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(Telegraph)   "Catcher in the Rye", and "To Kill a Mockingbird" to be replaced in US classrooms by texts such as "Recommended Levels of Insulation," "Invasive Plant Inventory," and "How to Turn Critical Thinkers in to Welfare Recipients"   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 352
    More: Asinine, Catcher in the Rye, Harper Lee, classic book, J.D. Salinger, National Governors Association, curriculum, standards-based education reform, critical thinking  
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9344 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Dec 2012 at 5:43 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-07 07:00:19 PM

Mean Daddy: "How to Turn Critical Thinkers in to Welfare Recipients"

Uhh... elect a community organizer president of the united states -- twice? Did I win an internet?



Was George W. Bush a community organizer, too? Wow. I did not know that.
 
2012-12-07 07:01:16 PM

jonjr215: Plus, there are no Cliff Notes for "Recommended Levels of Insulation". Joking aside, I think this is a travesty. Love literature or hate it, I cannot see the logic in removing it from the curriculum in favor of teaching kids about insulation so they are "prepared for the working world." We have to inspire kids to succeed. Not insult them by forcing mediocrity upon them.


But they're removing Catcher in the Rye from the curriculum.
 
2012-12-07 07:02:46 PM
Reading, writing and creativity won't buy you a house and feed your kids. That's what I was told all the time in 1983-84-85.

We were recovering from a recession then, we're trying to get out of one now. Deja vu, y'all.
 
2012-12-07 07:05:54 PM

Grand_Moff_Joseph: dickfreckle: Spitting out a kid who can only write as though it were a technical manual is not the way to fix things.

Um, what do you think the education systems of half the world have been doing for the last 20 years? Those folks may not even know who Shakespeare is, but they did a dang good job gutting our manufacturing and technology industries. 

Perhaps we need to fight back in the same manner to catch up. Then again, either way, Catcher in the Rye was a horrendously stupid book, so it's of no loss to the classroom, imo.

/puts on flame retardant suit


Who cares? Being a well rounded person with a real education involves reading a few stupid books in the course of one's life. If I sat still for Atlas Shrugged, some little snotnose can process Holden Caulfield's cheesy teen angst without suffering any damage, either.
 
2012-12-07 07:08:36 PM
Children learn early, a second language should be introduced when they begin to talk (even Sesame Street does that with Spanish)....imagine if we really thought our children are the future....we would introduce them to complex math when their minds are willing to learn....
School is set up that children get an 8th grade education in 12 years.
 
2012-12-07 07:08:49 PM

SilentStrider: I hate people.


hey, me too
 
2012-12-07 07:11:15 PM

Indubitably: Gyrfalcon: Indubitably: BronyMedic: Indubitably: Did you see my previous post about overreacting?

You should.

Aren't you assuming that I'm "ovrreacting", and not further trolling people who seem to think a single grammatical error matters in a non-academic conversation on the internet?

Tisk tisk. Didn't your mother teach you what happens when you assume?

Yeah, and she also taught me how to spell "tsk" too.

*)

You "spell" tsk?

Is this a question or a statement?


An interrogatory.
 
2012-12-07 07:12:39 PM

Dogberry: Would a NYT piece help?


It helps quite a bit, thank you. Firstly, the author of that piece at least partly agrees with some increased focus on nonfiction, or informational literature, basically because she thinks students write crappy essays. Second, at the bottom:

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the percentage of the high school curriculum that will consist of reading nonfiction titles under the Common Core State Standards. It is 70 percent of the entire 12th grade curriculum, not only English.

That's kind of an important caveat. Pretty much zero percent of math and science and a tiny part of things like history and music and phys ed will be fiction, so that shifts a huge amount to english and other languages.

Plus, I saw the Catcher in the Rye on numerous core curriculum lists, and neither of those bullshiat boring texts. I think the Telegraph article is pure claptrap.
 
2012-12-07 07:12:53 PM

IlGreven: Somacandra: Dogberry: naughtyrev: Please tell me this is satire. They think this will help make kids prepared for college?

Not satire. See US Dept of Education's "Race to the Top."

I went to DOE's RTTT website and searched for "Recommended Insulation Levels." Nothing relevant. Searched for "Invasive Plant Inventory." A hit on learning about ecological concepts in 5th grade which is entirely reasonable. If you have some more evidence, please share. This is on Drudge Report too so I'm halfway assuming its Bullshiat to begin with.

Yep. It's yet another anti-science screed most likely from creationists and GW deniers to scare parents into sending their kids to "private" schools, where they'll learn all about art and culture...but only from one small book with a cross on it.


