Schools in America are to drop classic books such as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye from their curriculum in favour of 'informational texts'.
American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in US classrooms by 2014.
A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 per cent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.
Books such as JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird will be replaced by "informational texts" approved by the Common Core State Standards.
Suggested non-fiction texts include Recommended Levels of Insulation by the the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Invasive Plant Inventory, by California's Invasive Plant Council.
The new educational standards have the backing of the influential National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and are being part-funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Great. Kids will lose To Kill a Mockingbird (the best novel ever written) and Catcher in the Rye, and gain... insulation manuals and inventories of plants. It will make them "ready for the workplace". Sigh.
In Ancient Greece, both freemen and slaves could be educated. Slaves were taught a trade, to make them more effective slaves, but were denied education in the trivium-- rhetoric, grammar and logic, and the quadrivium-- geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and music. The trivium and the quadrivium taught men to think.
Slaves were denied education in the trivium and the quadrivium because the intent was to make slaves useful by training them in a trade but to prevent them from thinking for themselves.
Education in the trivium and the quadrivium became known as "liberal" education-- education for free men.
Increasingly our public schools are moving away from a classical liberal education. Our kids are fed pre-digested tropes of various sorts, generally of a secular/Leftist bent. Religion gets virtually ignored. They know nothing of the Bible-- the foundational text of our civilization. Forget philosophy-- how many high schoolers could tell you what Aristotle's Four Causes are, or what Categorical Imperative means, or could discuss Aquinas' Five Ways? Questioning Darwin in a biology classroom leads to federal court. Ditto with a student prayer on an auditorium wall or student acknowledgement of Christ in a graduation ceremony. Now we are dropping great literature from our curriculums, and replacing it with "instruction manuals".
More and more our children in our public schools are being trained to take instruction, to conform, not to think for themselves, not to be free men and women.