Common Core Sexualizes American School Children

Cuban cov

Newburgh New York school district yanked a ninth grade book considered by teachers to be “pornographic.”  An Arizona mother launched an avalanche of protest that forced Arizona schools to pull an eleventh grade book that portrays teens in a sado-masochistic relationship.  A Catholic school superintendent admits there were two first grade books about families—that included pictures of homosexual pairs—listed on the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative website, a resource for Catholic schools nationwide. These “family” books—The Family Book and Who’s in a Family—were removed from the website after parental protest.

Across the nation, in public and Catholic schools, parents and teachers have found sexually inappropriate materials in the exemplars recommended by Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  In some cases the offending material is removed. In others, parents are offered “opt out” choices for their children.  However, the question that looms large is, why has so much disturbing material been systematically built into the CCSS recommended texts?   Should a small cadre of unelected ideologues have nationwide power to decide that American first graders should be exposed to homosexual “families,” or, that ninth graders be given pornography in the guise of literature?  These questions and the examples outlined below shout for parental scrutiny and a return to local control of school districts.

Under New York State’s Common Core requirements, excerpts from the book, Black Swan Green, are required reading for ninth graders. Black Swan Green features a 13-year-old boy as the narrator who graphically describes his father’s genitals and a sex act.  It has been suggested that because all of the excerpts do not contain explicitly sexual material some students would read only the required portions of the book.  Others scoff at the idea that once the books are in a student’s possession that the sexually graphic material would be skipped over.  Indeed, CCSS itself directs teachers to the full texts: “When excerpts appear, they serve only as stand-ins for the full text. The Standards require that students engage with appropriately complex literary and informational works; such complexity is best found in whole texts rather than passages from such texts.

Jen Costabile, an English teacher in the Newburgh school district pointed out that this issue is not limited to a single troublesome book. “At least three of the books listed on the modules [curriculums] contain passages using inappropriate language and visual imagery that most people would consider pornographic,” said Costabile. Other teachers noted that this and similar situations are an example of systemic flaws in the Common Core aligned curriculums.  The school district hopes to return a $6,000 shipment of the books.

The most alarming CCSS selection by far is the novel, The Bluest Eye, by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Toni Morrison. Bluest Eye, now banned from several school districts, is an explicit depiction of rape, incest, sexual violence and pedophilia.  The pedophile, named Soaphead Church, claims God as his inspiration, “I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people.”

Worse, however, is that the novel is written with sympathy for the pedophile. Morrison defends her character, and reportedly wrote the story so the reader becomes a “co-conspirator” with the pedophile.  According to Macey France, co-founder of Stop Common Core Oregon, Morrison, “says she wanted the reader to feel as though they are a ‘co-conspirator’ with the rapist. She took pains to make sure she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems. She even goes as far as to describe the pedophilia, rape, and incest ‘friendly,’ ‘innocent,’ and ‘tender.”

How are such texts chosen? From the Common Core State Standards website:

Selecting Text Exemplars
The following text samples primarily serve to exemplify the level of complexity and quality that the Standards require all students in a given grade band to engage with. Additionally, they are suggestive of the breadth of texts that students should encounter in the text types required by the Standards. The choices should serve as useful guideposts in helping educators select texts of similar complexity, quality, and range for their own classrooms.

No parent or teacher group opposes reading material that includes complexity and quality. The issue with the Common Core selected exemplars concerns “range” and age appropriate material, as well as proper context.

Making Lemonade covThe (NY) Council for School Supervisors and Administrators, who reviewed a recommended text, Make Lemonade, were disturbed by the book’s “sexually explicit language and content.”  The young adult novel is part of the eighth-grade Scholastic CODEX curriculum that some (New York) city schools listed this year as part of their compliance with CCSS. Some passages “worried union members, including discussions of sex and drugs,” said spokeswoman, Antoinette Isable-Jones.  Isable-Jones also said the principals union sought more information on who and how the city selected the materials recommended to schools.

Members were told that “Make Lemonade,” is an optional selection and that parents were free to express their concerns to their respective principals. “The novel has been highly recommended for middle school grades and is just one of many novels that teachers can choose among for reading material,” noted Erin Hughes, spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education.

Across the country, Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona, acknowledged parental pressure and removed the sexually explicit novel, Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. Dreaming includes teen sado-masochism passages. The novel is also an “exemplar text” in the Common Core State Standards. Furthermore, in conjunction with the study of this novel, teachers and students are sent to a website that features an interview with Garcia about her newest book—found by parents to be even more disturbing.

Garcia’s book is among several where school officials suggest parents simply submit “opt out” forms for their students if they object to the selection.  But few parents are so naïve as to think that a school approved book that depicts violent sex among teens will have no affect on the wider school environment.  One father observed, “My daughter will mix socially with her peers who have absorbed this book, even if she has not read it. How is she protected from that book’s influence on her friends?”  Still others worry about the increased reports of teacher student sex and the effect such erotic “educational” material may have on students.

dreaming-in-cubanSchools, especially public schools, are already high-risk environments in some communities that are struggling to contain drugs, bullying, and violence. Do such texts increase violence, teen pregnancy and drug use among susceptible, vulnerable children?  Can such novels be understood as educational?  One shocked parent noted that material in Dreaming in Cuban, if filmed, would be rated R-17, but if it’s listed by CCSS, it is used in schools as “lessons” for 15 year olds.

According to a September Associated Press story, Barbara Hansen, a former Sierra Vista elementary school teacher, described the book to the school officials as “child pornography.”   “We’re bludgeoning their souls with this kind of material. It’s debauchery, and it’s just not worthy of our students,” Hansen said.

School Superintendent, Kriss Hagerl, explained that had the district known of the book’s content, they’d have asked teachers choose an alternative.  “We’ve learned a lesson in this, and we’ll make sure to put those steps in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Hagerl said.

