Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute (a think-tank in Boston with which I disagree about charters) wrote a terrific piece about the history of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, why it is a classic, and why young people today should read it.

Gass writes:

Until recently, Massachusetts’ nation-leading K-12 English standards were animated by such classic British literature and poetry. Great fiction contributed to the commonwealth’s success on virtually every K-12 reading test known to the English-speaking world.

But in 2010, Massachusetts took $250 million in one-time federal grant money to replace its proven English standards with inferior nationalized ones known as Common Core. These national standards – an educational Frankenstein’s monster – largely decapitated timeless fiction and stitched on brainless so-called “informational texts…”

Frankenstein awakens us to a key lesson of modern learning – science is a powerful tool, but when uncoupled from moral and ethical grounding, it can easily become monstrous.

After pseudo-scientific 20th-century totalitarian regimes – which manufactured mass murder, the Holocaust, and gulags – Mary Shelley’s central message about the limits of human power and modern science is even more relevant today.

How sad for students and teachers.