Alexandra Petri in a Washington Post piece. Read her whole article -- it a good one!
Forget “The Great Gatsby.”
New Common Core standards
(which impact 46 out of 50 states) will require that, by graduation in
2014, 70 percent of books studied be nonfiction. Some suggested texts
include “FedViews” by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the
EPA’s “Recommended Levels of Insulation,” and “Invasive Plant Inventory”
by California’s Invasive Plant Council.
Forget “Catcher in the Rye” (seems to encourage assassins), “The
Great Gatsby” (too 1 percenty), “Huckleberry Finn” (anything written
before 1970 must be racist) and “To Kill A Mockingbird” (probably a
Suzanne Collins rip-off). Bring out the woodchipping manuals!
I like reading. I love reading. I always have. I read recreationally
still. I read on buses, in planes, while crossing streets. My entire
apartment is covered in books. And now, through some strange
concatenation of circumstances, I write for a living.
And it’s all because, as a child, my parents took the time to read me “Recommended Levels of Insulation.”
Oh, “Recommended Levels of Insulation.” That was always my favorite,
although “Invasive Plant Inventory” was a close second. (What phrases in
literature or life will ever top the rich resonance of that opening
line? “The Inventory categorizes plants as High, Moderate, or Limited,
reflecting the level of each species’ negative ecological impact in
California. Other factors, such as economic impact or difficulty of
management, are not included in this assessment.” And we beat on, boats
against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past has nothing on
We don't even need to extend this discussion to Biblical illiteracy -- Lord knows that if they grow up reading "Recommended Levels of Insulation" they will never be satisfied reading such dull words as God's words.