imagesWarning: Graphic Material

We must warn readers the article that is linked to in the following post contains graphic and disturbing content. We feel it important, however, for parents to be aware of this issue so that they can take the appropriate precautions for their children and their school districts.

Politichicks reports on a book titled, The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison that contains pedophilia, rape and incest and is included on the “Text Exemplars” for the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts (ELA). Common Core defines text exemplars as texts which “serve to exemplify the level of complexity and quality that the Standards require all students in a given grade band to engage with.”

The Ohio Department of Education includes a link to the Common Core Text Exemplars on their website under the heading “Content Standards” for English Language Arts. The link is titled, “English Language Arts-Appendix B”.

The book in question is about a young girl who is abused and raped by her father and then abused by another man to whom she appeals for help. Even heavily edited, the excerpts contained in the Politichicks article are extremely graphic and it is hard to believe anyone would want to expose young people, 15, 16 and 17 years old, to this material.

Politichicks explains that the book is written from the perpetrator’s point of view and that the author “took pains to make sure she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems.”

The question must be asked if the Ohio Department of Education approves of the use of Morrison’s text in the high school classroom. The ODE website includes a general statement about the English Language Arts Standards as follows,

“The State Board of Education has adopted the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts as part of Ohio’s New Learning Standards for academic learning. The Kindergarten – Grade 12 standards will be fully in use in Ohio classrooms by 2014-2015, when assessments that align to the standards are in place. ODE encourages districts to start implementing the Ohio’s New Learning Standards now to better prepare students for 2014-2015 and beyond.”

If the State Board has adopted the Common Core ELA standards, does that mean they have reviewed them in detail or has the ODE blindly accepted the standards as written and in their entirety?

The State Board of Education and the ODE claim that Ohio has not lost local control of education with the adoption of the Common Core standards. If that is the case, it will be interesting to watch and to see how long Morrison’s book remains on the list of exemplar material for English Language Arts in the state of Ohio.

Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) has introduced a Common Core repeal bill in the Ohio House, HB 237. Ohioans are encouraged to call their State Reps and State Senators and ask them to get behind Rep. Thompson’s bill.  Let them know about Morrison’s book and tell them that Ohio wants to take back control of its education standards.

Concerned citizens may also consider contacting their local school districts to determine if Morrison’s book is approved reading for their school system.

The Politichicks article can be found here.