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BendtheBar 12-07-2012 11:43 AM

Books: In with the non-fiction
Catcher in the Rye dropped from US school curriculum - Telegraph


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.

5kgLifter 12-07-2012 11:54 AM

So, out with historical and social culture found in novels, as well as interpretation and imagination...sounds like a great plan.

Something has definitely gone wrong somewhere; in days gone by, they had novels as well as informational studies, including latin, and they turned out educated enough to function in society; levels of insulation texts are hardly going to help the next up and coming brain surgeons either.

moeheep 12-07-2012 11:55 AM

Some people at work and I, were just the other day saying how we wish we had learned more about insulation levels back in high school school...I mean R-11, R-19, Radiant barrier, how we got this far I dont know!!!!!

Also, who dosent sit around discussing the need to increase their knowledge of invasive plants on a weekly, if not daily, basis????

I feel slighted...I better call up an attorney, and sue the state for not educating me well enough to succeed in life.

BendtheBar 12-07-2012 11:58 AM

Remember the good old days when we prepared students for the workplace by teach them reading, writing, math, speech and typing?

Yeah, I remember those days.

I am confident that texts on insulation will prepare our kids for the workplace and help make them self-reliant problem solvers.

Fazc 12-07-2012 12:37 PM

I've long maintained one of the side effects of a curriculum which tries to cater to everyone is that the top end aren't pushed as they should be.

It's a difficult balance to maintain and no matter which direction we take, there are going to be a lot of implications and inevitably some group or other suffers. Ultimately if you want to really push the top end students you would separate students by ability not in just some but in all subjects, but then how do you account for late bloomers and a somewhat-negative view of the bottom set kids? It's just not possible within the current system, so contradictions and silly stuff like this will happen, but understanding the bigger picture here is vital.

Hazzard 12-07-2012 01:05 PM

Without imagination we wouldn't have Twilight and the world would be a better place.

MikeM 12-07-2012 01:10 PM

One of the main problems with the American system, and there are many, is that it was originally intended as a way to socialize, indoctrinate, and create a common core of basic knowledge for a multitude of immigrants flooding the country, as well as push the former immigrants to socialize with the newer ones so that everybody could function in the workplace at a basic level. That's why the laws forcing school participation and such anachronisms as the Pledge every morning, etc.

That has changed over the years to try and force everyone into a college track or push the mimimum range to a "higher" level so that Americans could compete worldwide or rubbish like that, all the while paying teachers the minimum and letting urban and suburban schools crumble around them due to lack of money.

Our system is neither smart or efficient and it tries to do too many things at the expense of any specific achievable goals for individuals.

Everything has to be "equal" for everyone. Which of course means it is usefull for no one.

Teachers have a saying about the "no child left behind" law. We call it the every child left behind equally law.

It really is sad. And the idea that non-fiction is more important than fiction is offensive to me.

BendtheBar 12-07-2012 01:16 PM


Originally Posted by MikeM (Post 299125)
Teachers have a saying about the "no child left behind" law. We call it the every child left behind equally law.

It really is sad. And the idea that non-fiction is more important than fiction is offensive to me.

Thanks for these insights Mike. I always wondered how teachers view some of these programs.

Fazc 12-07-2012 01:18 PM


Originally Posted by MikeM (Post 299125)
Teachers have a saying about the "no child left behind" law. We call it the every child left behind equally law.

Interesting account of the american system Mike. But one thing, teachers don't have that saying, the government pen pushers enforce that.

5kgLifter 12-07-2012 01:22 PM

I read, a while back, that study books in the USA (possibly elsewhere as well but the article was US related) were getting heftier to the point that there was so much irrelevant info or info that kids just couldn't digest in the timeframe given which was resulting in less information being learned, instead of selecting info more carefully just throw a whole massive text at kids and expect them to learn it whether any of it is of use or not.

Personally, I think a lot of countries are encountering issues with their educational set-ups; up here, the Uni course leaders are astounded that people fresh out of secondary school (high school) are incapable fo working out a simplistic area formula either with a click roller thingy (I think you know what I mean but I can't remember what they call it) or with a calculator's a sad state of affairs. The 3 important areas they should be concentrating on, they've destroyed: writing, reading and arithmetic/mathematics (the two of which, as far as I recall, were never separated when I was at school but apparently these days they can select one or the other and that's just pure mental, IMO).

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