But, it does happen. Parents and concerned teachers see a pattern.  When graphic, offensive material is brought to school officials, often the material is removed. More often, however, an attempt is made to “educate” the parent by officials who defend the choice as part of a “broad” literary foundation intended to introduce students to Nobel Prize winners (Morrison) or multicultural perspectives (Latino and Black).  And some school officials themselves feel pressured to defend CCSS exemplars as part of their professional identity.

The deep flaws of the Common Core system of standards and accompanying “exemplars” serves to remind citizens of the wisdom of the Tenth Amendment. Education belongs to the States; to the local community where community standards are best decided by the people who know their fellow citizens.

A faceless, unaccountable, centralized national CCSS does not know our children. It proceeds upon an unproven theory of reform and social experimentation.  Its goal is a standardized American worker—A plug and play worker unit. Our goal is a thinking person, an educated citizen.

Mary Jo Anderson

By

Mary Jo Anderson is a Catholic journalist and public speaker. She has been a frequent guest on "Abundant Life," an EWTN television program, and her "Global Watch" radio program is heard on EWTN radio affiliates nationwide. She writes regularly for Crisis Magazine and is a contributing correspondent for WorldnetDaily.com. More articles and commentary can be found at Properly Scared and at Women for Faith and Family. Mary Jo is a board member of Women for Faith and Family and has served on the Legatus Board of Directors. With co-author Robin Bernhoft, she wrote "Male and Female He Made Them: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions," published in 2005 by Catholic Answers. In 2003 Mary Jo was invited to the Czech Republic to address parliamentarians on the Impact of Radical Feminism on Emerging Democracies.

  • Beth

    Thank you for this article.

  • lifeknight

    ……People wonder why parents are motivated to homeschool? This type of bullying of the parents has been happening for thirty years. Remember “Catcher in the Rye” or “The Chocolate Wars?” Less overt in the approach, but sexually charged none-the-less. When will parents learn that entrusting the souls of their children to others is a huge mistake?

  • Steven Jonathan

    Excellent article!
    It is even worse than this. These are examples of overt depravity, but these people in education are ideologically driven and they choose their books by multi-culturalism, and other sordid ideologies that are worse in discreet ways. Ideas of “complexity” and “rigor” are just diversions and distortions to muddy the waters of debate.

  • poetcomic1

    “When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” I calmly say, “Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”
    – Adolph Hitler
    Most American 10 year olds have already seen extreme pornography – on iphones if nothing else. Not only is this cow out of the barn, the barn is on fire.

    • Vinnie

      That Hitler quote is so true! That’s the reason progressives knew to get into education – and law – to bring about their utopia. Here’s another quote: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think the wide circle of the American Society, or the wide circle of the Christian community realizes this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.”
      Pope John Paul II 1976

      • U R No John Paul 2nd.c

        Paul VI was still Pope in 1976.

        • Mary

          Pope John Paul visited the U.S. in 1976 as Cardinal before he was elected to the Papacy.

    • msmischief

      At least we do not have add the explicit sanction of the state to their viewing.

    • Th Truth

      The “state” is the new parent. christian principle’s are “equal” to all other “principle’s. The parameters are being set, we will have to choose which side we’re on. The goats and the sheep will be separated. Phil from Duck Dynasty is a sheep, he follows the shepherd, Jesus Christ. God bless him for speaking the truth and taking the punishment from the progressive secular humanists.

    • shoppegirl

      This doesn’t mean we should not fight back, and hard…. Yes, the left has taken away our children’s innocence, but lets not give up.

      • Shayla Mack

        I say Amen to that!! I was way off track in high school, but have made a 180.

  • Tony

    And there’s another problem. These texts are chosen primarily for political reasons — you have to get a Chicana author in there, a gay author, and so forth. If the aim of a class in English is to teach students about our heritage of English literature — about masterpieces written for everyone — then these problems don’t arise, not at least until the twentieth century, and then a modicum of common sense should be sufficient to show which genuinely worthy novels shouldn’t be in the hands of teenagers.

  • Tom Jablonski

    If I had to make a list of the most corrupt organizations, I would have to include the USCCB. Where are they in all this? They accept Common Core in many dioceses, saying that the Common Core curriculum is what colleges expect young people to know, and that anything else lessens the kids’ chance of going to college. They cover themselves by saying “objectionable material” will be excised from the curricula in Catholic schools. Wow! They should read the comment by a father in the article above who said that even if his daughter doesn’t read this filth, many of her friends will have read it. Protecting just our own schools, even if done well, is not enough. Back in 1992 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (under Cardinal Ratzinger, I believe), stated that “Where a matter of the common good is concerned, it is inappropriate for Church authorities to endorse or remain neutral toward adverse legislation even if it grants exceptions to Church organizations and institutions. The Church has the responsibility to promote family life and the public morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral values, not simply to protect herself from the application of harmful laws”. The bishops dropped the ball on Obamacare, an immoral project on many fronts, and are doing the same with the Common Core project. This is spiritual warfare, and our bishops, with some heroic exceptions, have declared themselves to be “conscience objectors”, and remain on the sidelines. Oh well, there are financial rewards for embracing Common Core as well as social rewards in being acceptable to the political and social elite of the Republic. God help us. Please pray for our bishops, that they take charge and lead us in the fight against this attack on our moral values and our Faith. We need their leadership. Tom Jablonski, Dahlonega, GA

    • Tess208

      I agree, Tom. Over the last two years, in many Confessionals, I have asked different priests what are we to do? We have health insurance through a Catholic Health System that seems to be funding all types of contraception. I have asked if we should refuse the insurance, and trust in God for what lies ahead. In each case, I was told that the USCCB has not yet decided, and that we should wait for that decision. I told them that I am afraid for my soul in the meantime. One older priest said in a very fatherly voice “perhaps it’s time for a little patience on your part.”
      When obamacare was originally pitched, one local priest who I would trust with my soul said that he felt the USCCB would “cave.” It appears he may be right. Right now, I feel we need a hero. I believe that may just be Cardinal Burke.

