A Sickening Turn of Events: Common Core-Approved Pornography May or May Not Be on This Year’s Standardized Test   27 comments

When I saw, both in a Politichicks article and in a Blaze article, that it was on the recommended reading list of Common Core for 11th grade students to read “The Bluest Eye,” a book that graphically, vividly narrates sex crimes of a child molester in first person, I found it hard to believe that this would be approved in my state.

I wrote to my state school board member.

“Dixie, please tell me that in Utah, we have not approved “The Bluest Eye” for our students’ English reading which is on the Common Core’s list of approved readings. Please tell me that our curriculum committee is more selective. This is disgusting child pornography.
Thank you for finding out the answer.”

She wrote back after consulting with someone at the Office of Education with an assurance that although it was recommended by Common Core, it was not recommended by the Utah State Office of Education. Here is that letter:

“I hope this helps-was what I thought but wanted to be sure.


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Dickson, Sydnee”
Date: Aug 25, 2013 10:43 AM
Subject: RE: Common Core approved reading: The Bluest Eye
To: “Allen, Dixie”
Cc: “Hales, Brenda”

You are correct in that there are no prescribed texts for the Common Core. There are examples of texts that could be used for text complexity by grade level but this is certainly not one of them in Utah. When you go to our Appendix A and look at the suggestions for 11th grade, you will not find Bluest Eyes listed http://schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartelem/Core-Standards/ELA-Color-Standards-8-12-13.aspx. When you look at Appendix B (pg. 154) in the document published by CCSSO and NGA you will find the following brief excerpt from Bluest Eyes considered as a piece of text with complex language. This is not a recommended book but a section of brief text from the book.

[Excerpt was shared here from Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”]

We have not recommended this excerpt nor is it published in our Core ELA Standards documents. Because the Common Core is NOT a prescribed curriculum, districts, schools, and teachers are free to use texts and materials that comply with their district policies. This is not a book or text that would be likely be approved by schools in Utah. Also, we are developing digital texts by teachers for teachers and have started with 6-8. Those can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/langartsec/Digital-Books.aspx. Last, and most importantly, we have the RIMS review process that is conducted by a commission of appointed community leaders, parents, and educators. They create a list of published materials that are recommended, recommended with reservation, or not recommended. That list can be found at http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/imc/RIMs-Search.aspx. You will not find Bluest Eyes on that list as it has not been requested to be reviewed by either a publisher or a school/district.”


For a moment, I was relieved. Utah students were off the pedophilia-literature hook, it seemed.

But then the wheels started turning in my head again. Ms. Dickson had written that the book was not recommended reading in Utah. But we know that Utah’s teachers must follow the national Common Core to prepare children for a nationally-aligned Common Core test (AIR test) this year.

It would seem that an excerpt from this book or any Common Core approved book could be used on Utah’s AIR test, since AIR writes the test to Common Core alignment. Since I wasn’t completely sure whether AIR writes to Utah’s recommended reading list or to Common Core’s recommended readings, I asked Dixie to find out for me. I’m waiting very anxiously to hear back.

Meanwhile, I fact-checked the Blaze article’s statement that said that the Common Core expected students to read the whole texts, not just excerpts. Sadly, that was correct!

At the official Common Core website, it says: “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.”

So, “improving college and career readiness” and “rigor” means, to the architects of Common Core, exposing 11th graders to the literature of pedophilia.

I’m worried about what kinds of “literature” may appear on the Common Core test that Utah students will be exposed to this year. I’m also worried about their exposure to the new version of the ACT/SAT –since David Coleman has both led the creation of Common Core and is now the College Board president. He’s said he’s altering college entrance exams to match his vision of what college and career readiness means. I do not like and do not trust that man.

Then there’s this:

In Utah, there’s a law that 15 parents will be chosen to serve on a test watching committee. These 15 can see the test questions for the new Common Core AIR tests. I applied to be on the 15 parent panel. (I hope many, many Utah parents apply.) The state wrote back to say they received my application, and that I should know that there is a confidentiality agreement. So if any parent serving on this committee sees anything we find unacceptable like this, we can not speak out and specify what we saw. This seems to defeat the purpose of having the committee.

All of this makes me despise the Common Core Initiative, it’s nontransparent testing and nonrepresentative decision making, more and more and more.

27 responses to “A Sickening Turn of Events: Common Core-Approved Pornography May or May Not Be on This Year’s Standardized Test

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  1. I’m pretty sure this is on UT’s list as Dr. Thompson pointed out last week when he posted that his 11th grader was required to read it at her high school here in UT.
    You can bet that if that’s on the test teachers will teach it so their kids will “know” the material. I find it reprehensible they would teach this in high school. As if the pornography isn’t bad enough, did anyone stop to think how this might affect a child who has been molested? I thought these new “standards” were to improve learning? This should show people this is not about the kids. This about pushing an agenda. We should all be concerned with a society that is okay with this kind of garbage being taught to CHILDREN.

