Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Will Common Core Raise "Aliteracy" Levels In The U.S.?

Interesting point raised by John Young at the Denver Post:

In 1978, Larry Mikulecky of the University of Indiana-Bloomington introduced the term "aliteracy" to describe the condition of being able to read but not wanting to. For any number of reasons, studies show that it describes about half of Americans. Mikulecky warned even then that so-called back-to-basics movements that hammered on reading as a utilitarian skill — rather than one that would inspire and elevate — would result in many people who thought of reading as a chore, and who avoided it out of high school.
That's exactly what I see too often in my own classroom — the high school graduate so hammered by "school accountability" and state-imposed "emphasis" on reading that instead of curling up with a good book after graduation, he or she will run from it.

Education reformers argue that standards must be raised so that students leave school with the "21st century skills" they will need to compete in a globalized economy.

That's why they are in the process of sucking all the heart and soul out of English Language Arts classes, replacing creative writing with argumentative writing, fiction reading with the reading of informational tests, and personal journal responses with MLA-cited text writing.
As you grow up in this world you realize that people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think… it is rare in a working environment that someone says, ‘Johnson I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.’ That is rare”
Because really, when you get right down to it, don't we simply exist on earth not to come to a better understanding of ourselves and others but simply to provide a better market analysis for our employers and/or customers so that we can all make gobs of money off the poor suckers who are busy writing compelling narratives about their childhoods?

I have this theory that the reason why Common Core proponents like David Coleman want all the heart and soul taken from the ELA classroom and replaced with utilitarian skill-drilling like argumentative essay writing and MLA citation practice is because they want the hearts and souls of the kids taken from them too.

In our neo-feudal world, our corporate masters do not want citizens capable of critical thinking, self-reflection, or creativity.
They want people who can follow orders, who know just enough to be able to write the market analysis but lack the self-awareness to ask why it matters more than anything else in this world.

They want kids to grow up to be dutiful order-takers, compliant consumers, and obedient workers.

The Common Core, by sucking the soul and the heart from the ELA classroom, is helping to create that generation.

By teaching kids reading as nothing more than a utilitarian skill to be used at work, they are sowing the seeds for an entire generation of aliterate people who can read but choose not to because they associate it with soul-sucking drudgery and toil.

That's not a mistake on the part of the corporatists who put together this Common Core - that's exactly what they want.
In the 21st century, reading for pleasure - like going to school and learning things for fun - will be relegated to the affluent few who can afford to give their children these gifts.