  • Ford Oxaal

    I honestly believe I am superior. I have examined my conscience, and I can see that I have extraordinary merit. I am probably in the top tenth of one percent of humanity in terms of vision and wealth. I can see how to take away human misery. If only I had even more power. But I must at least try. It all starts with children. I can see a way to save the children born of parents less hard-working than myself. I can save them from the cycle of inferiority. Because I have, through my own hard work and diligence, come out of the dark, I can see where most parents can’t. I have all the statistics and the latest science. IN THE NAME OF EQUALITY, I must rescue the children, even against the will of the so-called parents. Otherwise the cycle of inferiority cannot be broken. First, I must tamp down hard on the breeding. This is mostly about marketing. Big pharma, the U.N., and big charity have the answers here. Second, the children of dysfunctional and unplanned breeding grounds (which is probably, in a frank and honest appraisal, ninety nine and nine tenths percent of the population) must be properly INDENTURED and SOCIALIZED. Only then can we work toward equality. Of course, there will always be a tiny elite, such as myself and my offspring. But for everyone else, EQUALITY will set them free. If we average it all out, that means a fifty by fifty foot square, lawn, dwelling for two parents with internet access and room for one or two children, a storage shed, and an electric car so they can work and shop, shop and work. I am so smart, sometimes I think, “Maybe there is a God”. Yeah, but no. He would’ve made himself known to us by now.

  • Vinnie

    No Crisis writer has yet tied-in this Common Core truism – “Its goal is a standardized American worker—A plug and play worker unit.” – to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The type of “literature” our children will read will not have any virtues in it. They will see the world solely through a “productive/unproductive” filter. The benefits of the old, infirm or disabled such as wisdom, hope, fortitude, justice, charity will not exist in their world.

  • hombre111

    I think she makes some good points. But when a recently reported international test shows American students falling behind the achievements of students in Russia, local control is not doing a good job. Especially in states like my own, which routinely lands at the bottom of every category. The governor, a superintendent of education who is not an educator, and the state legislature control the process. These guys are not exactly whizz kids.

    • mary jo anderson

      Hombre, I replied to your comment…please see above.

      • Gilbert Jacobi

        Mary Jo, That was a great response and link; the info at her site is very encouraging.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    A good DA needs to start investigating the Common Core standards writers and authors for potential cases of child abuse. This isn’t coming from nowhere- these people are writing from experience.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      I suspect you are correct.

  • mary jo anderson

    Hombre111 brings up a critical question: If US students have scored very poorly in the PISA ( Program for International Student Assesments ) exams given to students in the developed nations, isn’t education reform necessary?American students were 29th in math, 20th in reading. How can we accept such poor performance when we spend billions in education, more than other nations?

    Simple, PISA is not comparing apples to apples. American students are FIRST in reading, FIRST in science and FIFTH in math when US student scores are measured with schools that have only 10% or less of the students in a free lunch program. Our problems are social, not educational. For more data see http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/05/daniel-wydo-disaggregates-pisa-scores-by-income/

    America measures poorly against nations that have the world’s most homogenous populations. These are nations with a unified language and culture. When our multicultural and language factors, our poverty rates and social accommodations are part of the equation, our raw scores sink. And that suits the reforms agenda. You’ll never hear the true scores on the nightly news or PBS. Our nation is being hoodwinked and stampeded into accepting “reforms” and “standards” based on a deliberately false comparison of scores. If we want to increase our performance on such assessment exams, we must first address the anti-family attitudes of the policy wonks and recover a reasonable economic philosophy to better address persistent poverty.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Obviously, money has little to do with education, and more to do with pensions and political power. When asked why we should educate our children, the standard American answer is so they can “get a job.” How depressing for a child with imagination and creativity (i.e., *all* children). The motivation is strictly materialist and statistical.

      • me

        I’m not against people who educate children so they can get a job. In the world we live this is totally correlated, the more education you have the higher your salary. In my mind, one of the best education systems in the world is Germany’s. Not everybody there needs to pay a small fortune to get an university degree (sometimes totally useless) in order to have a decent salary. Some of them are trained in high school and can get a very decent salary in the industrial sector as they graduate through their apprentice years. So an apprentice is basically trained to a specific profession. And this is a good thing since the person becomes a contributing member of society. Would be very good to have that kind of thing in those poor & failing neighborhoods where schools are nothing but some pastime till the kid turns 18.

        • Ford Oxaal

          I agree with you that vocational training is necessary and excellent. But voting citizens need more than vocational training to desire and be able to cast a vote for the common good. Children need to develop a lifelong love of learning, both in their trade, and in contemplating the higher things. Our present system falls short both in vocational training and in the higher subjects of theology and philosophy, which seem forbidden and taboo and politically incorrect or as topics for public ridicule. I’m afraid as a society we waste enormous amounts of our children’s precious time and have badly squandered our heritage and borrowed mercilessly from our future. We have become obsessed with lower things. The conversation has been hijacked by unsavory characters with the moral fiber of a soggy bowl of bran flakes.

        • Patsy Koenig

          Yes, but the correllation between years of “education” and career success are legislative.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Our students score poorly at everything because they have already been exposed for many years to the same educational philosophy that is now promoting the Common Core. The CC is not something totally new. It is just a bigger, more systematic, more controlling version of what our pathetic public schools have already been doing for more than a generation. When you have taken a wrong turn, the answer is to GO BACK, not to keep going forward farther and faster.

      • Thomas

        It is all about “closing the achievement gap.” In attempting to do this by experimenting with progressive ideas for the last 40 years, they’ve widened the gap. At the same time, our best students don’t get the best out of their courses since they’ve been leveraged down to help the underachievers.

    • me

      Totally true. That’s why we move from the cities into the middle class white fence suburbs, so we can educate our children properly. We pay higher real estate taxes, but it’s still cheaper than paying private school for 2 children. To choose the town I bought my house, I specifically looked for schools that had no “free lunch” in the rankings. It is what it is.

