"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, March 01, 2013

. . . and miles to go before 4th grade

For those bigots with low expectations who have been whining about the eradication of imaginative literature from the Common Core National Standards and National Testing Delivery System (CCNS/NTDS), you may be interested to know that I have uncovered a trove of literary gems among the Standards. Just go to Appendix B of the national standards, the same ones that the New York Times reports today will cost the City of New York $56,000,000 for new textbooks this coming year.  To provide some point of comparison, NYC spent a little over $13,000,000 this past year for math and English AND classroom library books:

The $56 million estimate is based on an expectation that 70 percent of schools will adopt the curriculums the city’s Education Department is recommending, the officials said. They said that while downloading state curriculums was free, the costs of acquiring workbooks and texts would bring the cost close to the city’s $56 million estimate. 
The city will procure the materials through five vendors, including the state’s vendor and Pearson, a British publishing and education company, said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the city’s chief academic officer.

Below is a tiny section from the "free" curriculum that teachers can download.  I found among the recommendations for grades 2-3 poetry, Frost, Robert: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”  How lucky the little ones are to be finally treated as adults, to be done with those simplistic rhymes and baby rhythms of old.  There's also Randall Jarrell, Nikki Giovanni, Gary Soto, and Emily Dickinson.  

But what impressed me most from my brief scan this morning was this list of "stories" for grades 9-10.  Now I am wondering if I did not somehow get into a remedial undergraduate English program back in the late 60s, since obviously, all my profs offered me was 9th grade reading materials!

Grades 9–10 text exemplars

Homer. The Odyssey
Ovid. Metamorphoses
Gogol, Nikolai. “The Nose.”
De Voltaire, F. A. M. Candide, Or The Optimist
Turgenev, Ivan. Fathers and Sons
Henry, O. “The Gift of the Magi.”
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth
Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll’s House
Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie
Ionesco, Eugene. Rhinoceros
Fugard, Athol. “Master Harold”...and the boys

1 comment:

  1. the shockingly obvious aspect of this seems to get little attention--why in the world do teachers need to buy workbook materials for content, much to most of which is available in the public domain.

    the only answer, clearly, is to funnel money to Pearson, et al., at egregious levels.

    I'm glad we created business schools, law schools and marketing degrees so that we could institutionalize fraud in education so as to make it both the spirit and the letter