This week’s Carnival of Education, hosted by Greg Laden of Evolution, features a post by Jo Scott-Coe of HorseSense and Nonsense on a California district’s no novels policy. Five years ago, non-honors English teachers were told to use only the readings in the textbook. Now the policy has been extended to honors English courses.
I’ve already heard that the “wiggle room” allowed by the district for Honors courses (to pacify instructors) will go something like this: Once you finish covering everything on the planning map, go ahead and use real literature; just make sure you teach the novels using materials provided by the Holt standardized curriculum . . . The same “compromise” was vetted five years ago for non-accelerated, non-Honors courses and guess what? There’s little real whole-book reading going on in those classes any more.
Riverside Unified’s theory is that teachers can’t use literature (or non-fiction books) to teach the standards.