The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core

How will the Common Core English Standards affect the teaching of great stories in our schools? Will there be any great stories left in the minds of our children once the Common Core State Standards Initiative has controlled the curriculum and testing of both public and private schools for a few years?

Fewer students will be exposed to the great works of literature, art and music under the Common Core, explained Terrence O. Moore, assistant professor of history at Hillsdale College, in a speech hosted by Hillsdale College in Washington, DC, on January 10, 2014. The architects of the Common Core, he said, are “story-killers” because they are “killing the greatest stories of the greatest nation in history” and replacing them “with stories that fit the progressive, liberal narrative of the world.”

Moore researched the Common Core for a recently published book, The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core. In his book, he analyzes lessons recommended in the Common Core English Standards and in the new textbooks bearing the Common Core logo. His thorough review exposes the deliberate undermining of the great stories of our western tradition, the stories that in former times trained the minds and ennobled the souls of young people.

In his speech, a video of which will soon be available on the Hillsdale College website, Moore provides many examples of great works of literature that are being removed from school curriculum around the country because of the Common Core. Plato, Hans Christian Andersen, and Benjamin Franklin cannot be found in Common Core readings, for instance.

When students do read some of the great works of literature, they tend to be excerpts rather than complete works, supplemented with modern commentary on the works. The great works of literature are also being replaced by “informational texts” and recent articles written by journalists.

The purpose of education, according to the Common Core, is “college and career readiness” and “21st century literacy” for a “global economy.” Moore believes the purposes advocated by Common Core are “insufficient, illiberal and covertly ideological.”

“For almost 400 years in this country, and for over 2,000 in the history of the West,” Moore said, “truth, knowledge, beauty and virtue were the aims of education.” Without the great works of literature, Moore pointed out, Americans will “not learn from literature the most important thing – how to be more human.”

Paraphrasing Plato, Moore concluded, “Whoever controls … the narrative controls the politics, the economics, the family, the ways of thinking and the ways of believing. … The most impressionable people, of course, are the children. So, welcome to the world of the Common Core.”

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