“Step away from the book!

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.

Ha! And you thought little Johnny has a bad case of ADD now!

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. Supporters of the directive argue that it will help pupils to develop the ability to write concisely and factually, which will be more useful in the workplace than a knowledge of Shakespeare.

Seriously, I’m holding out hope that this some kind of sick joke.



  1. George says:

    These are all novels, all about people that never existed, the people that read them it makes them unhappy with their own lives. Makes them want to live in other ways they can never really be.

    • Alex says:

      These novels help kids develop a sense of themselves, something that informational textbooks can never do. They give insight to a person’s mind that is not your own and force you to question the way you think, thus helping you grow mentally. To Kill a Mockingbird shows how prevalent and disgusting racism was in the first part of the 20th century, and it does this better than any history book could. Catcher in the Rye is something that is not necessary but still it gives insight to teenage angst and helps a lot of kids understand they are not alone in how they feel. Taking fiction books out of curriculum will be the biggest mistake in education since No Child Left Behind. This is coming from a High School English Teacher.

  2. American2 says:

    Private education gets a shot in the arm? Or Americans get even duller.

  3. smartalix says:

    Stupid people are easier to manipulate.

  4. Benjamin says:

    Makes sense to have more real world text that people would encounter at work. However, this shouldn’t replace classic literature. It basically removes the soul from reading and create a lack of knowledge about American and English literature.

    Let’s learn about racism in the south through Harper Lee’s only novel and let’s read about totalitarian governments through 1984 and Brave New World. Knowledge of Animal Farm would have made everyone predict what would happen with this Arab Spring the Left was excited about.

    We need literature to keep us alive and impart a common culture. R-values of insualation will turn us in to boring people. Instead, to add non-fiction to our reading, let’s learn more about the lives of famous Americans like George Washington Carver, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Tesla and Edison. Let’s find ways to teach their virtues and learn from their vices.

    Is there no time to teach about Insulation and Invasive Plants? We could find the time. Maybe they could fit it into the school day if they didn’t teach children to put condoms on bananas or sing hymns to Barack Obama. There is plenty of time in the school day to teach informational text without sacrificing English and American literature.