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Catcher in the Rye dropped from US school curriculum

American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in US 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 JD 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 US 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.

by Anonymousreply 4412/11/2012

Common Core State Standards is not a goverment agency. They merely suggest what should be on the curriculum. Individual schools can use them, or ignore them.

by Anonymousreply 112/07/2012

Well, those were my two least favorite books in high school, so I can agree with that part of the directive. Why don't they replace those infantile texts - I like to call them "Mopey White Boy" and "White Folk Congratulate Themselves", respectively - with fiction that actually challenges students and teachers, though?

by Anonymousreply 212/07/2012

Wouldn't training manuals be a bad idea, given how they're continually being updated and reissued with new instructions? By the time they've finished school a lot of what they have read would be out of date.

by Anonymousreply 312/07/2012

What the fuck is up with people like R2 always dragging whiteness into it whenever they want to critique something that has nothing to do with anyones race? So weird.

by Anonymousreply 412/07/2012

I agree with R2. I see it as being a fast way of alluding to the 'safeness' of those novels... White people are the majority, and so many of them hate truly transgressive things.

Which novels would we recommend to replace those two useless ones?

by Anonymousreply 512/07/2012

Oh please, R4. Replace "white" with "black" and you'd have a riot on your hands.

by Anonymousreply 612/07/2012

The novels are hardly useless - they're part of our American heritage. Having said that, if they want to replace them with something there are about a zillion choices from authors of color, many of them non fiction. I guess the thinking is that students who wish can be exposed to certain novels at the college level, but doesn't that assume that everyone's going to college? This is a bit dodgy.

by Anonymousreply 712/07/2012

Everybody in education knows that the text book companies print what the fundies in the state of Texas tell them to print. Those are the text books everybody else has to use.

by Anonymousreply 812/07/2012

Yet another reason to home school.

by Anonymousreply 912/07/2012

R8, I live in Texas. I teach at UTA. Shut the fuck up.

by Anonymousreply 1012/07/2012

R10 is there anything in R8 post that is not true?

by Anonymousreply 1112/07/2012

Silly Brits think anyone has the authority to control the curriculum in 46 states. What do you think we are? A parliamentary monarchy?

by Anonymousreply 1212/07/2012

[quote]In 2009, the nation watched in awe as the (Texas)state board worked on approving a new science curriculum under the leadership of a chair who believed that “evolution is hooey.” In 2010, the subject was social studies and the teachers tasked with drawing up course guidelines were supposed to work in consultation with “experts” added on by the board, one of whom believed that the income tax was contrary to the word of God in the scriptures.

[quote]Texas originally acquired its power over the nation’s textbook supply

What were you saying, R10?

by Anonymousreply 1312/07/2012

R8, & R10, that is true. I've worked on a couple of educational publishing mergers. These companies don't make the money they used to because of alternative media, the lack of profitability in publishing generally, etc. As a consequence, they standardize as much as possible to reduce costs. Unfortunately Texas is a major purchaser, so the pubs feel compelled to to write to their approved curriculum (without going too far off the range). Otherwise they would lose a major portion of their revenues. I'm sure if a small state with a small school population adopted a loony curriculum, pubs would ignore them.

by Anonymousreply 1412/07/2012

This doesn't even make any sense. How is an English class supposed to teach those books?

by Anonymousreply 1512/07/2012

R13 Its not just science the knuckle draggers in Texas are after. History too, is under attack.

[quote]Three reviewers, appointed by social conservatives, have recommended revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.

An interesting article. Did you know in Texas, Watergate wasn't caused because Nixon was a corrupt scumbag, it was really a punishment from God for the nation's wicked liberal ways?

Seriously. God punished liberals by getting rid of Nixon.

by Anonymousreply 1612/07/2012

Okay, I get that Texas is a huge market, but why would any schools in any of the blue states want to buy these books??

by Anonymousreply 1712/07/2012

[quote] Okay, I get that Texas is a huge market, but why would any schools in any of the blue states want to buy these books??

Because they don't have the money to pay for other editions to be created?

by Anonymousreply 1812/07/2012

Damn - this is sad. It's the dumbing down of America.

When I was in school I read Catcher in the Rye, Brave New World, 1984, Black Like Me, and too many to list. They were commentaries on the times.

I pity the kid that doesn't have to read those books today.

by Anonymousreply 1912/07/2012

So you object to them, r2, because they're about white people?

You'd better explain yourself.

by Anonymousreply 2012/07/2012

[quote]You'd better explain yourself.

uh oh

by Anonymousreply 2112/07/2012

R20 will take out that schoolmarm ruler in just a minute!

by Anonymousreply 2212/07/2012

I'll bet Farenheit 451 is gone too.

That's ALL English should be teaching. Works of fiction by brilliant authors.

Non-fiction belongs in history classes. English classes are about fiction.

Or are Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Ray Bradbury and the likes just people who once created stuff that no one wants to bother to read or learn today?

Reading and analyzing brilliant novels and short stories was the highlight of my high school day. Definitely a more creative place for me to thrive than in calculus classes. I've used neither in my professional adult life, but reading wonderful writings definitely expanded by way of thinking, my imagination, and thought processes.

by Anonymousreply 2312/09/2012

My school is on track with these new standards. We were originally told 85% of the reading should be non-fiction and English classes were now considered "Language Arts". Suggested reading texts included "The Federalist Papers". As a Lit major, I was furious.

