Education
Dreaming in Cuban pages. Photo: Eagnews.org Dreaming in Cuban pages. Photo: Eagnews.org  

Fifty Shades of the Common Core: how much porn is too much for high schoolers?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a project that attempts to standardize various K-12 curricula around the country. By design, American students subject to the Common Core will experience a reading regime that focuses heavily on nonfiction.

There will be a slice of fiction here and there, though. One such slice for sophomores at Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Ariz. is an utterly minor 1992 novel called “Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia, reports Eagnews.org.

An unidentified parent claimed in an email to Eagnews that “Dreaming in Cuban” was assigned to everyone in one of her son’s 10th-grade classes. In addition, students read the book out loud during class.

And what a book for high schoolers to read out loud!

“Hugo and Felicia stripped in their room, dissolving easily into one another, and made love against the whitewashed walls. Hugo bit Felicia’s breast and left purplish bands of bruises on her upper thighs. He knelt before her in the tub and massaged black Spanish soap between her legs. He entered her repeatedly from behind.”

That steamy, erotic passage comes from page 80 of “Dreaming,” in a chapter called “The Fire Between Them.” The passage continues:

“Felicia learned what pleased him. She tied his arms above his head with their underclothing and slapped him sharply when he asked.

“‘You’re my bitch,’” Hugo said, groaning.

“In the morning he left, promising to return in the summer.”

A front-cover blurb of a New York Times book review by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michiko Kakutani describes the novel as “Dazzling…Remarkable.”

“Dreaming in Cuban” can be found on page 152 among the many recommended texts in a very lengthy Appendix B of the “Common Core Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.”

What “Dreaming in Cuban” is doing tucked in the midst of various classics such as Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms” and Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” is perhaps a question only Jeb Bush and Arne Duncan can answer.

The Appendix also helpfully points teachers, students and others to the official webpage hawking the novel’s author, Cristina Garcia. There’s a huge, unavoidable advertisement for her latest novel, “King of Cuba.” You can also find out how to book Garcia for an event or enroll in an expensive writers’ workshop taught by Garcia.

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