I decided to actually read some derp textbooks, so I went to ebay and bought a few A Beka textbooks: biology, US government.

/should be interesting
//and most likely infuriating
 
2012-12-07 07:14:26 PM
The more I read about this, the faster my eye twitches.
 
2012-12-07 07:15:00 PM
Yeah.. I don't really have a huge problem with this either. Yea kids should have communication skills and should read some classic books. I have never needed to be able to understand the subtle metaphor's in one of my customer's emails. I have never had to read a 400 page document and explain to my supervisor what the them was.

What I did have to do was a bunch of math, have a bunch of shiat memorized or pull up some charts,and then design whatever my part is.

So... yeah. I love reading, I love books, but if we really want to teach job skills I think technical skills are part of it.

And you aren't going to not learn anything from levels of insulation or invasive plant inventory. You learn about physics and heat transfer, you learn about biology, botany, ecology, etc.
 
2012-12-07 07:16:16 PM

Bacontastesgood: I think the Telegraph article is pure claptrap.


Standard, "Hey, look at how stupid those hick Yankees are!" British 'Journalism'.
 
2012-12-07 07:17:28 PM

funmonger: Literature teaches the mind to articulate thoughts and apprehend the world, which is a science in and of itself. It rehearses the mind in problem solving, emotional intelligence and moral development.

Manuals teach you how to follow, not think.


So...what do you do for a living? Me, I'm college educated so I'm expected to do both. But I work with many high school graduate "laborers". Trust me, you DO NOT want everybody on a work site trying to do the problem solving and thinking...some people just gotta be trained to actually WORK, and gain problem solving skills by practicum. Real-world work scenarios ARE often mindlessly repetitive and based on following established protocols or dealing with restrictive rules and regulations.

There's also nothing worse than somebody who has been trained to "critically think" but has not been given the technical knowledge to know what they're working with.
 
2012-12-07 07:18:20 PM
Well, as someone with a MA in English, I am getting a kick...

Actually, this is not happy news, but if you wanted to drum up sympathy for the canon, you certainly could have chosen a better poster-child than "Catcher in the Rye," a book whose most redeeming quality is that it was short.

On the other hand, if parents are concerned, they could read to their children and continue to share love of literature beyond the board book stage.

I'm surprisingly okay with the loss of some teaching time devoted to great master works that are hard to make relevant at a young age. If Johnny can't read a street sign, let's work on that before Shakespeare.
 
2012-12-07 07:18:44 PM

Ishidan: There's also nothing worse than somebody who has been trained to "critically think" but has not been given the technical knowledge to know what they're working with.


Well, that would explain your advocacy of doing away with literature classes for high school.
 
2012-12-07 07:18:46 PM
FTFA: A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 per cent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.

How is this going to "ready" pupils for the workplace? Which workplace? Whose training manuals are you going to use as the standard? Contrary to popular belief within some large companies, not everyone does business the same way. Even within the same field, different companies do things their own way.

The purpose of school is to provide a broad education for their whole life, not to train children for their work life in a cube farm or an assembly line (or more likely, making french fries at Mooby's). Any functionally literate adult who has a formal education and says he believes otherwise is a hypocrite... or an idiot.

This is all growing out of this misguided notion that schools -- and even colleges -- are nothing but vocational training centers, rather than institutions of learning. Normally, the people who have this misconception are business executives and wealthy folks who don't have much education themselves and don't understand why we would "waste" resources on anything other than fostering more business.

Besides, I don't know why they want to train American kids for the workplace. If employers had their way, we'd send out every bit of work we can to off-shore sites, and the rest of the work would be done here by H-1B/L-1 labor and/or undocumented aliens who are off the books (depending upon the skill level required for the job). We live in an age where American business executives seem to think that the rest of the people are here simply to serve them and make them richer.

The Great Screwing continues...
 
2012-12-07 07:19:25 PM

willyfreddy: I double-checked that this wasn't from The Onion. Nope, it seems legit.

FTFA: Supporters of the directive argue that it will help pupils to develop the ability to write concisely and factually, which will be more useful in the workplace than a knowledge of Shakespeare.

I have less of a problem with this point, in relation to Shakespeare specifically (let the Drama kids read him). However, Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird are NOT Shakespeare. And I would NOT agree that replacing them with Invasive Plant Inventory is a good idea.

/I AM SO GLAD THAT I FINISHED PUBLIC SCHOOL BEFORE THE WORLD WENT INSANE


/god me too
//and that I dont have kids cause I can't afford private school.
 
2012-12-07 07:21:00 PM

C18H27NO3: FlyingLizardOfDoom: Catcher in the Rye was a stupid book.