We were later informed that, as part of a literacy push, all classes should include reading and that the 85% was meant for the ENTIRE day, so we could continue including some fiction into the curriculum. Another solution we had was to do more "article response" writing assignments to align with the non-fiction reading requirement.

Oh yeah...also turned out our newly adopted text book (published by Pearson) had our state's secretary of Education on their board. Hmmm....

by Anonymousreply 2412/10/2012

1. By not using literary texts to teach reading, it's clearly an attempt to limit critical thinking and prevent 'disruptive' ideas from invading young minds.

2. By using technical manuals, it prepares people sufficiently to be part of a permanent working class of factory workers, service workers, and other hired help, but not idea people to run companies. It's not racist, it's classist.

3. Propapanda political texts would fall into non-fiction. Bios of people, Palin's book, all fall into the category of non-fiction. What you couldn't openly teach in a civics class would be easy fodder for consumption. Do any of us think Maddow's Drift or Hayes Twilight of the Elites would make the reading lists?

by Anonymousreply 2512/10/2012

"He loved Big Brother."

Oh well, so much for literary allusions.

by Anonymousreply 2612/10/2012

"And heretoforth, a redareth babe sprang forth from my Alaskan twat."

by Anonymousreply 2712/10/2012

Another useless white boy novel we were forced to read in high school, " A Separate Peace." This was an excruciatingly dull read for a working class ethnic female.

by Anonymousreply 2812/10/2012

I could see that, R28. I got off on it, though - it was so homoerotic. The description of Brinker's buttocks was a pleasant surprise.

by Anonymousreply 2912/10/2012

GOOD. The single most overrated novel ever written. His short stories are infinitely better.

by Anonymousreply 3012/10/2012

David Coleman is insufferable

by Anonymousreply 3112/11/2012

This is the latest episode of "The Dumbing Down of America."

by Anonymousreply 3212/11/2012

[quote]American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in US 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.

That sounds like something out of Soviet Russia, or China, where literature, individuality, and thought are outlawed.

Preparing them for a life of low-pay drudgery and no freedom.

by Anonymousreply 3312/11/2012

It also makes kids HATE reading. Think about all of the adults you know who hate reading. Who when asked the last book they read, proudly answer with something that they were forced to read in high school? Now imagine if they'd cut their teeth on a "plant manual" instead of Catcher in the Rye?

by Anonymousreply 3412/11/2012

Even when these books were part of the curriculum, no one read them anyway, so I don't see why people are throwing a fit that students will continue to not read literature.

by Anonymousreply 3512/11/2012

R34, is right. It will make kids hate reading, and have no desire to read. Even more than now. They want an ignorant, robot nation. Even more than currently exists.

by Anonymousreply 3612/11/2012

They should make IKEA assembly manuals required reading.

by Anonymousreply 3712/11/2012

R35, despite the highfaluting tastes of DLer's a lot of what we're made to read in high school sucks already especially when put thro the lens of what our language for better or worse grew. The Canterbury Tales (even with its ribald stuff that should appeal to teens) is damn near another language. It's frustrating for kids. And then making them decipher a story about two suicidal kids for a month is just too much.

At least Catcher in the Rye made a little sense to kids. Plant manuals? It's the Prussian School System not even trying to disguise itself. It was made to have patriotic, loyal subjects to the King who were too cowed to question authority. In fact that craved authority. It trained them to be nothing more than factory workers and soldiers. It also led to Hitler. Now I have Godwinned this thread but think about what kind of right wing dictator a lot of Freepers would love to have.

by Anonymousreply 3812/11/2012

I think it might be a blessing in disguise that 'Catcher in the Rye' dropped from US school curriculum.

I believe that people get more intimate with a book if they read it without the pressure of school. It is becoming more personal and fun.

'Catcher in the Rye' and 'Franny and Zooey' are books that everyone should discover and give that pleasure to themselves. School is school and pleasure is pleasure.

by Anonymousreply 3912/11/2012

Even though I hated Catcher in the Rye ("Wah! It's so hard being a straight rich white guy! WAHH!"), I don't see why they can't teach both.

by Anonymousreply 4012/11/2012

r33, in the 50's the Communists promised to destroy America through the churches and schools. Looks like they're still trying.

by Anonymousreply 4112/11/2012

Damn Commies!

by Anonymousreply 4212/11/2012

Holden suffers a breakdown following the death of his brother. I liked the book when I was a young man. I also think it can open up the joy of reading to many teenagers.

by Anonymousreply 4312/11/2012

I agree with R39 that discovering it on your own is more intimate and pleasurable. That is how I discovered Catcher and the other Salinger books. They are suited for such reading. I was actually surprised when I learned it was taught at school.

Agree with R43. It was the book that sparked the joy of reading in me. It seemed so vivid, so loveable, and exciting compared to what I had read before.

It (and other works of literature) is being dropped to create a more docile, grunt population. They actually banned The Catcher in the Rye for years. Now they found a way to get rid of it. No doubt what they don't like is its spirit of rebellion.

by Anonymousreply 4412/11/2012
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