The progressive takeover of the public schools—dreamed up by John Dewey and put into practice over the course of at least the last sixty years—has produced nothing other than absurdity, superficiality, and political bias in the nation’s classrooms. So utterly impoverished has become the quality of schooling and the nation’s conversation about it, that whenever a so-called “reform” comes into existence—engineered by the same folks who brought us school failure in the first place—we can hardly recognize it for the shell game that it is and the continued decline that it will produce.
Such is now the case with the Common Core, whose effects on the teaching of English are fivefold: a continuation of the mind-numbing ways of teaching literature that have plagued the schools for the last four or five decades; the further erosion of great literature by chopping up any remaining classics into slim excerpts almost hidden in the monstrous anthologized textbooks; the transparent promotion of post-modern and multicultural authors who paint a bleak, anti-heroic view of human life and of this country; the introduction of so-called “informational texts” (non-fiction works, often recently written) frequently lacking in literary value and whose purpose is outright political indoctrination; and the wholesale misinterpretation of American principles and what is generally called the good. We see the effects of this story-killing combination when we bother to look into actual textbooks—which essentially control the lessons of the public schools.
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