    • hombre111

      “We must first address the anti-family attitudes of the policy wonks and recover a reasonable economic philosophy to better address persistent poverty”
      Excellent. But two points. One, it still brings the unsolvable problem down to the local level, which does not have the resources to deal with persistent poverty. In my right to work state, employers routinely offers $15.00 an hour with no benefits to most of its workers. Our governor calls such salaries “competitive.” Competitive, I guess, to the other right to work states who are involved in a race to the bottom. This relentless poverty forces the women out of the home into the work place. Talk about anti-family, and not the work of “policy wonks,” but of most employers.
      Secondly, divorce is the great anti-family reality of our day. Parishioners who are school teachers tell me that it is rare to have children in class whose parents have never divorced. These kids in a turbulent situation are going to have trouble. The Church needs to teach people how to keep their vows. (Begins with the priest, in my opinion). But campaigns from the top accomplish little. For instance, Pope John Paul’s decision to prolong the marriage case process did not stop a single divorce. The Church needs a strong lay movement, like CFM, which is still a tremendous resource.

    • Patsy Koenig

      Well said. Multiculturalism damages society; it does not improve it.

      • mary jo anderson

        Thank you, Patsy. I would hasten to clarify that I do NOT mean ethnicity, I do mean the ideology known as “multiculturalism.” Immigrants who come to the US and adopt our political framework, the Constitution and our expectation that pursuit of happiness is an opportunity, not a promise of happiness and free lunch, when they learn English, their success far outstrips immigrants who come in search of streets paved in gold and government handouts. We should find communal means of taking care of those who truly cannot take care of themselves. But long term government programs simply breed systemic poverty.

    • Ward

      Well as parrot’d by Charlotte Danielson and originally stated by Linda darling Hammond I think , ” we can’t fire our way to Finland” referring to assessments for teachers, because according to them it is something of a human right for all children to have ” excellent” teachers and by that they mean those expert at changing or muddying or criticizing Christian western family values and traditions and replacing them with compliant activist mush. The Finland hysteria over their
      education model being the goal of the reforms here in the US should be viewed with extreme alarm. The Pisa numbers are skewed and when the statistics of total population and Northern European welfare state maladies are examined it is hardly a utopia any American would find acceptable. Hysteric proterion….
      Deception meant to further this dialectic change…

      http://edushyster.com/?p=2794

      • mary jo anderson

        Ward, indeed, this is so. Please see my comment above on PISA scores and American students. Also, the canard that “all”students are “entitled” to an equal education, hence the excuse for a national curriculum standard–because , Heaven forbid that a Boston family should be transferred to Alabama and suffer “inferior” educational options–when scores are adjusted for socio economic parity, Alabama students and Massachusetts students both score in the top percentiles. We do not need to nationalize education. We need to bury multiculturalism, political correctness, retain memorization for 4-8 year olds, and address family break down and systemic poverty. The most gifted teacher in the nation cannot overcome neglect at the level some students endure.

    • Thomas

      You hit the nail right on the head!

  • Rick

    Agreed, parents and teachers should fight against having their children exposed to books like these. The take away from the article is that parents and teachers need to be vigilant and insist on protecting their children. My feeling (we’ve been homeschoolers–so I really only know about public schools in a derivative way) is that books mentioned in the article have already been in the public school classrooms way before Common Core came around. Ultimately, despite the false notion that the Common Core is imposing a national curriculum, school districts, schools, teachers–and parents–will be the ultimate arbiters of what gets taught in the schools.

    On the “family” books mentioned near top, that comes from a website of the National Catholic Education Association–not the Common Core State Standards. Couldn’t find mention of these in CCSS website.

    To be fully informed, however, about text exemplars for Common Core, you really must read or at least review CCSS Appendix B, which lists exemplars by grade level. Aside from the outliers mentioned in the article, sound grade-appropriate literature does predominate, e.g., Chaucer, Shakespeare, Moliere, Wilder, Austen, de Cervantes, Bronte, Poe, Melville, Chekhov, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Whitman, Eliot, Frost, Dickinson, etc. This for 11th grade.

    • Tony

      I’ve looked and I’m not persuaded. The devil is in the details. The CC is NOT about a Common Core of content — so the examples of great literature don’t count for anything in themselves. The students will not be evaluated according to their knowledge of English literature. They will be evaluated according to “skills,” defined in a formulaic way. So they can include, as window dressing, all the excerpts that they like, from Keats and so on; it doesn’t mean anything, because it is all divorced from any thorough study of English literature. You can tell as much from the banal and formulaic questions that the CC recommends that you ask the students when they are reading these works. You can’t possibly teach them anything REAL about Chaucer, for example, unless you teach them also about English and European history, about the literary tradition that Chaucer inherited, AND about the Christian faith. It is notable that NONE of the literary excerpts on the CC website has anything to do with religion; apparently that wouldn’t do, not even as window dressing.

      • Ford Oxaal

        And there is no education without theology and philosophy at the top. It becomes vocational training for future serfs and consumers.

    • cestusdei

      Sure you can read Austen…along with porn. Does that make it better?

  • WRBaker

    So, what CC wants our children to know is how “normal” homosexuality, violent sex and other weirdness are? Since this is a Gates’ production, SSM and birth control must be in the “required” reading lists somewhere.
    Still nothing from the USCCB about putting a halt to all of this. Very few bishops seem to have said much about this, too. It seems that the NCEA is pressing on with promoting CC, too. Parents continue to have no control as the prime educators of their children. It looks increasingly like homeschooling is the only option available to parents who care.

    • GaudeteMan

      Let us focus on our priorities first, like say immigration reform. Then we will focus on these secondary matters, or not.

      • WRBaker

        There are many issues and problems that must be dealt with, but I would submit that this is also very time-sensitive one. As each day passes, another chapter is read and another problem may present itself. As a Catholic school teacher, I know how difficult it is. As a parent, I am incensed by CC, in general, and by those who run things, in particular.

      • Canoeal

        We are focusing on the priorities. The priorities of God. Yours are not even in the same ball park.

    • Caritas06

      If Mr. Gates wants his children to read it , fine. Despite his money, why should he decide for the rest of our families?

