According to a story by Lyndsey Layton in the Washington Post, English teachers across the nation are cutting back on fiction, because they have been told that the Common Core standards say they must.

The standards say that reading must be 50% fiction/50% nonfiction, and increase in high school to 70% nonfiction. Teachers are dropping novels and poetry and short stories to comply.

But David Coleman says that people are misinformed.

He points to a footnote on page 5 of the 66-page document. He says that English teachers can keep teaching mostly fiction, while math and history teachers teach more reading about math and history. (Had math and history teachers been teaching fiction up until now? Is this a change for them?)

But the math and history teachers say they have to keep teaching math and history. The history teachers always use informational text, and math teachers may not have time to have their students read what Euclid wrote in 300 B.C.

An English teacher in Massachusetts told the reporter, “Reading for information makes you knowledgeable — you learn stuff….But reading literature makes you wise.”

A note on the history of reform in U.S. education: There is many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.

Fiction? Non-fiction? Greek legend? Myth? Fact?