Friday, December 07, 2012

High School English Must Move Literature Aside to Make Room for Political Propaganda

The federal government will be requiring high school English teachers to drop Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and…who knows…maybe Stephen King to make room for reading “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.”

You think this is a joke? Or maybe a synopsis of a George Orwell story?

No. It's an example of how the Common Core State Standards in English, a new government requirement for the "public schools" will work. Let's call it ObamaCORE. And a more sinister, culturally destructive practice of brainwashing you can hardly imagine.

Paul Mirengoff  over at PowerLine has the story in this column, "Obamacore: The Substitution of Propaganda for Great Literature in our Schools." But please note -- even though I'm posting below a big chunk of Mirengoff's column, there's a lot more over there you need to know.

Controversy is brewing over new Common Core State Standards in English that call on public schools to emphasize the reading of “information text” instead of fictional literature. According to the Washington Post, English teachers across the country are upset by what they consider the government’s effort “to drive literature out of the classroom.”

English teachers are right to be upset, but they shouldn’t take it personally. The government has nothing much against literature, per se. Rather, this initiative is driven in large part by the desire to promote political propaganda in the classroom...

Consider that one of the “informational texts” recommended as a replacement for, say, Great Expectations is “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” Students would thus study government propaganda in English class (this Executive Order was issued under President Bush, but it is still propaganda — a political sop to the environmental left, as Stanley Kurtz shows).

Another Common Core’s non-fiction exemplar is an excerpt from a 2009 New Yorker essay by Atul Gawande on health care. This too is propaganda – an effort to show that Obamacare is wise policy.

Proponents of downgrading the teaching of literature claim that their goal is to make sure U.S. students can read and understand complicated texts. But there are plenty of complicated texts that don’t amount to political propaganda, much less propaganda relating to current hot-button policy issues in which the Obama administration is heavily invested. If teaching students how to read such texts were the only goal here, the list of exemplar tests wouldn’t include one-sided political tracts about health care and the environment.

Consider also where the Common Core comes from? The Washington Post tries to make it appear that the new curriculum percolated up from the states. But at the back end of its story we find that “the Obama administration kicked the notion into high gear when it required states to adopt the common standards — or an equivalent — in order to compete for Race to the Top grant funds.” (emphasis added).

The Common Core, then, should be viewed, at least in part, as an attempt by the Obama administration to gain control of what is taught in public schools for the purpose of indoctrination. As Stanley Kurtz puts it, “Obama has managed to press direct support for his most cherished and controversial policy initiative onto your local school district.”...

By the way, here's a tragic, frightening item from CNS News which helps bring the matter into perspective: "Only 7% of Detroit Public-School 8th Graders Proficient in Reading."