  • Tony

    I should like to know where teachers get the gall to assume that they are being VIRTUOUS when they assign to students readings that they know damned well the children’s parents would find objectionable. Who is whose employer, pray tell? And have the teachers exhausted all the great literature in the world, that they have to go barrel-scraping?

    • Ford Oxaal

      Parents are people, people are sheep. They are being led to the wolf along with their children. They repeatedly vote more money for school tax. That money goes to some corrupt contractor to build another ‘school’ and hire another commissar. More money is like throwing gas on a fire.

    • Sarah

      A teacher’s job is to expose their students to varied and diverse material and to teach their students to engage with and think critically about this material. Ideally, students are to learn to think for themselves about controversial texts rather than follow “like sheep” the ideologies of their parents, teachers, and other adults. In the society we live in, children are bombarded with media and they must learn to discern right from wrong, fact from fiction themselves. Are you a teacher? How dare you assume that these teachers aren’t trying their VERY best to educate students to the best of their ability while simultaneously being forced to incorporate Common Core and other curricular standards with little to no support or help. Please don’t assume that you could do better. Your hatred cloaked as “virtue” would be more damaging to a student than a literary passage about rape INTENDED to cause cognitive dissonance.

      • Tony

        I’ve been teaching young people for almost 30 years.

        An English teacher’s job is to help young people to fall in love with the greatest that has been thought and written; to introduce them in a coherent way to the rich tradition of English literature, from Chaucer to the present; to show them what makes great literary art truly great; to teach them the grammar of their language as a systematic, coherent, and beautiful whole; and to help them write prose that is clear and cogent.

        My experiences lately tell me that English teachers have almost wholly abandoned the study of poetry, which is perhaps the noblest of all the human arts; that they no longer teach more than one or two writers who lived before 1900; that most of what they do assign is mass-marketed trash, designed to rouse the student’s temporary interest; that they do not themselves know the grammar of the language; and that they write poorly.

        If you would like an eye-opener, look around in English textbooks produced in the US and Canada from about 1900-1940, before John Dewey and his fellows began the immense dumbing-down operation that has plagued us ever since.

  • Christine Hebert

    How is pornography “literature?” There is a vast of array of true literature from a broad base available and it is being thrown to the side for such trash as this.

    • Ford Oxaal

      It’s all part of de-sensitization so we can reap the harvest. Innocence lost is unrecoverable. This is my trump card to nirvana, my nirvana where sex on earth, bad will toward men will yield massive souls for eternal torment. The best part are the dupes who do my work — they actually think of themselves as do-gooders and ‘nice people’. I have very special plans for them.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    Long-term, the only real solution to improve education is the very opposite of the Common Core approach. We must get the federal government out of education in every way and at every level, Kindergarten through college. Communities have standards. Bureaucracies do not. Communities can be encouraged to respond to their shortcomings. Bureaucracies only conceal and compound their errors. They are like a virus whose only functions are self-preservation and growth.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Sort of like a big, blood sucking tick.

  • Carl

    Prof Esolen’s [Down the Ladder of Depravity] applies here too; and it’s seldom addressed in these terms.

    * Porno is wicked, and those who participate destroy themselves within, forbidden.
    * Porno is wrong. But the subject is no longer taboo. Our culture talks about it. Newspapers report about sexual crimes with a few details.
    * Porno is impermissible. (another step down, weak negative) Now newspapers graphically describe sexual violent crimes
    * Porno is bad, but am I really guilty of it? Now it’s permissible to read and write about it graphically in modern literature and common media
    The Ladder continues……I stop

  • Angie

    And yet we wonder why this country is going down the drain. Thoughts always precede actions, and these types of books put the wrong thoughts in impressionable minds.

  • cestusdei

    Homosexuals and their liberal allies want to desensitize children to sex. They are easier to recruit that way. This is not all a coincidence.

  • me

    When the parents (mothers) themselves are reading and roaring about 50 Shades of Grey, I’m not so sure where the problem really lies.

    • JediWonk

      What is not to like about the life course of Anastasia Steele in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? I read the trilogy and am amazed that a story set in the present that is that far-fetched could sell at all.

      But then, I am not a woman with a real life looking to escape into a romantic fairy tale.

      For the same reason, I would not have predicted that “Pretty Woman” would be the highest-grossing romantic comedy in the history of film.

      I have high hopes for my now-10-year-old daughter, but not *that* high! The book critics of the left as well as the right sound like they did not actually read the books, just heard about them.

      If anyone on this thread actually has read at least the first two FIFTY books, could they tell me how the story of Ana and Christian could have been any more different from today’s college “hook-up” culture? What is actually happening on America’s campuses is all too real. No wonder the girls / their mothers / their grandmothers are escaping into Kindle readers loaded with E.L. James’ blockbuster.

  • http://www.realinstaprom.com/ realinstaprom

    Why wouldn’t they use a light on a track that rotates? Their images are jumpy because the light positions aren’t very granular.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    With all that is written about in this article, any parent, who knowing this, sends their child(ren) to either a public, private or church-sponsored school that uses these materials is committing a grave mortal sin. It is, in effect, placing their child’s mortal soul in danger – a most serious offense against the vocation of parenthood to which God has called the,.

    • Gilbert Jacobi

      Spot on, Deacon. I just want to add this: some of us have enrolled our children in Catholic schools, fully expecting them thus to be protected from the filth, only to see CC sprung on us without consultation, or at least without a vote. Now, especially for those of us who are receiving scholarship help, it is exceedingly awkward, even painful, to try to negotiate around this material. What I have found is that I have to deal with well meaning young female teachers who don’t have much of a clue as to the seriousness of the situation and are “just following orders.” An old school white male such as myself feels like a bull in a china shop; one wrong move or word … the number of shibboleths, hazards, trip wires, prickly, fragile egos, that one has to avoid saying, bumping into, stepping on, and rubbing the wrong way just leaves one paralyzed.

