E D. Hirsch has a column here arguing for the adoption of the common core curriculum.
Dr. Hirsch, I could agree with your argument if children were
ketchup bottles, and all we had to do was pour in the right content. But
children have dreams, abilities,background experiences, and passions all of
their own. Trying to force all children into this narrow
stream of complex, classic studies will result in many children learning nothing
I taught high school English for 37 years. I had students every year who could
ace any test you threw at them. But their superior knowledge and
skills did not come from being forced, at an early age,to read nothing but
complex writing that some committee decided was good for them. No, these
advanced kids spent their childhoods reading R. L. Stine, and Susan
Cooper, and J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King. They read books that excited them,
and illuminated their world. This avid, wide reading behavior gave
them the skills to be able to read complex literature by high school.
only Common Core curriculum I would support is one that made
this a priority. Children need to develop a love and habit of reading.
Only after they are avid readers should we give them the kind
of classical fiction and non-fiction that you are suggesting.