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I'm in Australia so I don't know much about this but one of our passionate members (lalaith913) has brought this to our attention and asked us to share it. I'll copy and past the information from the Article on


Catcher in the Rye Dropped From US School Curriculum

Schools in America are to drop classic books such as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye from their curriculum in favour of 'informational texts'.

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.


What are your thoughts and opinions about this? I encourage you all to comment to other deviants comments as well :aww:
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Adonael Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Literature fuels our capacity to create things. If people stopped inventing, we'd cease.

Also...I think we've evolved enough as people to be intelligent enough to read a manual all by ourselves.
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
The "news" article is the real work of fiction here.

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 is, books through the ENTIRE curriculum, not just English. You don't read fiction in math, biology, or social studies classes, do you? All this is doing is trying to create a little drama for traffic. These: [link] are the real English class standards in America. Key points to note:

Through reading a diverse array of classic and contemporary literature as well as challenging informational texts in a range of subjects, students are expected to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspective.

The standards mandate certain critical types of content for all students, including classic myths and stories from around the world, foundational U.S. documents, seminal works of American literature, and the writings of Shakespeare.

And if we head on over to the Myth VS Fact link on the page:

Myth: English teachers will be asked to teach science and social studies reading materials.

Fact: With the Common Core ELA Standards, English teachers will still teach their students literature as well as literary non‐fiction. However, because college and career readiness overwhelmingly focuses on complex texts outside of literature, these standards also ensure students are being prepared to read, write, and research across the curriculum, including in history and science. These goals can be achieved by ensuring that teachers in other disciplines are also focusing on reading and writing to build knowledge within their subject areas.

TL;DR - somebody didn't do any research at all, which would explain why there isn't a single source linked on the Telegraph article page. Don't get too riled up over a lie.
ActsofArt Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
you know it is questionable the lack of sources. thanks for bringing this up.
pianokeys457 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Student Writer
"American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in US classrooms by 2014." That statement just makes me uncomfortable. Plant inventories. Excuse my ignorance, but I honestly see no point in stuffing students with facts coming from plant inventories, especially in a US English class.

I mean, then there's this, "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." I agree with the teacher, Mr. Highfill, here. Culture and creativity are vital to the world. I feel like this is just the beginning of society trying ti herd the nation into desk jobs.

Not to mention, how many students do you think are going to lose the motivation and interest they need to excel in the class? Quite a lot, if you ask me.

I have one last thing to say: my mother is not a native English speaker. When she came over to America from Taiwan, she did not learn English by plain non-fiction works. She learned from everyday conversations (of course) and stories, like the very novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. If you asked her today about her experience, she might name some of the first American books she read, but chances are, insulation manuals and other "informational texts" aren't going to be on that list. And yes, she does hold an extremely successful office job at the moment, despite not having plant inventories to learn from.
death-in-the-orchard Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student Writer
This is my first time hearing about this, and it doesn't make much sense to me.
With students reading Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Plato's Republic while studying ancient Greece in World History - the Humanities already build upon one another and contribute to (nonfiction) education. In order to understand a novel like To Kill A Mockingbird, you need to understand the setting, which is not entirely fictional - it has a place in history that revolves around the issues of racism at the time and the influence the Civil War's conclusion had on the South. Existentialism, other philosophical concepts, and history, which may be contained in a work of fiction, is valuable knowledge.
This change [replacing classic literature with 'informative texts'] is based on the conclusion that works of fiction have nothing to contribute to a student's education, whereas just by looking at the material that accompanies the lessons that introduce/address classic literature, novels are not as empty as has been assumed here (classic literature has been falsely represented here) - making this change unnecessary. The problem that is (apparently) being suggested is that US students are lacking (perhaps compared to students in other countries, as has been claimed elsewhere) in part BECAUSE they are reading fiction instead of "more valuable/more useful" nonfiction works like those that have been suggested. (This arbitrary judgement is total nonsense in my opinion. I would personally get nothing from these recomendations - which have zero interest value in my mind - and would be completed via memorization/flashcards. Maybe the people proposing these changes should consider the role self-motivation has in the retention of information (a.k.a. learning, and not retaining information for a short period of time for the purpose of vomiting it onto a scantron and earning a fatter GPA), a 'retention' which is not achieved through a 'compulsory' education. The beliefs that are being used to calculate the improvement this change will produce have no substance. (They should justify this change before they enforece it.) Since, the inferiority of US students - which has been claimed - does not have any obvious evidence indicating that it is caused by the way English classes are taught.)
Every field of knowledge (the humanities, sciences, etc.) is supported by creativity so long as progress in that field is initiated by the imagination (as all progress tends to be). The humanities pursue knowledge explaining the human experience of reality while science is assumed to focus solely on the objective/physical reality not determined by the individual experience of the world (and to produce only fact, though science is influenced by the beliefs/cultures of the scientists who report their discoveries) while neuroscience and psychology delve into the human mind where experiments are founded on creative ideas - invading the humanities as science explores the material used by artists, authors, philosophers, etc. The humanities are supported by human experience (which is dubbed 'subjective' and unfairly assumed to be unsubstantial) while science is supported by physical experience - that being experiments/the demonstration of the discovery, which is the most effective way of convincing a person that something is fact/truth.

