Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Why all the cool kids are reading Executive Order 13423
A war of words is brewing. But this one doesn’t involve slinging insults. It’s a battle over what forms of writing – novels, poems, and non-fiction – will define English instruction for millions of American schoolchildren in the years to come. Sparking this war is the Common Core standards push – an effort to nationalize the standards and assessments upon which every public school in America would base its curriculum. The Obama administration has poured billions of dollars into the effort via federal “Race to the Top” grants. As always when it comes to federal largesse, there are strings attached. And in this case, it’s pulling the rug out from under classic literature. Literacy experts point out that The Common Core denigrates the value of teaching literature in the classroom. Instead, English teachers are being told that 50 percent of their course material must be derived from “informational texts.” (Actually, the informational text requirement starts at a “mere” 25 percent of reading material for kindergarteners. It rises to 70 percent for high school seniors.) What, exactly, meets the definition of informational texts? Among those recommended on the national standards list we find The Federal Reserve Bank’s “FedViews,” “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag,” and “Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas.” And, roll over “For Whom the Bell Tolls” it’s time to make way for that GSA classic: “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” Thus is the literary genius of Washington bureaucrats elevated over that of Hugo, Heller, and Huxley. Eschewing great literature for ghastly technical reports doesn’t make much sense to those charged with getting young people to read—hopefully with some degree of enthusiasm. And there’s a total lack of research suggesting that education will be advanced by a forced march to Executive Orders...more