BYU professor Alan Manning of the Department of Linguistics and English Language has given me permission to publish his email communication, which explains what the problem is with Common Core’s increase of informational text and the decreasing of English literature.
Professor Manning’s observations about the Core standards…
1. Existing reading/writing instruction strategies are by an large not as effective as any competent teacher would like them to be, and not as effective as they can be, but the Core standards just set in concrete approaches to reading/writing that we already know don’t work very well. Having the Core standards set in concrete means that any attempts to innovate and improve reading/writing instruction will certainly be crushed. Actual learning outcomes will stagnate at best.
2. An argument can be made that any improvement in reading/writing instruction should include more rather than less attention the reading/analysis of stories known to effective in terms of structure (i.e. “classic” time-tested stories). An argument can be made that any improvement in reading/writing instruction should include more rather than fewer exercises where students write stories themselves that are modeled on the classics. This creates a more stable foundation on which students can build skills for other kinds of writing. The Core standards would prevent public schools from testing these kinds of approaches.
3. These arguments are elaborated in the attached article (proof copy of the final published article):
A. D. Manning, “The Syntax of Plot Frames in Storytelling,” Schwa, Brigham University Humanities Publication Center, 2012.
See also, extended discussion of the implications of this article for writing instruction here (KBYU radio, “Thinking Aloud” program for July 6, 2012.
If you can find time to read the article and listen to the discussion of its implications, you’ll have some ammunition to forestall a full-scale draconian implementation of the Core.
Another problem with it seems to me to be that it amounts to state-supported crony capitalism: Apparently some non-gov’t entity holds the copyright to these teaching materials and stands to profit immensely by having the State grant that private concern an effective monopoly over the learning-materials/testing business.
All possible competitors are shut out even if they offer a better product. Is the Governor for truly free markets or isn’t he?