  2. Pingback: A Sickening Turn of Events: Common Core-Approved Pornography May or May Not Be on This Year’s Standardized Test | Aixa Welborn

  3. This whole Common Core program makes me want to throw up! I am praying NC rejects it before its too late!

    • You had better be contacting your representatives then! Dan Forrest is against it while McCroy is for it, I never trusted that guy. Write them, call them, email them. I have but we need a grassroots parents movement to wake these folks up!

  4. It’s definitely on the NC list. I contacted the Wake County school board. 2 members said they would look into it, and James Martin flat out said he didn’t see anything wrong with it.

  5. That is one reason we chose to homeschool.

  6. this is absolutely sickening!!! I understand that home schooled children will still have to go by the common core curriculum though! I think the best idea is to move to a state where it hasn’t been implemented!!

  7. As someone who has done public schools and charter schools and online schooling and home schooling and has kids in private universities…

    I have looked at the possibility of moving to a state that isn’t common core aligned… three left that are not on track to jump on board… I believe this still does NOTHING…if common core is nationally accepted.
    Simply put… The ACT, the SAT, and college placement exams are all being rewritten to align with common core… Thus making statehood differences and fleeing to a new state not a great option.

    We all must sound a warning cry…and continue to stand firm in Place and be NOT MOVED in this fight against Common Core curriculum…
    It is pervasive and intricate, and being woven by deception into the fabric of our educational system, and at its core, Having everything in COMMON… was the heart of the COMMUNistic ideal… these concepts have in the past and in the future have the ability to unearth the foundation of freedom. We are not only losing local Control we will gain by and by more and more Tyranny. Running and Fleeing will no longer be enough then.

    Amy Sue LOVELESS
    • You are right about COMMON and COMMUNisitc. I completed most of my school education (1st grade-12th grade and college) in a communist country with a national “common core standard”, a “common curriculum”, and a “common college entrance exam”. I simply cannot help thinking about the high centralized system as I am learning of the Common Core. We definitely need to pray and to act.

      • Them you know all about common core! Help is in pa. stop this wrong socialist way of educating our children!!

    • Amen! This is our educators destroying our children!!’ I would bet anything that these people’s long these tests don’t even have kids!! If they did,,,, they wouldn’t stand for this’. We have got to keep on our legislators!! Tell th unless they stop this common core they may not be sitting so pretty next election!! We will flush you out of your cozy little jobs!!i in pa. and feel as though I Beating a dead horse!!!

  8. This is why I use the umbrella protection of a private school for my children. I’m going to be staring one in Heber soon. Kimber Academy is non accredited so it takes 0 money from the gov, so we don’t have to align with CC (for now). This is disgusting. Who even THOUGHT this book would be ideal for teens? There are millions of great books to choose from. Heaven forbid it be the BIBLE!

    • Yes the bible would be my first choice of books too! Then the constitution!!! Go back to the 3 rs!!!! Now that’s what I call a lesson plan!!!

    • Aren’t private schools and home schooled kids subjected to common core curriculum too? If not….. Private school would be the way to go!

      • It was my understanding that all testing would eventually be geared toward Common Core, including college entrance exams. That would mean private school students would NOT be protected from Common Core since they would need to take the same tests for College applications.
        That’s just ONE of the reasons Common Core is a terrible thing to accept!

  9. If this gonna be on our children’s tests’ porn! I will move to another country!! This is absolutely b.s. and that is putting it mildly! Where have our values gone? Thank you ,,,, our so called educators and pillars of the community!!!!!’nnnn

  10. Interesting article. It seems that many people are upset with some of the decisions that are being brought along with Common Core. Teachers also have their own headaches to deal with during this difficult transition. Let’s hope these complications get ironed out sooner than later.

  11. A friend just notified me that in Lehi, Utah, at Lehi High School, The Bluest Eye is being read by 11th graders as recommended by Common Core. You can verify it on the English Department website at http://lehienglish.weebly.com/reading-lists.html. All Toni Morrison’s books are optional recommended reading even for tenth graders there.

  12. Here in Alabama, state Senator Bill Holtzclaw, a Common Core supporter has called for the Superintendent to pull the book from our list. This from the same guy who accused opponents of looking for bogeymen. I guess he found one.

  13. I find this whole controversy and conversation about the common core fascinating!

    My thoughts:

    1. I am not opposed to having standards that closer align between state and state, being a teacher myself and having family that live in states outside of my home state of Utah, I see the huge discrepancies. That said, however, my concern is the precedence the common core makes towards total governmental overtake of the education system–removing it out of the hands of each state. This is not okay! But where are the parents and the working class who are willing to go put in the time it takes to create our own set of standards and tests? Not my job is heard too often, unless receiving a paycheck they think is commensurate to the task! We need a willing, volunteering, force of people up to the task–and to see it through to the end! This will not be an easy task–but in the end would be worth it! This is the fight we should be fighting and suggesting–not attacking those we could work with to make this happen!

    2. It is very disheartening, as a teacher, to read, hear, and see the outright attacks on teachers as statements that have been made about us being “brain-dead robotized beings”. Inferring we are valueless and helpers in destroying the children in the state and country I pledge allegiance to! It is actually sickening and very offensive. Just last week we had a load of books brought to my school in Utah County that were donated, and as we teachers went through them–every teacher present took out books we found were offensive and threw them out, they would never see the light of day in our school. I am associated with a number of schools and this same thing would happen in every school I know.

    3. Just because it is on the list, ABSOLUTELY–does NOT mean it will ever be read in a Utah State school. If you further look at the reading lists–the books that will be read have an asterisk by them and are underlined. If you notice these books, not one of Morrison’s books are underlined or have an asterisk by them. Yes, I agree it is appalling, but no teacher I know will have this book on their required reading list! The majority of our teachers are people of value and have the greatest concern for our children–shame on any of you who infer anything different! We teachers have some of the same concerns and are in our schools to try and prevent some of these things from happening, we are also people of value and are the first line of defense. All these statements do is to further divide our great state of Utah or any other state! It is not us against you! United we will stand–BUT divided we will fall!

    4. I also find it quite fascinating that there have been many other books on these reading lists that I would never as a teacher or parent allow my child to read–but it is only now that people are really standing up and crying foul, like “The Thorn Birds”, which has semi-graphic sexual innuendos and situations in it and “Catcher in the Rye”, with its fowl language. I would never have my children read these books or a few others on these lists, which have been present for a very long time. I even had my oldest daughter in junior high have a letter sent home telling us, her parents, that the unit on sex was coming up and I needed to sign Yes or No as to whether she could attend class during this time. We were told that abstinence was the only stated safe sex option. It was also offered if we wanted to see the lesson plans and what would be discussed in class, we could go in and look at the books and materials. I showed up at the determined meeting time and everyone was surprised to see me actually come in. There had never been a parent show up in years past, or since, at this junior high, which was in Salt Lake County, that a parent actually showed up to view the materials before signing this note–Yes or No. Looking at these two facts–where has everybody been the past couple decades? It is sad it has taken a common core outcry to make waves!

    5. I am also deeply disturbed by the fact that many parents allow their children, and I mean as young as 4th and 5th grade, to read the “Twilight” series. I have seen many, many young girls reading these books. I don’t care who wrote them, these books are not “love” stories–they are stories about deceit and “addiction”. Bella, the heroine, if you can call her that–is a poor excuse for a role model. Bella is willing to commit suicide because she thinks Edward has left her, she is the one who is pushing for premarital sex, lies to her parents, sneaks him into her bedroom at night, and is wiling to give all–including her mortal life, to end and leave all behind, including family and friends for the supposed love of her life for eternity! Then, when Deseret Book announced they were pulling it from their shelves–adult, grown women all over were asking, “How come?”, “What was wrong with it?” There is more at stake here than a list of reading books from school and a common core threat!

    I could continue on, but these are the highlights of my thoughts and concerns today!

    Signing out–Marlene Swasey

    • That’s not our experience here…the school did not inform parents that Planned Parenthood was in the classroom, and a mother who found out had to request what was taught three times before she got it…the school was inaccurately teaching students that the condom was 98% effective against all STDs…putting students at grave risk of making dangerous decisions…the parents requesting a sexual risk avoidance abstinence program were outright mocked by the school and media (despite the research showing it is more effective than comp. sex ed.)…they asked for a physician to be on the health advisory council, and the request was denied…the parent representing the group was shouted down and the meeting minutes were scrubbed to hide it. The health advisory council advocated that sex ed content be taught in ALL subjects. In another local school, parents were told that the AP literature selections of “Clockwork Orange”, “A Handmaid’s Tale”, and “The Garcia Girls” would all stay in the program because it “prepared students for real life.” Welcome to upstate NY. This is indoctrination pure and simple, winning over the youth, and undermining parental relationships.

      • I agree–this is not acceptable! I would definitely be home-schooling my children if I lived in that district. I have literal headaches, some leading to migraines, as I ponder and think of the ways, or if there is even a way, to work at solving this monumental monster which has become the education system–it is the system, which is broken, not necessarily the people who work in the system. Although we do have those who are also “broken” working within the system. I am deeply disturbed and saddened for you and your experiences. There are vast differences between states and even within districts in the same state. I have to feel grateful for the place I am in, but that doesn’t change or help the issues for all! Thanks for sharing!

        Signing off–feeling very overwhelmed!

  14. As a product of sexual abuse I dont want to read this crap and I sure as H**L dont want my only daughter exposed to it if I have work darn hard to keep her from it!!!!!!

  15. Pingback: ABC Channel 4 and Deseret News: On Praying for Freedom from Common Core | COMMON CORE

  16. Pingback: Common Core: Pornographic Reading Assignment, The Bluest Eye | Every Home A School

  17. Pingback: Fighting With the Utah State Office of Education | COMMON CORE

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