Government Information Documents Replace Traditional Curriculum as Feds Seize More Control of Schools

In schools across the country, traditional literature is being replaced with government informational texts.

It is the result of the Common Core standards transition from teaching literature to focusing on government provided informational documents. “English teachers across the country are trying to figure out which poetry, short stories and novels might have to be sacrificed to make room for nonfiction,” The Washington Post reported.

This is not sitting well with some teachers. Jamie Highfill, an eighth-grade English teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas, said that she has had to ditch “some short stories and a favorite unit on the legends of King Arthur to make room for essays by Malcolm Gladwell and a chapter from ‘The Tipping Point.’ Highfill goes on to explain that with the informational texts, the human connection prominent in literature, isn’t present.  She expressed dismay over the fact that her students are bored and shutting down. “I’m seeing more behavior problems in my classroom than I’ve ever seen.”

Perhaps the biggest concern, however, is that these informational documents could usher in a politicized curriculum. National Review’s Stanley Kurtz cites the fact that one of Common Core’s suggested texts is Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management. Kurtz believes that this particular executive order was chosen because it “appears to give the imprimatur of the federal government to the political gospel of ‘sustainability’ and the crusade against global warming.”

Also included as Common Core recommended reading is a 2009 New Yorker essay on health care which, Kurtz notes,”may not explicitly endorse Obamacare, but it certainly leaves students with the impression that Obamacare is wise policy.” He adds that, “the potential for political abuse in a curriculum heavy with government documents and news articles should be obvious.”

It has been reported that though the Common Core impetus has so far only targeted English language arts and math, more subjects will eventually be included. For instance, Education Week has reported that the “release of a framework for common standards in social studies had been anticipated at the annual meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies, in Seattle last month.”

According to the Heritage Foundation:

 ”Since coming to office, the Obama Administration has been intent on standardizing what is taught at each grade level in all of the nation’s schools. It has used its flagship “Race to the Top” competitive grant program to entice states to adopt the K–12 standards developed by a joint project of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). It has also suggested, in its 2009 Blueprint for Education Reform, that adoption of these common standards could one day be a qualification for states wanting future Title 1 dollars for low-income schools.

Parents, teachers, and education leaders along the political spectrum are increasingly raising questions about the constitutionality and transparency of this joint project, called the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). They are also expressing concern about the high cost of implementing the standards and the national tests that will be based on them, as well as the potential loss of local control of curriculum and instruction.”

The move towards the centralization of education standards significantly minimizes the amount of important input from parents and teachers on what children are taught in school. In order to prevent the encroachment of federal control of schools, states must reject the impending national education standards.