Thursday, January 2, 2014

The common core ignores the evidence

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, January 2, 2013

Al Austin, in his letter to the Times (Jan 2) notes that the common core calls for "a sharp reduction" in literature in schools in favor of increased exposure to informational text.

This policy was created without any empirical evidence. The common core designers ignored  (or were not aware of) not only studies showing that reading literature contributes to an "enhanced theory of mind," described in the Times by Robert Sapolsky ("Another use for literature," Dec. 29) but also the massive amount of published research showing that self-selected "lighter" reading (largely fiction) contributes powerfully to literacy development (reading ability, vocabulary, grammar, spelling) and supplies the foundation for the reading of challenging texts.

Stephen Krashen

original articles:,0,6884773.story#axzz2pH5o2Ugw,0,2431766.story#axzz2pH5o2Ugw


  1. There is no doubt about this. I read extensively in other fields than education and general pleasure reading like now Poland by Mitchner and Shogun by Clavell for entertainment. If you read Aviation Week and National Geographic they are both educational and you learn the best writing and information all in one package from the best. What is so hard to understand, unless, you really want a dumbed down public so you can do whatever you want to and they do not know the difference like now only getting worse.

  2. My understanding of the CCS was that they were initially designed to be standards, and not a curriculum. When the standards were in their nascent stages, they seemed to provide another way of looking at education in the United States. They have since been misinterpreted, politicized, standardized, tainted by ETS and educational publishing companies, etc. They no longer do what they were set out to do. When my daughter came home with a CCS Vocabulary Workbook from an expensive private school in Manhattan, I was shocked. It was an SAT workbook published with the CCS logo, etc. The vocabulary had nothing to do with the book, "Animal Farm" (Orwell) that she was required to read. In addition, the teachers were so bound to the workbook, they couldn't see past it, and they had no idea what the CCS really were. My daughter is no longer at this school. Also, Mr. Krashen, how do you feel about the work of Stanford University, WestEd, and WIDA around the CCS? I feel I am disillusioned. Thank you.