If the growth/development of creativity is retarded, then the mind is denied a form of nurishment that would have otherwise benefitted the individual's problem solving skills and ingenuity, etc. A balanced education has already become an idea rather than a practice, crippling it further seems illogical.
H-A-Cooke Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Cionie Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks for sharing! I'm American and this is the first I've heard of this...
It's disgusting, really, where people's priorities lie when making discussions of change. There are always so many variables to consider when looking at what can be 'cut' and then replaced by something else that has been deemed as a 'higher priority'. I understand the need to introduce students to more non-fiction but don't sacrifice something like this for it! There are plenty of less important things that could be sacrificed in it's place, or even change the way the curriculum is organized to make room!

Or better yet, make a separate class for this stuff... high school English class is reserved for encouraging the creative process and bettering written communication skills... This sort of factual information should be reserved for business focused classes.
lalaith913 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013   Writer
As the one who brought the article to the attention of ITU, if anyone is interested in my own feelings on the topic, I ask that you read the article before considering this journal [link]. I would prefer you visit my thoughts only after forming your own since I feel reading an opinion first can hold just as much influence over a person' s reaction as the information itself. Thanks!
H-A-Cooke Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Here is my opinion: [link]
apollosguardian1990 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You know, I would say I'm shocked about this, but I'm really not. This disgusts me to no end. The teacher is right, they are sucking the creativity from the English classroom. What if the students wanted to be novelists when they graduated? Guess what, they will not be prepared for that with "factual" information. *sigh*

On the same note, it's just about lowering the standards so that more kids will graduate, since the number has been dropping quite rapidly, at least in Texas, I could be wrong about other states.

But at the same time, I believe this will not be as big of a deal. In my high school, the presenting of more "factual" information will do nothing either way, since I had students in my graduating class that couldn't read much less pick up something written by Shakespeare.....*sigh again* These poor poor kids.....I am homeschooling my child.
MistressofQuills Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student Writer
I agree! I want to be a novelist, for example, and now I'm thanking God that I was privileged enough to attend a private high school! What I read in English class definitely had a huge influence on that decision!

I see what you mean, but at the same time, of the kids that graduate, a higher number than ever go on to college. I think that's where any kind of resriction should be placed. If you're an engineering major? Maybe you don't want to take an English class at all, so you go for the one with the least difficulty and reading....still's sad:iconbigsighplz:
apollosguardian1990 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, i see what you mean with college. I agree with that, but in my case its more because i want an English major without having to take a math class haha.

I wish i had gone to a private high school, might have graduated with better grades lol
MistressofQuills Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Student Writer
I'm in the same position haha except that for now, I don't have to take any math because my SAT scores got me out of any:D

Yeah, there are a lot of pros and cons to going to a private school. The best thing about it is that it completely prepared me for college. So far, my senior year in high school was much harder than my freshman year in college! And I'm going to a private college...
apollosguardian1990 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
holy cow! lol i wish my SAT scores would get me somewhere haha, but the only part high on them is anything english related....blah lol

private school for my kid it is then lol!
MistressofQuills Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Student Writer
Well that's good right? lol that way you might get out of 100 level writing or English classes:D Haha yeah private schools CAN be good, but in some ways they can be worse than public lol:iconbigsighplz:
apollosguardian1990 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
yeah i get ya. but, without the nonsense, how can we be sure we even went to high school at all? lol! high school, private or not, is all varying levels of drama, at least thats how i saw high school. lol
MistressofQuills Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Writer
Oh I guess that's true haha:laughing: you're right...but get this: I was talking with a girl who was going to public high school last year, and when I told her a tiny little bit about the drama that used to go on at my school, she said we had 5 times as much drama as she did at her school! lol
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Submitted on
January 9, 2013