With the Common Core national education standards coming under increased scrutiny from conservative activists, Republican politicians, and even teachers unions, The Daily Caller News Foundation took a look at the Obama administration’s recommended reading list for K-12 kids.
Common Core’s English standards stress nonfiction over literature. By grade 12, 70 percent of what students read should be informational rather than literary. Supporters of the guidelines say an increased focus on informational texts will better prepare kids for post-college employment.
Many of these nonfiction texts come from government websites and promote the findings of various government agencies.
Some might find the texts a bit dry. (And that’s without including “Kenya’s Long Dry Season.”)
Here are a few recommended informational texts.
- “Invasive Plant Inventory,” by the California Invasive Plant Council. This is just a list of invasive plant species in California.
- “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” by the U.S. General Services Administration. The executive order was made under President Bush’s administration, and calls for efficiency and sustainability to be driving motivations in resource management.
- “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While assuredly a fascinating read, The DC News Foundation was unable to review “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” because the website was hacked.
- “FedViews,” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. This report from 2009 explains that the federal stimulus helped to stabilize the economy and asserts that there is no link between deficit spending and inflation.
On the other hand, the fiction reading list does include many acclaimed, time-tested works of literature, such as Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451,” which warns of a future society where an authoritarian government has made literature illegal in order to suppress individuality and creativity.
But critics of Common Core worry that the balance is way off, and that boring government documents might turn kids away from reading.
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