Anonymous’ Helpful Miscalculation

I just had to post this comment in a more prominent location because it perfectly illustrates the situation when someone actually takes the time to do their homework on Common Core.

A commenter going by “Anonymous” just posted a comment linking to the Utah State Office of Education’s website where they’ve posted the Complete Resource Guide on the Utah Core Standards, encouraging someone to read the document. Someone did. Here is Tricia’s excellent response.

Thanks, anonymous, for linking to the Common Core Resource Guide. After reading through some of it, it only further solidified my stance against common core.

I found page 24 and 25 particularly horrifying. Talking about the English Language Standards it states, “The effect of implementing standards cannot be researched before they have been implemented. They must be implemented first before we can conduct research on their effectiveness.”

WHAT??? So all kids in the state get to be guinea pigs for the program? Couldn’t we try a small pilot program first? Those who support common core can sign up their children to be the test subjects (but I really wouldn’t recommend it). If the program proves to be successful, then I’d be willing to sign up my children (well, it will be my grandchildren by then, but whatever.)

And then there’s this:

“We, along with other major experts in the reading and literacy field, argue that all students need to be reading more and more informational texts than they currently do. Classroom-based observation research has revealed over the past decade that children read almost no informational texts at all.”

Who are these experts? And why do kids need to read more info text? Where is the proof that this will help them? They read plenty of info texts in math, science, and history. They don’t need to read them in English, as well.

It goes on, “more than 85% of adult reading time is spent reading informational texts. Only 15% of adult reading is literary texts.”

This is proof that MORE ADULTS should be reading MORE LITERARY TEXTS than that STUDENTS should read LESS. And if adults aren’t reading literature, they sure better read it in school or they will never be exposed to it.

But wait. There’s more:

“Our schools have given precious little attention to the reading and learning from informational text. That is precisely the point of the CCS Standards’ increased attention on informational text. Consider for a moment the demands an auto mechanic now has in using diagnostic computer technology to work on your car engine. The manual to be read by today’s auto mechanic is nearly four inches thick of informational text!”

Then let kids read informational text in auto mechanic school. Not English.

Reading info text will only bore them and make them hate reading, not give them a love for great literature.

Literature enriches our lives. It makes us better people. Helps us to think and examine and be aware.

Informational text teaches how to work on a car engine. Not an unimportant skill, but quite limited in its scope and power.

Which do you want for your kids?

7 thoughts on “Anonymous’ Helpful Miscalculation”

  1. Excellent response! That’s the kind of critical thinking we need to encourage. Not believing something just because its written down by an ‘expert’, but seeing the holes of an argument, looking beyond the empty promises to see what the consequences will be in the future and having the courage to stand up for much better education than the untried, unproven empty promises of Common Core supposed ‘rigor’. Truly, the emperor has no clothes and this reader was able to see that clearly because she took the time to look into it herself and not just believe someone’s word on it.

    1. Tricia, I agree that it would be a shame to not expose kids to English literature. Life would be very boring indeed without literature to enrich our lives.

      But I don’t think CC is going to eliminate literature, it is just going to replace some of the literature with learning to read informational text needed in today’s work environment. They will learn to read it in English and then use it in their Math, Science and History. They used an example of a car mechanic but that same thing could apply to a pilot, astronaut, doctor, nurse, medical assistant or an engineer.

      Thanks for the excerpts. The guide itself does not provide all the information on CC. It mainly provides information on the process that Utah went through before signing on and responses to common questions and specific ones brought up by Dr. Stotsky.

      It was helpful for me to read the Resource guide put out by the Utah State Office Of Education along with the Common Curriculum itself which provides more context and is available here:

      Here is an excerpt from the CC language arts description.

      “As a natural outgrowth of meeting the charge to define college and career readiness, the Standards also lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the skills and understandings students are expected to demonstrate have wide applicability outside the classroom or workplace. Students who meet the Standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature. They habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and digitally. They actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews. They reflexively demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential to both private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic. In short, students who meet the Standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.”

      1. Why are we so concerned with making our students career ready? What is the motivation behind this desperate need that has been echoed by every UDOE person and those that have a stake in the implementation of common core. Are we now a nation devoted to raising only people who are career and college ready? Is there only purpose in life to get some job so they can pay taxes? I know we live in the technological age, but we still have those who choose to pursue professions outside of college and certainly will invent themselves as they seek a career path. They are artists, writers, self made Americans. My daughter is excited about choosing motherhood as her profession. She has also been excited about artistic writing lately. These are skills she will learn from the matriarchs in our family and from practice. No public education system will adequately prepare her for her chosen profession. I personally think it is one worthy of the best education. That is why she will not be educated with the Common Core curriculum. She is not common after all.

      2. CC isn’t going to replace just “some” of the literature with informational texts, but a good percentage of it.

        And where is the proof that reading informational texts will help students in today’s work environment? Does it improve their comprehension, critical thinking, or analytical skills? It could, however, bore them to the point that they no longer want to read anything.

        Maybe reading informational texts will prove invaluable to our children. Maybe not. We don’t know that, yet, because it has never been studied. This should not be brought out statewide until it has been tested in a pilot program. (I vote to exclude my daughter.) Why take the chance of creating a state (country) full of kids who hate reading (even more than some of them already do)?

        We adults did not have to suffer through informational texts in English class but are perfectly capable of understanding them. How else would we be able to comprehend the 85% of informational texts we supposedly spend our time reading?

        Like you, anonymous, I just want what is best for our kids. I applaud educators for trying to improve our standards. I just don’t think sacrificing (even some) literature for something that may or may not work is the way to go about it.

  2. I believe all of those who have supported the movement to get out of Common Core have encouraged others to read and research for themselves what USOE is saying (and what they are not saying) and determine for yourself what you want for your children. Thank you to Tricia for once again validating the concerns of so many parents!

  3. The reason progressives want to limit American school children’s exposure to “literature” and maximize their exposure to “informational texts” is to indoctrinate children and mold them into compliant worker citizens. This control of the hearts, minds and agency of children is the heart and soul of progressivism. Recall, there was someone else once who sought to take away the agency of man… to indoctrinate… to mold men into compliant citizens. His plan was so abhorrent that he was cast out for all eternity. Yes, we’re dealing with the same spirit in 2013.

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