WASHINGTON, D.C. – Common Core proponents contend that their standards and curriculum provide a deeper understanding of subjects and that it has more rigor than past standards and curriculum.

Those who oppose the Common Core initiative claim that this rigor is not well documented and highly suspect. This posting of a story in a Common Core aligned text that is being used in high schools across the United States provides an insight on the meaning of the word “rigor.”

The idea behind reading good literature is for the use of language to be internalized by the reader and then used in subsequent writing. The research on this is quite decisive, and students do internalize what they read and use it in their writing. The damage that is being done to students stems from contemporary segments to appease multiculturalism. As Dr. Stotsky wrote,

“In fact, the history of the secondary English curriculum in 20th-century America suggests that the decline in readiness for college reading stems in large part from an increasingly incoherent, less challenging literature curriculum from the 1960s onward. This decline has been propelled by the fragmentation of the year-long English course into semester electives, the conversion of junior high schools into middle schools, and the assignment of easier, shorter, and contemporary texts—often in the name of multiculturalism.

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This story doesn’t leave much to be desired in terms of internalizing and is perhaps a poster child for Dr. Stotsky’s observations.

Notice, this book is not exactly “new” on the scene. The book is in its 9th edition, but this is the first edition that is common core aligned and may be used in advanced placement high school or for college freshman.  High School Literature teachers will tell you this is in their classrooms or the school library. It is part of the student anthology under the heading of fiction. The company submits this anthology as Common Core aligned. It appears the book is in use in at least two states, Alabama and Missouri, and is likely being used in others.

This is Common Core’s rigor and college ready curriculum. This is Advanced Placement English in Common Core. Be prepared, in the story, Americans are called dummies.

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The story by Marjane Satrapi, “The Trip,” is also in the new 10th edition of Meyer’s anthology, and that anthology costs in the neighborhood of $100 per book.   The story is from the perspective of the a ten year old girl in Iran during the hostage crisis in 1979. According to Satrapi’s biography, her family was involved in communist and socialist movements in Iran. That tidbit does not appear to be obvious in the segment, and might account for the anti-American sentiment. Perhaps this is addressed in the teacher materials?

Property tax revenue and  income tax revenue and lottery sales revenue is collected from hard working people to pay for this book.

This story is in comic strip form and regarded as classic literature.  What sort of language is being internalized by students? Is Common Core’s rigor the internalization of vulgarity? This is Advanced Placement English?   This is college ready? This is the sort of thing that was being used in low level Adult Basic Education classes only a few years ago to help people read at the middle school level. Now this is college ready?

There are some redeeming values in the story. For example, when the universities are closed the mother realizes she will have to give up her driver’s license. The daughter recognizes that she will not be able to get a degree in chemistry or visit her friend in the U.S.  However, the story is still full of anti-American sentiment and makes motherhood sound like a burden.

In reading the banal level of English used in this piece of literature, one is prompted to reflect on the comments of Jason Zimba on the Common Core Standards when he told the Massachusetts Board of Education that college ready was  a ‘minimal’ of preparation and a ‘fuzzy definition.’ Apparently, the ability to read four letter words makes one college ready in Common Core.

 

 

 

Authored by Allison Martinez – The Free Patriot