A few of the books I studied in high school english, like Flowers for Algernon, were meaningful and helped me develop intellectually. Catcher in the Rye was as pedestrian and lacklustre as a book can be. It is what I expect if a friend asks me to read his book no one wants to publish.
 
2012-12-07 07:21:25 PM
 
2012-12-07 07:22:09 PM
Suggested non-fiction texts include

"include" - Ah yes, I know that term. It's weasel-journalist for: "the list had thousands of things on it, but we skimmed it until we found the most ridiculous ones and then misrepresented the context for our sensationalist story... click please?"
 
2012-12-07 07:23:13 PM
FTFA: The new educational standards have the backing of the influential National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and are being part-funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This does not surprise me in the least. He was a college drop-out and she was one of the people responsible for the Microsoft Bob user interface.
 
2012-12-07 07:23:42 PM
Looks like Brave New World more & more is becoming a reality...scary stuff.
 
2012-12-07 07:23:57 PM
Sad. I work with monoculture scientists who have zero classical education. They get the work done, but with no heart, empathy, or humor. I blame the technical mills for taking the humanity out of people. A little truth and beauty is needed in work life--and we'd all be better for it. I'm sure it would push those engagement scores up.
 
2012-12-07 07:26:08 PM

BronyMedic: I love pissing off the FARK Pedant squad. You have an extraneous m added into someone's name, and rather than it being a mistake, you're a illiterate who hasn't read a book, or has no right to criticize literary mind anesthesia.

[www.pedanticsociety.com image 850x244]


"An illiterate," BronyMedic.
 
2012-12-07 07:27:09 PM

Fark Me To Tears: FTFA: A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 per cent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.

How is this going to "ready" pupils for the workplace? Which workplace? Whose training manuals are you going to use as the standard? Contrary to popular belief within some large companies, not everyone does business the same way. Even within the same field, different companies do things their own way.

The purpose of school is to provide a broad education for their whole life, not to train children for their work life in a cube farm or an assembly line (or more likely, making french fries at Mooby's). Any functionally literate adult who has a formal education and says he believes otherwise is a hypocrite... or an idiot.

This is all growing out of this misguided notion that schools -- and even colleges -- are nothing but vocational training centers, rather than institutions of learning. Normally, the people who have this misconception are business executives and wealthy folks who don't have much education themselves and don't understand why we would "waste" resources on anything other than fostering more business.

Besides, I don't know why they want to train American kids for the workplace. If employers had their way, we'd send out every bit of work we can to off-shore sites, and the rest of the work would be done here by H-1B/L-1 labor and/or undocumented aliens who are off the books (depending upon the skill level required for the job). We live in an age where American business executives seem to think that the rest of the people are here simply to serve them and make them richer.

The Great Screwing continues...


Lovely rant. Pity it's based on a false pretense.

The nonfiction involved here won't be training manuals. It'll be nonfiction books read in subjects other than english. Reading David McCullough in history. Reading The Tipping Point in math or science. Reading the Omnivore's Dilemma in biology or environmental science. The point is to increase reading outside of English class, and to expose students to a BROADER range of books. A few adminstrators (and more than one Journalist) may have wildly missed the point, but the overall effect of the Common Curriculum will probably be that kids have read more books, covering a wider array of types of writing. Which is a very good thing.

Somebody posted a Common Core booklist upthread. I suggest you read it to get a better idea of what's actually at play here.
 
2012-12-07 07:29:00 PM

Grand_Moff_Joseph: Um, what do you think the education systems of half the world have been doing for the last 20 years? Those folks may not even know who Shakespeare is, but they did a dang good job gutting our manufacturing and technology industries.


I realize I'm not the first person to respond to you here, but damned is this a stupid statement. I mean, damned.

You are, despite yourself, right in one sense. If we want to make our working class look more like China's, this is a great start.
 
2012-12-07 07:31:45 PM
These comments are priceless.

I expect much more crying over the state's voluntary participation in the Core Common State Standards Initiative.

Should be fun.

Other reading on this latest poutrage makes it seem some English teachers should maybe work on their comprehension skills, as some of the recommendations were for non English classes...
 
2012-12-07 07:33:07 PM
I'm enjoying that the people who are upset keep mentioning critical thinking.

So, you're telling me you learned critical thinking from reading fiction, but you took the article at face value, maybe only read the headline, and definitely didn't factcheck anything? Does that sound about right?
 
2012-12-07 07:33:15 PM
Enrolling a child in an government school is basically child abuse. I'm glad I don't have any. Tuition would be expensive.