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  • Liz

    Ultimately, society will blame the parents when their child acts out behavior influenced by this curriculum. Educators complain that parents are not involved with their children’s education. WELL.. here you have parents who want to be involved and they are told to ‘opt-out’.. which really means “go away and stop bothering us”. IF you truly want parents to be involved in their child’s education AND responsible for their child’s behavior, THEN DO what you say you believe and have parents see and read the material. THEN if they want their child to be exposed to this ‘progressive’ education, let them OPT IN.

    • mary jo anderson

      Liz…exactly.

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  • DrSwier

    Mary Joe,

    May I reprint your column on my website? Here is the link: http://www.DrRichSwier.com.

    I have written on this topic in Florida. Here is a column I did: http://drrichswier.com/2013/07/02/florida-middle-school-students-reading-child-pornography/

    • Crisiseditor

      Reprint requests must be directed to the editor here: http://www.crisismagazine.com/contact

    • mary jo anderson

      Dr.Swier,
      Thank you so much for your interest. Please contact the Crisis Editor for reprint information.

      • DrSwier

        Mary Jo,

        I sent a letter request to the Crisis Editor. I am waiting for a reply.

        Merry Christmas!

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  • DaCoachK

    Bad enough that it is all communist (collective efforts) practices in the classroom. Now normal people got to deal with homo crap being thrown at innocent kids.

  • Nana Mary

    In Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-170-10. The Board of Education places with local school boards the responsibility for the selection, approval, and utilization of instructional materials. It also states in the selection of instructional materials, the local school board is responsible for… Developing local criteria for selection and that the Board of Education will assist by publishing guidelines for the development of criteria. In Code 8VAC20-170-10 the Board of Education also places with the local school board responsibility for Placing special emphasis on the thorough evaluation of materials related to controversial or sensitive topics such as sex education, moral education, and religion.

    § 22.1-277.02:1 of the Code of Virginia requires that each school board shall include, in its standards of student conduct, prohibitions against profane or obscene language or conduct.

    http://www.pabbis.com/virginia.html

    We just need someone willing to enforce the LAW of Virginia!

  • bordersarecool

    What is it with you guys / girls ?

    You are always complaining about the influences of life on your children. Dont throw out the baby with the bathwater as there are good lessons in any experience. Pick up the offending material and explain it to your children !!! Problem solved.

    • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ Scott W.

      I think you are yanking our chain here. There needs to be a level of trust between schools and families, and that can’t happen when schools are (intentionally or not) distributing pornographic material. Let’s put it this way, Plus, consider if this had been material like The Bell Curve and material demonstrating that there are IQ differences among races. Those same people going “gee whiz, just explain it to your children!” would be howling bloody murder.

      • bordersarecool

        When I say explain it to your children, all I mean is rather than hiding them from the realities that are life, explain the offending material and it’s rational. You have every right to just say it is total BS and follow that up with why it is total BS.
        I guess all I am trying to say is your opinions are your opinions for your reason. Sometimes prose has benefits despite having what you call pornography.
        If you really want to shield your children from reality home-schooling or religeous based schooling is an option. Eventually however they have to live in society so make sure they are prepared for it. Not everyone they will be dealing with views the world the same way as you do.

        • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ Scott W.

          When I say explain it to your children, all I mean is rather than hiding
          them from the realities that are life, explain the offending material
          and it’s rational.

          It’s not about hiding them from realities, but about having control of the time, place, and content for explaining these realities and not having some outsider with an agenda trying to go over parent’s heads with age-inappropriate nonsense. The above are examples of the abuse of those principles.

        • mary jo anderson

          Yes, “they have to live in a society so make sure they are prepared for it,” but let’s not concede the society. We are called to “renew the temporal order.” And to accommodate a debauched society is to fail in our mission to renew the temporal order. Other than the spiritual realm, this mission to renew our society has a practical effect on all citizens– a more ordered society where the greatest number of people, especially our children, are safer from violence and bullying, sexual predation, learn what is truly valuable in others, develop a sense of personal responsibility, have a more peaceful Public Square, and, as an aha! Moment of Recognition, students in this environment will receive a better education.

      • bordersarecool

        While I am no expert on the Bell Curve (read it years ago), why would anyone find that difficult to explain to a child. It is statistical analysis, tempered with opinion on social theory. What part of it do you find so difficult ?

        • Gilbert Jacobi

          That wasn’t what Scott W. Said. He pointed out that conservative Christian parents are only doing what the secularists and egalitarians would do if one of their oxen were gored. The operative word in his comment is “trust”. Whether or not we can “explain” cleverly designed immoral propaganda – hardly as easy as you pretend it is – we shouldn’t have to be constantly fearful as we are now.

    • GlomOnToMe

      I can only assume then, that you’d be happy with the Bible being included on the list? That way, non-believing parents would have the opportunity to explain the offending material to their children? And since there are “good lessons in any experience”, let’s distribute penthouse magazine to the kids and explain it to the children. Clearly, there must be boundaries, and many of us feel that the boundaries are being crossed.

      • bordersarecool

        Of course I would, the bible is a viewpoint. If it was presented as such and not shoved down their throats with the passion of a Catholic bishop buggering a small child then of course.
        Yes there are boundaries and based on the Catholic bishops maybe that boundary being crossed should be defined by multiple parties ?
        Regarding penthouse, well that one should best be left as is. It isnt just religeon that controls disrespect you know.

        • Ashley Simpson

          The buggering was done b y homosexual pedophiles & covered up by their sodomite accomplices. That’s the truth i told when asked.

  • Iréne

    America is a country far down the slippery slope. No wonder that a majority (probably) of people in many other continents have a deeply rooted contempt for the US when it comes to moral issues, especially.
    America is drowning in their homosex fixation and/or acceptance of the same. Your children and your grand children will have to pay a very high Price for your adulation and uplifting of homosexuality and all kinds of immorality.

