Thursday, August 18, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading

CURMUDGUCATION: No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading:

No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading


At this point, there is nobody-- absolutely nobody-- who can match the Center for American Progress in senseless devotion to the Common Core State [sic] Standards. CAP, the left-tilted thinky tank founded by Hillary Clinton's campaign chief John Podesta, has remained absolutely unflinching in their support of the standards, no matter how little sense they are making.

For instance, yesterday we get this piece from Melissa Lazarin, a CAP policy advisor with no actual background in education. Her piece is entitled "Reading, Writing, and the Common Core State Standards" and does not include the sub-heading "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others." She then goes on to demonstrate a lack of understanding about English language instruction.

She opens with the uncredited (but credible) data point that more high school students read The Fault Is in Our Stars and Divergent than read MacBeth or Hamlet. Yes, that could well be true.

Lazarin is bothered because the popular teen lit books do not have complex texts. In fact, she's worried that the lack of complexity in their reading and writing will make them unprepared for college. And she goes on to demonstrate how thoroughly she misunderstands the nature of reading and reading instruction:

Three of the top five most commonly assigned titles in grades 9 through 12 are To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible, and Of Mice and Men. All three books, while classics, are not particularly challenging in terms of sentence structure and complexity. 

Yes, so? This is the great reading fallacy of the standards-- the notion that reading is somehow a series of discrete tasks, skills that can exist independent of any content, and that in fact content is irrelevant, even unnecessary. This is nonsense, like trying to learn a language without learning the 
CURMUDGUCATION: No, CAP-- CCSS Is Not the Path to Better Reading:




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