/Prefers dogs
 
2012-12-07 07:33:20 PM
Ahhhhhrrrrggggg

/nonfiction is good because it sets up hypothetical situations that can be reflected upon in juxtaposition to the life one knows & lives thus creating a catalyst for critical thinking and abstract thought

//catcher speaks to the blossoming of the consumer driven, keeping up with the Jones', sheeple society that we have become. It also addresses issues of class conciousness

///it's all about the suitcases, nobody wants a roommate with lesser or better suitcases than they themselves possess.

////not many English majors on this thread.
 
2012-12-07 07:34:33 PM
We cling to the 12 years of education. Think, what if the high school years could become college years? How amazing if your child could become an engineer, a chef or know basis life skills? Imagine you paid all the school taxes and your child really got an education? Four years of school that would make a difference.
 
2012-12-07 07:34:50 PM

James F. Campbell: By the way, Ishidan, there's a great future of unemployment awaiting your future STEM graduates.


Beats the hell out of the average:
technicallybaltimore.com

Especially if you're in tech, math, or physical/life sciences:
technicallybaltimore.com

I like how your source put "life, physical, & social science" as a category. You know, because a microbiologist and economist can expect similar job markets.

/hot
 
2012-12-07 07:35:45 PM
My eldest is in 9th grade this year and his reading list for English class is pathetic. "The Hunger Games" is the required reading for his first semester. The farking Hunger Games!? The rest of the list is pretty pathetic. They're going to read excerpts, excerpts of Homer's Odyssey! No Grapes of Wrath, no Catcher in the Rye, no To Kill a Mockingbird, no Steinbeck, no Edgar Allen Poe, no Dickens. They are, at least reading "Romeo and Juliet". I guess it's still a staple of 9th grade English. I foresee a future of uneducated, illiterate boobs.

/I feel old now
//my lawn, etc.
 
2012-12-07 07:39:00 PM
This is just a self-defeating policy. "Recommended Levels of Insulation" is, like most government housing standards, written in iambic pentameter. While an impressive work in its own right, students deserve a more historical perspective in works of this nature.

Stick to the classics, people.
 
2012-12-07 07:40:02 PM

Jixa: My eldest is in 9th grade this year and his reading list for English class is pathetic. "The Hunger Games" is the required reading for his first semester. The farking Hunger Games!? The rest of the list is pretty pathetic. They're going to read excerpts, excerpts of Homer's Odyssey! No Grapes of Wrath, no Catcher in the Rye, no To Kill a Mockingbird, no Steinbeck, no Edgar Allen Poe, no Dickens. They are, at least reading "Romeo and Juliet". I guess it's still a staple of 9th grade English. I foresee a future of uneducated, illiterate boobs.

/I feel old now
//my lawn, etc.


The hunger games, really?

/now I am really glad I have no children

//and already received my well rounded education

///must leave now before I start looking for my hat, the one I wear when shooting people.
 
2012-12-07 07:41:36 PM

Weaver95: "In the end, education has to be about more than simply ensuring that kids can get a job. Isn't it supposed to be about making well-rounded citizens?"

NOTHING in our culture encourages creativity. we despise artists, fear hackers and sideline anyone who steps outside the accepted norms. in some cases, that view is changing...but its moving very slowly, if at all.


We do, however, expect everyone who has trouble with finding/keeping a good job to be able to start their own small business, complete with well-written business plans and quality advertising concepts.

/because bootstraps
 
2012-12-07 07:43:00 PM

Gyrfalcon: Indubitably: Gyrfalcon: Indubitably: BronyMedic: Indubitably: Did you see my previous post about overreacting?

You should.

Aren't you assuming that I'm "ovrreacting", and not further trolling people who seem to think a single grammatical error matters in a non-academic conversation on the internet?

Tisk tisk. Didn't your mother teach you what happens when you assume?

Yeah, and she also taught me how to spell "tsk" too.

*)

You "spell" tsk?

Is this a question or a statement?

An interrogatory.


Cute.

So, did you pass?
 
2012-12-07 07:43:13 PM

James F. Campbell: By the way, Ishidan, there's a great future of unemployment awaiting your future STEM graduates.

Ok wow...that one caught me by surprise.
So what piece of classical literature should I use to analyze this information? Ah, the context that has come from a well rounded American education, it allows me to recognize exactly HOW we're being screwed.

"1984" and "Brave New World" appears to be popular here today, of course, as is "The Grapes of Wrath", but what work of fiction features a country's leaders outright screwing their own citizens in favor of importing cheap labor from elsewhere-while tacitly admitting that the "foreigners" are perfectly capable of the work?
 