  • Ricky Ross

    The Communist Takeover Of America – 45 Declared Goals

    Communist Goals – Congressional Record – Appendix, pp. A34-A35 January 10, 1963

    (as read before Congress in 1963)

    Current Communist Goals EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF HONORABLE A. S. HERLONG, JR. OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Thursday, January 10, 1963.

    #17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

    #25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

    #26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural and healthy.”

    #28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”

    #32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

    #40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

    #41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

  • shoppegirl

    Don’t let the left win! Don’t let them steal our kids from us. Homeschool if you must.

  • James Scott

    Is there a list of CCSS exemplar books that gives a short annotation for each title, citing possible objectionable elements, if any? Such an online resource would be very helpful. I’ve seen lists of the exemplar books for every grade online but there’s no more information about each one other than title and author.

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  • Cryforourbelovedchildren

    I read The Bluest Eye in a morals and ethics course in COLLEGE, which is when this type of material should be covered… If ever. It isn’t necessary to learn English or literature.

  • Cadis Palmer

    Thank you for the great article! Thank you!

  • Shutzy

    The writer brought up many valid points. Some people who posted got into bashing “immigration” as the cause of this. There are many, many “immigrants” who too are against these types of values portrayed. Unfortunately as long as some people do not look at this, then groups will not be united. With such negative rhetoric it forces different people more to the “left.” There are plenty of people from diverse groups who are socially conservative. Sadly when making this about “diversity” (which is here folks) it only detracts from the issues.

    • mary jo anderson

      Shutzy, I think you are right– my Cuban friends are aghast at the Garcia book. They resent that American students are being taught that Dreaming in Cuban is a fair portrayal of Cuban culture or values. A black obstetrician in our parish did not permit her children to read Morrison’s books. This is not about ethnicity. It is about exposure of vulnerable age groups to material they are not emotionally prepared to process yet….but because it is done under the cover of “multiculturalism” too many “experts” fear to object.

  • Larry

    I don’t doubt there’s inappropriate material showing up in books. Especially, from the point of view, of conservative parents. Many white parents, 50 years ago, approved of the book, “Little Black Sambo”, while putting books like, “Catcher in the Rye” and the works of Malcolm X on the forbidden list. You can try to shield your children from the world, but all you’ve done is a disservice to them. Asserting being “Gay” is a a God-less choice, as it has nothing to do with “God” nor, is it a choice, and denigrating families and children who are Gay, isn’t Christian. Humans have been engaging in sex, thinking about sex, for at least hundreds of thousands of years: otherwise we wouldn’t be here. If you think responsible sex begins at marriage your head is in the sand. Pretending that it doesn’t exist negates much of the human experience, whether or not, you “think” God approves.

    • msmischief

      Children are under their parents’ authority because they do not have the judgment to deal with the world, undiluted. Those who argue they should not protect children are generally lazy parents — or maliciously mind.

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  • http://www.theholistichomeschooler.com/ Michelle Cannon

    The Bluest Eye not only describes incestuous rape but in an arousing way. Showing this to people in “the bloom of youth” as the bible calls it, will only normalize these things.

  • Zachary Oren Smith

    A small into to the picks from Modern Library’s list of
    “100 Best Novels:”

    1. Ulysses by James Joyce (features multiple graphic sex
    scenes involving anywhere from 1 to 2 partners (and maybe three, I might have
    misread the section))

    2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (features rampant
    alcoholism and a culture that abuses women)

    3. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man also by James
    Joyce (features young Stephen (a characternym that some argue relates him to
    St. Stephen) grappling with sexual excess and substances)

    4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (features the inner life a man
    as he grapples with his own pedophilic instincts)

    5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (features (well where to
    start…) sexually active children, state-sanctioned drug use, rampant fascism, and
    a healthy dose of suicide to wash it all down)

    6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (features
    incest, suicide, racism, sexism, rape… need I go on)

    Now the list on Modern Library’s
    page goes on from here to include books like Catch-22 and Sons and Lovers;
    books that also contain all manner of traditionally off putting subject matter.
    I say this so that I don’t seem like I
    am generalizing.

    Modern Library presents us with
    list of challenging books that present characters who grapple with the
    complicated ethical, moral, social, psychological, existential, (etc.)
    problems. We as an audience, through the narratives of these characters, learn not
    just about how we deal with the same sorts of problems, but also implies to us how
    our fellow man deals with these problems. In my opinion this lends us depth to and
    appreciation for our fellow man.

    What
    worries me so much about this article is that it attacks a real and worrisome
    concern but does so in a completely absurd way. Having an unelected body making
    judgments on anything is a bad thing. However instead of focusing on a better
    way to pick that body or perhaps how that body was somehow completely
    unqualified (which it turns out they are pretty well qualified), this article castigates
    books the board approved purely based on sex being involved in them. It
    completely ignored any of the other themes present within the books. The list
    above is about as close as I can get in mimicking the hack job language that
    Anderson uses when describing the great works of literature she mentions. Toni
    Morrison’s The Bluest Eye has probably one of the most touching depictions of
    how internalized racism affects human beings. Virginia Wolff’s Make Lemonade
    imparts an extremely profound idea of self-esteem and narrates the struggle of
    young girl as she heroically rises above her given tragic conditions. It’s
    funny though, I cannot complete my tirade on the books Anderson mentions as I’m
    only 50 pages into Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia and I’m between a few
    books at the moment. So please do forgive me.

    Still I believe my point is made; a
    book is more than just the sexy moments present in it. We do not simply read
    because we want entertainment. I believe David Foster Wallace (another gross
    old perverted author) puts it better than I ever could have (don’t worry there
    is no grotesque language): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_xwBIcH1V0

    I also wanted to point out this
    section of the article: “Do such texts increase violence, teen pregnancy and
    drug use among susceptible, vulnerable children? Can such novels be
    understood as educational?” I am offended that this level of fear mongering
    was permitted to be published! It’s pretty funny that she never cites any
    studies of children shooting up heroin after reading Brave New World or beating
    someone to death after reading Clockwork Orange. The quote above is yellow
    journalism at its worst. The website this article comes from makes a living on
    praying off of the insecurities and fears of those who read it. I warn you all
    not to buy into every loud mouth with a microphone.

