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Superman As Good As Gatsby

A reader who is a high school English teacher writes:

Just opened the latest edition of the Council Chronicle, the quarterly magazine of the National Council of Teachers of English. It’s my first issue in awhile, because I was teaching in another department for the last few years. The table of contents is below [The photo above is the one the reader sent; all the articles are behind a subscriber paywall. — RD].

This publication used to be a great resource for lesson plan and assessment ideas. Now it’s a guide for how to politicize instruction and dumb down the curriculum. Just about every article mentions free choice as the standard — in other words, letting students read whatever they feel like instead of choosing works of substance for them. (Actual quote from a university instructor: “Why do we think The Great Gatsby is great when Superman has been around for almost as long?”) Sorry, but there’s no way I would have voluntarily picked up most of the classics that made me love literature — but having been assigned them in my courses, I discovered ideas and styles that stretched my perspective and challenged my intellect. Now the only leading we’re encouraged to do is toward “activism and joy,” in that order.

I was planning to attend the annual convention this year, but at this point I can’t see spending professional development funds on this hogwash. And this joke of a magazine is going straight to the recycle bin.

Readers, do you know if the English teachers at your child’s school follow these culturally Marxist pedagogical trends? Shouldn’t you know, one way or the other? If this is how your kid is being taught English literature, you need either to get your kid to a different school, or to do what Czechs did under communism, and find some way to give private instruction in real literature and humanities subjects to your young people.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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