Monday, September 23, 2002

Condensed High School

In more local Riverside Unified School District news, Riverside students will no longer be reading novels in English class. As Press Enterprise columnist Dan Bernstein reports:

Last year, the typical RUSD junior had to read “The Great Gatsby,” “Scarlet Letter,” “Of Mice and Men” and “Huckleberry Finn.” This year, a hot new item: a thick, colorful, heavy anthology brimming with bite-sized short stories, essays, poems, author bios and brief excerpts from time-consuming works of fiction that, frankly, my dear, contain nice turns of phrase but lack the essential ingredients for new and improved test scores.

"I would have died for this as an English teacher,” raves district Supt. Susan Rainey. “This anthology has an expanded list of authors, it’s more diverse. Students will get a rich and in-depth curriculum. We have a gigantic lesson plan for teachers to help them with all kids.”

Imagine kids learning to read a “gigantic” book instead. I hate that curriculum is often dumbed-down in the name of testing. Bernstein goes on to say that “It’s all about the test scores. The new anthologies are tailored to make sure students “master” state standards.” I’ll post the link to Bernstein’s column when it’s available.

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