    I’m sure I have drug this topic
    about as far as it will go. I would like to end by repeating how ridiculous it
    is that Anderson should notice a real problem and immediately jump to how high
    school reading lists need more censorship. Anyone who reads this is of course
    entitled to their own opinion, but in light of what good writing like Morrison
    and Wolff does for our understanding of ourselves, I’m afraid those that will
    act with intension to censor their work from public class rooms even as early
    as the 9th grade will always be met with resistance from me and
    hopefully anyone who shares the belief in a work of fiction might have more to
    it than a few sexy moments, that the reason high school students read books
    like the Diary of Anne Frank involves
    more than just her own sexual awakening and the homoerotic tension that forms
    with one of the people in her safe house. Thank you for your time.

    • mary jo anderson

      Zachary, the goal in this article is not to promote censorship of material that may otherwise be literary. The point is that too much material fails the “age appropriate” criteria. A student who reads Joyce in college is not the same as Joyce in the hands of the average 15 year old. Secondly, CCSS system bypasses parents. Parents who pay the salaries of all school personnel via taxes are entitled to review and control the curriculum of their schools on two accounts–as tax paying citizens, and as parents whose child is subject to the material. Children cannot be used as lab rats for educational and social engineering experiments. Who decides what is appropriate? Parents. After all, there is no potential harm from any *delay* in the reading of Morrison’s Bluest Eye until age 20 in a college class. Conversely, there is certain harm for a significant portion of 15 year-olds who read this book. It is a question of age appropriate material, not censorship.

      Additionally there is the matter for Catholics whose children are in parish schools. There is a higher expectation for faith formation. Some of the material suggested by CCCII is simply a gross violation of Catholic teaching. Parents of a progressive bent are free to expose their own children to such material at home, if they feel their child is ready and that they, as parents, are prepared to discuss the books in proper context. But it is a transgression against the trust that most parents put in their parish schools to include some of these books.

    • Lori

      As for Clockwork Orange, three of my classmates did beat another of my classmates to death with baseball bats. One of the murderers did read it and wanted to try the “ultra-violence”. There are cases out there.

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  • Canoeal

    So goes the world spiraling ever downward, further and further from the will of God…No wonder as He is already banned from the schools that teach and promote this stuff.

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  • Derrik

    sounds to me like the head of education are a bunch of pedophiles trying to educate children that it is ‘normal’….. Attleast ya’ll have the option of home-schooling, not all countries allow that.

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  • Bill Beckman

    “Education belongs to the States; to the local community …” Even more so education belongs to the parents!

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  • eponymous1

    If you love your children, do everything in your power to home school.

  • finishstrongdoc

    Nothing new under the sun. Barbarians never produce flourishing cultures, they roam about, looking for flourishing cultures to raid, rape and rob of the fruits of virtuous living, and then the Barbarian moves on. Nevertheless, Barbarism is in its own way a culture. Not a culture that one normally chooses to join, unless you’re interested in destroying that which doesn’t belong to you. Or if you’re born into a Barbaric Culture. In which case, you learn to be a Barbarian, normally.
    Imagine Barbarism.
    “Imagination governs the world.”
    ~Napoleon Bonaparte~

  • Patty Woodworth

    It is NOT ok that there are people who think that it is ‘permissible’ to put porn in the hands of children and then say, ” oh we are going to let them choose weather or not they want to read it .” and then somehow feel comforted by that twisted excuse.

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  • intention8

    If people really want the nonsense to stop then remove your children (our future) and homeschool! Put your children first! As a parent nothing else matters but my children. I make it work so I know they are safe from being destroyed. More and more parents are waking up and understanding that it is our job to educate our children not the government or church! If you can have children then you better educate them too as it is part of our responsibility! This friends is what happens when you give up your responsibility! So when the government and church schools are empty and the children are home safe the battle will be over! No fights or hours wasted on stupid policy just remove your children that is the best solution! Bring our families together again, and watch how our children will succeed!

    • Ashley Penn

      Unfortunately, unless something changes, not even homeschool students will be safe. The SAT/ACT boards have already begun changing the tests to reflect Common Core. If your homeschool kids want to go to college, they’ll have to tow the line and take the test the way the CC creators dictate.

      • Aldo Elmnight

        Not really. When enough people home school the school districts will be hard pressed to get enough votes to pass bond issues. Politicians who do not support home school will find it very difficult to get elected.
        Starving the beast is the only way.

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  • left wing liberal tree hugger

    Serious, a father raping his daughter is not PORNOGRAPY. It’s a FELONY.
    And yes, even Republican fathers rape their daughters.

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  • yamamma

    Maybe you all can burn the books you don’t like

    • Aldo Elmnight

      You are a simpleton.

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  • Ruth Rocker

    I shouldn’t be at all surprised to see works by the Marquis de Sade showing up on CC reading lists. After all, it fulfills all their requirements – sexually explicit and challenging. BLECH!! If I had kids in school, either public or private, I’d be yanking them out so fast you’d hear the sonic boom behind them.

  • DK

    This article is completely false and complete propaganda. Read the common core documents – exemplar texts are examples not a required reading list. ALL text choices are made by locally elected school boards or other accountable local administrators. No where does the common core require a specific text. It’s just not true. The Bluest Eye is an exemplar because of its complexity and because it appears often on the AP exam, but no child is ever required to read it unless the local board (responsible to their voters) approves it and teachers select it. The common core in NO WAY challenges local decisions about the appropriateness of texts. Also listed among the exemplars include many writings by the founding fathers and other classics that no parent would have a problem with. The common core is simply a set of learning objectives (skills like “read with sufficient fluency and accuracy”) that in NO WAY dictates how a child will be taught or what they will be taught. Don’t believe all this garbage by ill informed opponents or people who ignore what the common core really is. The common core does not require any of the texts mentioned in this book. The common core is not about a national agenda – it’s about making sure all children can read and write. Read the documents.

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