Friday, May 3, 2013

Common Core ELA Standards Letter to Governor Herbert

Governor Herbert,

Literature was the focus of my university studies and I am shocked and frustrated that Common Core Standards will limit the study of the classics to 30% of what it has been in the past. The Common Core ELA standards are equal to book burning. A teacher does have the ability to choose To Kill A Mocking Bird OR A Tale of Two Cities, but they will have to choose. They won't have time to expose students to both. The amount of literature students had the time to study to was already so small.

It is a tragedy. The fact that our educators don't understand the value of great writing shows the cancer that has invaded our current system, a movement to create a Godless, valueless society where only vulgarity passes as art.

Great writing creates great writers. We learn how to write best from studying great literature. We learn about shared values. We learn the consequences of both good and bad choices without having to experiment personally. We learn about our rich culture and heritage when we study the works of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson and others.

Can a presidential executive order or some tract from the EPA really replace the wisdom that can be learned from Tolkien or Shakespeare? Will students even continue to read if dry technical writing dominates 70% of the choice?

We already have plenty of informational texts; there are called math books, science books, geography books, health books and history books. If anything, our children are desperate for the stories that communicate our history and culture, our faith and values as a society. Is it because these precious books are so rich in the ideals that made this nation great that the classics are being targeted for removal from the classroom?

It is incumbent upon our generation to pass our rich literary heritage to the next generation. Abandon the Common Core Standards. Utah can do far better.

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