Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If Yorkshire Pudding were dead, he’d be turning over in his grave

From The Telegraph comes the following article dated December 7, 2012:

Catcher in the Rye dropped from U. S. school curriculum

Schools in America are to drop classic books such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye from their curriculum in favour of “informational texts.”

American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in U. S. classrooms by 2014.

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.

Books such as J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird will be replaced by “informational texts” approved by the Common Core State Standards.

Suggested non-fiction texts include Recommended Levels of Insulation by the the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Invasive Plant Inventory by California’s Invasive Plant Council.

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.

Jamie Highfill, a teacher at Woodland Junior High School in Arkansas, told the Times that the directive was bad for a well-rounded education.

“I’m afraid we are taking out all imaginative reading and creativity in our English classes.

“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?”

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.

(End of news article)

Comments, anyone?


  1. “I’m afraid we are taking out all imaginative reading and creativity in our English classes."

    The quoted sentence's components are creatively organized, are they not?

  2. Good Grief! I suppose a study of invasive plants COULD stimulate the thinking/creative process, but I'm fried if I can figure that one out.

  3. Horrid idea. Let us be certain that no child be allowed to grow up with any imagination or love of how the language is used.

  4. Mary Z, I know just what you mean.

    Snowbrush, where would we bloggers be without our English classes?

    Pat in Arkansas, I'll take fiction over non-fiction any day, but, hey, that's just me.

    Reamus, it's good to see that you're out and about! Love of how the language is used can sometimes be all that keeps a person going, especially when it's not baseball season.

  5. "If Yorkshire Pudding were dead..." Oh dear, the prospect is depressing but fear not I am still hale and healthy and shall continue to ruffle your peacock feathers once in a while. To see education simply as direct preparation for the world of work is to deny our humanity and the subtle, ill-defined links that exist between appreciation of the arts and the ability to perform well in the world of work. Besides, some people might not want to join the rat race - they may want to simply build a hut in the hills and watch the sun go down.

  6. As a homeschooling mom, I read everything my kids read, to refresh my memory, and enable me to discuss the book with them. In almost every case, I am reminded of why certain books are "classics"... why they are still being read year after year. That doesn't mean I enjoy every book, but I can certainly appreciate them.

    But don't worry - my kids read "informational texts" as well. Like Genesis, Matthew, Revelation...