2012-12-07 07:43:14 PM

Jixa: My eldest is in 9th grade this year and his reading list for English class is pathetic. "The Hunger Games" is the required reading for his first semester. The farking Hunger Games!? The rest of the list is pretty pathetic. They're going to read excerpts, excerpts of Homer's Odyssey! No Grapes of Wrath, no Catcher in the Rye, no To Kill a Mockingbird, no Steinbeck, no Edgar Allen Poe, no Dickens. They are, at least reading "Romeo and Juliet". I guess it's still a staple of 9th grade English. I foresee a future of uneducated, illiterate boobs.

/I feel old now
//my lawn, etc.


Yes, reminds me of Mr. Holland's Opus and his rant about using everything from Beethoven to Rock n Roll. I don't care if they use Shakespeare or Harry Potter or some newer young adult fiction. Get them hooked on reading, then introduce the classical stuff.
 
2012-12-07 07:43:30 PM
i read catcher in the rye in my early 20s and i despised it so much that i stapled it to a tree in the front yard and let the elements slowly eat it away.
 
2012-12-07 07:44:52 PM
oh and when someone tells me their favorite book is catcher in the rye i just end the conversation there and walk away. people are entitled to their opinions and personal preferences, but that particular detail is beyond telling.
 
2012-12-07 07:45:11 PM

K.B.O. Winston: Weaver95: "In the end, education has to be about more than simply ensuring that kids can get a job. Isn't it supposed to be about making well-rounded citizens?"

NOTHING in our culture encourages creativity. we despise artists, fear hackers and sideline anyone who steps outside the accepted norms. in some cases, that view is changing...but its moving very slowly, if at all.

We do, however, expect everyone who has trouble with finding/keeping a good job to be able to start their own small business, complete with well-written business plans and quality advertising concepts.

/because bootstraps


And how do you expect these jobless folks are supposed to fund their small business.

/can write a killer business plan & market the hell out of anything but without an excellent credit score or a wealthy family member or other investors...

//back to the bread lines with you

///bootstraps my arse
 
2012-12-07 07:45:28 PM

I_C_Weener: I say a new petition to the White House is in order.
 
Replace this new book list with Ender's Game, and The Hobbit, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.


Loved the first, hated the second, never read the third.

Seriously, if i want to knock my insomniac arse out in 3-4 minutes I just read a couple pages of the hobbit.
 
2012-12-07 07:47:16 PM
As I said to an administrator the other day, education is used to turn primates into human beings.
 
2012-12-07 07:48:42 PM
The joke is on us if we think kids read books from cover to cover anymore just because they were kicking around in the library. What is the expression, re-arranging the deck furniture as the Titanic is sinking?
 
2012-12-07 07:49:51 PM
To Kill a Mockingbird is probably being removed because the "N-word" is in it...
 
2012-12-07 07:50:20 PM
Because if there's one way out of becoming a welfare recipient, it's by being an English Lit. major
 
2012-12-07 07:50:26 PM

Ishidan: James F. Campbell: By the way, Ishidan, there's a great future of unemployment awaiting your future STEM graduates.
Ok wow...that one caught me by surprise.
So what piece of classical literature should I use to analyze this information? Ah, the context that has come from a well rounded American education, it allows me to recognize exactly HOW we're being screwed.

"1984" and "Brave New World" appears to be popular here today, of course, as is "The Grapes of Wrath", but what work of fiction features a country's leaders outright screwing their own citizens in favor of importing cheap labor from elsewhere-while tacitly admitting that the "foreigners" are perfectly capable of the work?


I tried finding them on Google, but all I came up with are guides on outsourcing and sites that let you outsource the creation of fictional narratives.
 
2012-12-07 07:51:42 PM
Neever red edder of dem bookes. I turnd out gest fine.
 
2012-12-07 07:54:02 PM

Indubitably: Indubitably: Skirl Hutsenreiter: Summercat: Can we get rid of Hemingway too? Old Man and the Sea was... Blesgh.

I don't know why anyone uses that piece of crap. Prejudiced me against Hemingway for years. After some more exposure, now I actually quite like Hemingway's short fiction. Still haven't found a novel of his that I'm really a fan of.

\I don't know why teachers seem surprised when modern children don't relate to postwar literature.

Try his travel pieces and think.

"How can I make history come to light for my students? Is it the text? Or is it me? Or both?"

Whenever I hear about a book that didn't work in a class, I hear about a teacher more...


I dunno, I had an English Lit teacher that i would have sold my soul to have as a lover and even she couldn't make "Ethan Frome" tolerable.

// that was a terrible story.. well written but awfull none-the less
 
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