In response to a loud outcry about the place of fiction in the English classes, David Coleman and Susan Pimentel have written a description of the requirements for reading in the standards. Susan Pimentel was co-writer with David Coleman of the English language arts standards in the Common Core State Standards.
Coleman and Pimentel insist that fiction and literature will continue to be central in English classrooms. They expect that English teachers will not only teach Shakespeare and poetry, as they have in the past, but literary nonfiction as well.
As readers may know, articles have appeared in the international press about the removal of well-known works of fiction from English classes. I know of no justification for such statements. The standards do not have a list of banned books.
I was hoping that Coleman and Pimentel would have dropped the arbitrary percentages of 70% informational text, 30% fiction. I don’t know of any nation that imposes such ratios, nor any justification for them, nor how teachers and schools are expected to keep track of whether they are keeping the 70-30 goal. Or what will happen to schools that disobey and devote 50% of their students’ reading time to fiction instead of 30%. Or why it matters.
Hey, the publishing industry is happy to supply a boatload of informational text. Isn’t that what is found in all those deadly dull textbooks of math, science, and history?
I’m hoping that Coleman and Pimentel will keep listening and drop those arbitrary numbers.