last, and most importantly, we have the RIMS review process that is conducted by a commission of appointed community leaders, parents, and educators. They create a list of published materials that are recommended, recommended with reservation, or not recommended. That list can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/imc/RIMs-Search.aspx. You will not find Bluest Eyes on that list as it has not been requested to be reviewed by either a publisher or a school/district.”

————————————————————————–

For a moment, I was relieved. Utah students were off the pedophilia-literature hook, it seemed.

But then the wheels started turning in my head again. Ms. Dickson had written that the book was not recommended reading in Utah. But we know that Utah’s teachers must follow the national Common Core to prepare children for a nationally-aligned Common Core test (AIR test) this year.

It would seem that an excerpt from this book or any Common Core approved book could be used on Utah’s AIR test, since AIR writes the test to Common Core alignment. Since I wasn’t completely sure whether AIR writes to Utah’s recommended reading list or to Common Core’s recommended readings, I asked Dixie to find out for me. I’m waiting very anxiously to hear back.

Meanwhile, I fact-checked the Blaze article’s statement that said that the Common Core expected students to read the whole texts, not just excerpts. Sadly, that was correct!

At the official Common Core website, it says: “When excerpts appear, they serve only as stand-ins for the full text. The Standards require that students engage with appropriately complex literary and informational works; such complexity is best found in whole texts rather than passages from such texts.”

So, “improving college and career readiness” and “rigor” means, to the architects of Common Core, exposing 11th graders to the literature of pedophilia.

I’m worried about what kinds of “literature” may appear on the Common Core test that Utah students will be exposed to this year. I’m also worried about their exposure to the new version of the ACT/SAT –since David Coleman has both led the creation of Common Core and is now the College Board president. He’s said he’s altering college entrance exams to match his vision of what college and career readiness means. I do not like and do not trust that man.

Then there’s this:

In Utah, there’s a law that 15 parents will be chosen to serve on a test watching committee. These 15 can see the test questions for the new Common Core AIR tests. I applied to be on the 15 parent panel. (I hope many, many Utah parents apply.) The state wrote back to say they received my application, and that I should know that there is a confidentiality agreement. So if any parent serving on this committee sees anything we find unacceptable like this, we can not speak out and specify what we saw. This seems to defeat the purpose of having the committee.

All of this makes me despise the Common Core Initiative, it’s nontransparent testing and nonrepresentative decision making, more and more and more.

11 thoughts on “A Sickening Turn of Events: Common Core-Approved Pornography May or May Not Be on This Year’s Standardized Test”

  1. I had to read “The Bluest Eyes” in college despite our protest not wanting to read pornography. I would never think of having an 11th grade student read this book. I wonder if Planned Parenthood is behind this one, corrupting children early on. Very sad that the government thinks parents do not know what is best for their children. What a corrupt society we are becoming.

  2. Christel,
    Thank you for your efforts on behalf of parents trying to get to the bottom of Common Core. After coming across a similar article on “The Bluest Eye” as Common Core reading (http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/08/coming-to-a-school-near-you-common-core-approved-child-pornography/), I pulled my 10th grade daughters’ (your former 3rd graders :)) reading lists they were given Friday at an ASD high school and was appalled to see “The Bluest Eye” on their list. This was not recommending an excerpt. This was a list of recommended books that they have to choose from for their required book reports. So despite Ms. Dickson’s response that “This is not a book or text that would be likely be approved by schools in Utah” or that “You will not find Bluest Eyes on that (RIMS reviewed) list as it has not been requested to be reviewed by either a publisher or a school/district” it IS on my daughters’ recommended reading list here in Utah Valley. My opinion on this is that at best the review committees aren’t doing their job of looking into these texts and just passing on the national list they are given without being aware of what those books contain. At worst the committees here in Utah are doing their jobs and are just completely without morals that would keep them from passing this type of reading onto young students.

    1. Would you please share the name of your school? I would like to be able to show people in my community (Cache Valley) that this has happened in Utah. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Guess it is time to Home school!!! That is one way to send the message that we don’t like what they are trying to call education.

  4. “The state wrote back to say they received my application, and that I should know that there is a confidentiality agreement. So if any parent serving on this committee sees anything we find unacceptable like this, we can not speak out and specify what we saw. This seems to defeat the purpose of having the committee.”

    First, if there is a ‘confidentiality agreement’ then they obviously have something that they want to hide, and they know it. They know that if their ‘secrets’ were publicized, there would be an immediate and agenda-halting outcry.

    Second, the purpose of having the committee is not to review, edit, restrict, or change their content in any way…it is merely an attempt at appeasing the parents. Alteration of their agenda to destroy education Shall Not Be Infringed.

    A shining example of Soft Tyranny.

  5. I have never heard of this book, but it sounds horrible for children. Now if it used to train employees in D.C.F.S. then it might be helpful. As for using it in school, I am opposed. I have, and will always stand by my word, told my children that if they are uncomfortable with any material used in there curriculum, they may opt out. That includes taking an ‘F’ if necessary. Our children are more important then the grade.

  6. The common core tests skills, not passages or memorized excerpts or spewing back an entire text verbatim. This fear that Utah schools are going to teach “The Bluest Eye” is really unfounded. Dixie even said that teachers and districts have a variety of ways they can teach the skills and that Utah school districts were unlikely to approve “pornographic” texts, but for some reason this just isn’t good enough. Rather than listen to reason, fear is gripping people’s minds and they simply to choose to believe that the “The Bluest Eye” will be taught anyway because Obama wants it or some other vast conspiracy behind it all. It seems that the Common Core detractors are grasping for every little straw possible to find a reason to return us to the much hated No Child Left Behind.

    1. Royal Everdeen,

      You’re right that Common Core doesn’t test memorized excerpts, but it does use text excerpts to test ELA skills. There is no way any of us can say whether or not “The Bluest Eye” –or any of the recommended texts– will be the chosen text used in the Common Core tests. We simply don’t know. I have asked the Utah State School Board to offer proof that this would not be the case, but they did not write back. There is no such evidence. Without proper protections in place, such as non-alignment with Common Core for Utah tests, we simply have to control over what our students will be asked to read and analyze on the Common Core tests.

  7. I find it ironic that we are so concerned about our own child not having to read this text. Shouldn’t we be concerned about the children that ARE choosing to read a book about abuse, incest, rape and pedophilia? Children who are exposed to pornography act out sexually- Why are we promoting this? It is not grasping at straws to complain that children are being sexualized, and even encouraged in pedophilia by our educational system. This has nothing to do with Obama or the 5% of honor students whose parents guarantee they don’t read it. It is about creating a generation of Americans who are comfortable with pedophilia, and the children who will be molested as a result. It is absolutely unacceptable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *