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Obama Sells Out Literature for “Informational Texts” in Asinine Educational Program . . . MUST READ

Posted by Larry Doyle on September 21, 2012 10:01 AM |

I have given President Obama very real credit and criticism for large parts of his programs to support public education. I particularly like and appreciate the administration’s support of charter schools. I think he largely plays politics in acceding to many demands made by public teachers unions.

Well, so much for the credit.

Given my strong interest in this topic and having written extensively on the state of public education in America today, my jaw literally dropped this morning as I read the following in The Washington Post’s Rethinking the Classroom: Obama’s Overhaul of Public Education

One result will be that children at all levels will read less literature and more speeches, journalism and other “informational texts” to prepare for life after graduation.

I had to reread this a few different times in order to let the magnitude of this statement sink in.

So much for Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Jane Eyre, and other great works that have inspired so many students over the years to pursue great thoughts and their own great works in the world of arts and literature.

Do you, as I, get a little bit concerned wondering just whose speeches our children might be reading? Do you think the material selected might be subject to very real bias? Journalism? Do you share my view that to a very large extent real journalism in America is now dead? “Informational texts?” Are you kidding me?

This shift in our nation’s public reading program is ALARMING.

Are we dumbing down our future to the point that the great literary works will become mere relics? Are we replacing Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Homer, and so many other great writers with the stimulating works produced in Us Weekly, People, and other thought provoking writing commonly found at most checkout counters?

Whatever credit I directed Obama’s way in the past for his approach to public education, I now fully retract.

“Informational texts?” Something along the lines of how to play the newest version of X-box or as referenced above, Why Barack Loves Her?

What happened to our country?

May God help us!!

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Peter S.

    “And instead of a national framework, we now have 50 different systems.”

    LD, wouldn’t a completive educational environment foster the innovation in education that “no child left behind” stymied ?

    • LD


      No doubt that “teaching to the test” has also lowered the bar and produced plenty of cheating and gaming of the system.

      In regard to a competitive approach, though, doing away with literature and substituting with speeches, journalism, and informational texts?

      That is not how I would define “competing”. Strikes me as more accepting that the abysmal reading scores currently being registered cannot be materially changed so we may as well change the inputs in hopes of changing the output.

      Not the “best of America” by any means.

  • Tim Favero

    Larry, we are now a nation of “soundbites” and the president has made “soundbites” part of his platform for re-election. His idea may gain traction with some people, but I believe that this is just another “dumbing down of America.” There is nothing substantive about how he operates and everything is only geared to get him and his lack of thoughtful policies another four years. Remember when USA Today was billed as “McPaper?” I immediately though of that when reading this article. I can only say the the same thing about the president’s agenda, and his lack of long-term solutions for our educational system. While the Chinese, Japanese, Indians and other nations have made concerted efforts to upgrade their educational curriculua that will ensure when their students enter the workforce, they will be competitive globally.

  • Joe

    Sounds like it is straight out of the book of Alinsky for Teacher Organizers.

    Alinsky has a well defined concept of organizing. When he talks to teacher organizers, he talks community organizing. Alinsky believes that the teacher association’s real power base is not in the teachers, but in the community. He does not see our task of organizing them as any different from those of his own community organizers.

    Because he sees the teacher’s power base outside the membership and in the community, Alinsky offers a straight line route to organization of that power base:

    1.Forget the older teachers four or five years from retirement. They will fight organizing.

    2.Find one or several local teacher leaders.

    3.Get those teacher leaders to organize the community to put pressure on the superintendent or the school board to get things done for education. Develop a multi-issue base in getting to the community. Local taxes, for example, is an issue teachers could use to organize other community elements.

    4.Organize the community by using the natural interest in the children to get into the homes. That is, send teachers into the homes. Once teachers show interest in kids by visiting homes, they develop a relationship with parents.

    5.Once one or two teacher leaders begin to push and get near community wide success, the rest of the teachers will go along.

    In other words, what Alinsky is looking at, is not the membership, but access teachers have to the community. He sees that as a powerful weapon with which to organize. He believes that if we were attempting to organize this power base, education could be translated into issues that people can get with. He would assert that if the teacher association is successful in organizing the community for education ends, it would have no problem getting or maintaining its membership.

  • Joyce

    Dear Mr. Doyle,

    I thought we had reduced the literature requirements in school beyond reason. This is a complete disaster.

    Is this in response to the “math and science” mantra?

    The bad news just keeps coming.

  • Mike

    One would have to assume students are reading literary tomes like Moby Dick in secondary and elementary schools…more like Captain Underpants.

    At the elementary level, there is too much reading of fiction; science and history get very little attention. In fact, reading informational text is much more difficult than reading about a boy and his dog, so elementary teachers avoid it.

    I applaud this effort at the elementary level; however, one should remain cautious, especially with regard to high school classrooms .

    Conservative families need to do more at home to supplement the propaganda taught in schools or get involved in steering the reading material chosen for classroom discussion.

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