If You Have a Problem, Consult 10th Newspeak Dictionary

Via The Corner at NRO, I’ve learned that “common core state standards in English spark a war over words.”  The Post article I’m quoting is currently a page not found, but it’s still up at The Independent:

“The Common Core State Standards in English, which have been adopted in 46 states and the District, call for public schools to ramp up nonfiction so that by 12th grade students will be reading mostly ‘informational text’ instead of fictional literature. . . .

Proponents of the new standards, including the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, say U.S. students have suffered from a diet of easy reading and lack the ability to digest complex nonfiction, including studies, reports and primary documents. That has left too many students unprepared for the rigors of college and demands of the workplace, experts say.”

A “diet of easy reading” is one of the big problems in schools these days.  Huh.  The problem’s nothing to do with the dog’s breakfast already known as public school textbooks.  Well never fear–we’ve got our Little Helpers In DC to straighten out the problem:

“The new standards, which are slowly rolling out now and will be in place by 2014, require that nonfiction texts represent 50 percent of reading assignments in elementary schools, and the requirement grows to 70 percent by grade 12.

Among the suggested nonfiction pieces for high school juniors and seniors are Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” “FedViews,” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2009) and “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” published by the General Services Administration.”

Notice the little bit of chaff used to throw us off:  de Tocqueville.  Nothing wrong with a more vigorous curriculum that requires some classic foundations of political philosophy, is there?

Maybe I’d be sold, notwithstanding the fact that de Tocqueville belongs in history, social studies, or some kind of government or civics class, not english.  When the de Tocqueville example is immediately followed by stereo instructions from a Federal Reserve Bank, and then a bureaucratic, Dilbert-inspired double-speaking document full of fluffy non-action action plans and catch phrases (Caveat:  I haven’t read that particular executive order.  Does anybody want to check my description for accuracy?), I can’t help but wonder exactly what kind of “workplace demands” for which these educators are preparing our young people.

A particular movie scene comes to mind.  Requiring students to read excessive amounts of tedious legalese might prepare them quite nicely for that cozy little cubicle in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, as seen at 6:00:

crossposted at Disrupt the Narrative

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17 thoughts on “If You Have a Problem, Consult 10th Newspeak Dictionary

  1. [...] cross-posted at No One Of Any Import [...]

  2. heathermc 6 December 2012 at 12:48 am Reply

    Interesting they should suggest de Tocqueville for an English class. Wasn’t de Tocqueville French, and his ‘Democracy in America written’, originally, in French?

    Also, odd they wouldn’t suggest any of the Federalist Papers, all of whom were written in English, actual real English.

    Altho, let’s face it, there is a ton of fictional material available to public schools, both prose and poetry. To replace them with the dead wood of bureaucrat – ese is – actually – a sin against the English language.

    Thinking about this some more, I think this is just another example of thumping stupidity in the Dept of Education. Linda, good for you: your sons are not being hammered by such lowbrow foolishness.

    • nooneofanyimport 6 December 2012 at 8:31 am Reply

      aw, thanks Heathermc. It really is mind-boggling, that they think this change will improve the reading/writing capacity of students overall.

  3. Citizen Tom 6 December 2012 at 9:44 pm Reply

    It is not hard to figure out why they want our children to read the dead wood of bureaucrat – ese. Think about who produces that stuff — whose pride and joy it is. If they cannot MAKE somebody read it, except for lawyers and accountants nobody ever will read it.

    We want to put politicians in charge of the education of our children? Then this is what we will get.

  4. heathermc 9 December 2012 at 5:33 pm Reply

    And here are two wonderful stories you and your boys will love:
    http://www.online-literature.com/donne/1041/ (The Ransom of Red Chief)
    and
    http://www.online-literature.com/o_henry/1014/ (Gift of the Magi). If you haven’t read them, do so, they are fun, and INFINITELY more interesting than a government brochure. The author, O Henry, wrote short stores at the beginning of the 1900s, and these 2 are the most famous of them

    • edge of the sandbox 12 December 2012 at 2:28 pm Reply

      I love O Henry. He was quite popular among the adolescent in the Soviet Union. He just seemed so… American! And so cool.

  5. KingShamus 11 December 2012 at 10:40 am Reply

    We’re making a nation of drones.

    Congratulations, Orwell. You were right.

  6. edge of the sandbox 12 December 2012 at 2:24 pm Reply

    Raising good little bureaucrats.

  7. [...] NoneOfAnyImport If You Have a Problem, Consult 10th Newspeak Dictionary [...]

  8. heathermc 17 December 2012 at 5:57 pm Reply

    the slaughter at Newton school is actually another good argument for home schooling. Schools seem to be powerless when such crises occur.

  9. heathermc 18 December 2012 at 2:27 am Reply

    as lefties run around in circles gnashing their teeth denouncing gun ownership, do you know what they are proposing, something that will ‘empower’ them, make them feel less useless? Write a letter to the Brady Orgn. Honestly.

  10. [...] If You Have a Problem, Consult 10th Newspeak Dictionary [...]

  11. Conservatives on Fire 24 December 2012 at 8:25 am Reply

    Merry Christmas, Lin!

  12. AFVet 24 December 2012 at 3:39 pm Reply

    Merry Christmas Linda.
    God Bless you and yours.

  13. [...] DH got me the new Camille Paglia’s book for Hanukkah.  Paglia wrote the book to promote fundamental understanding of the arts, something that the American educational system failed to do.  It gets worse.  Today, the “common core standards” adopted by 46 states favor non-fiction over literature.  And by “non-fiction” educational system bureaucrats mean bureaucratic drivel. [...]

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