Common Core ‘Exemplars': Graphic Sex and Praising Castro

chalkboardI must admit that I would have been too embarrassed to teach Julia Alvarez’s sexually explicit novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, to the college students I have taught for over twenty years, much less to ninth- and tenth-graders, as many Georgia high school teachers have been instructed to do.

Some high school teachers also have a problem with its overtly feminist and leftist-leaning ideology. The men are portrayed as weak drunkards, continually cheating on their wives.

For example, there is a drunken New Year’s celebration of “the triumphant announcement.  Batista had fled!  Fidel, his brother Raul, and Ernesto they call Che had entered Havana and liberated the country.” No indication in the novel that Fidel and Raul turned out to be tyrants, or Che a mass murderer.

The novel has explicit descriptions of masturbation and intercourse, but I’m too embarrassed to quote those.

The novel is taken straight from Common Core’s “Text Exemplars” for ninth and tenth grades.  Although the “exemplars” are officially intended to be suggested readings, educrats take the suggestions literally.  They know that they have to prepare students for the national tests being rolled out in 2014/2015.

Most state legislators and members of the school board who support Governor Nathan Deal in his support of Common Core repeat that Common Core does not prescribe a curriculum—but rather “standards.”  These standards supposedly ensure that students’ academic achievement is consistent state to state.  But that’s another reason for textbook selection committees to select works from the “exemplars”—like Alvarez’s novel.  And it’s another reason why school boards seek to buy “Common Core-compliant” textbooks, as Cobb County in Georgia was going to do for $7.5 million—until citizens protested.

Consistency and standards are among the selling points of Common Core.  Recently at a political meeting one of our Republican state senators brought in a Common Core-supporting member of the state school board to sell us on Common Core and explain that arguments against Common Core are based on misinformation.  These are state standards, he insisted.  They are not curricula.  And they were developed by some “very smart” people–people with doctorates in education and experience in administration.  The school board member even used his son’s Boy Scout badges to demonstrate the difference between standards and curricula.  Neither he nor the senator had spent a day in a classroom as teachers, however. Had they, they would have known that “standards” and “curricula” in the real world of the classroom have very little difference in meaning.  That’s why there is a big rush on to buy “Common Core-compliant” textbooks across the country.

Still, these two Common Core salesmen implied that opponents are part of the tin foil hat contingent.  Even my question in private to the school board member (who claimed to love “literature”) about the fact that informational texts like EPA directives will be replacing a large percentage of literary works was met with the retort, “So how many times do you use Beowulf?  Graduates need to learn how to read informational texts in order to be able to read instructions at work.”

No doubt, high school students sharing his opinion would rather read Alvarez’s unchallenging polemical and titillating prose than Beowulf or Paradise Lost.   No doubt, her novel will bring them up to speed on politically correct figures and sex tips.  The accompanying EPA directives will teach them how to scan boring texts for required instructions at their “21st century” jobs where they will do tasks that require little concentration or independent thought.

And as national social studies standards now come rolling in they will also learn about new American heroes, like Common Core’s biggest funder, billionaire Bill Gates.  One elementary school textbook published by Pearson, the giant international publishing company that has helped develop Common Core tests, contains several pages of tribute to him.

The tribute to the billionaire leftist will make a nice complement to praise of Castro and Che in one of the few works of fiction allowed to remain in the ever-diminishing pool of literary “exemplars” under these new “standards.”

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  • Jenny Hatch

    I wrote a blog post about the Math side of things:

  • Paul Marks

    Very much the "new" left – the sex is to attract the young ("wow we are rebels"), but the key message is Communism.

    Brought to the young by order of the United States government.

    • Gadsden Gurl

      Time for another revolution I'd say.

    • Gadsden Gurl

      Thank you for the UP votes…. the left is at me and so are the SQUISHY conservatives.. I blame the GOP for not going after educational issues and Agenda 21… they are useless.

      • @paulvmarks

        Some of the GOP are useless – and some are not. Both on education and on Agenda 21 one has to be very careful how one presents the issue – as the media (and so on) are quick to smear anyone who raises these matters as a tinfoil hat wearer. One has to be very calm (even whilst being insulted – something I find very difficult) and have hard evidence to hand for everything one says.

        • Gadsden Gurl

          I understand… but if you read this, you'll see the consequences of not acting to stop this… call it what you will!

          • @paulvmarks

            Yes – that Democrats get involved in this Agenda 21 power grab (for example trying to get government control of water) is only to be expected. But sadly some Republicans fall in with it alao – I suspect the good people of Bedford New Hampshire (historically one of the most conservative towns in the United States) need to find themselves a new Representative.

  • Bonnie R

    Exposing graphic sexual material to young people is also called "grooming." Pedophiles use this to break down their victim's defenses. The Common Core curriculum is sick with graphic sexual material. The better to prepare their future crop of innocents for their pleasure.

    • You Know Who

      Why are people so afraid of sex in this country?

      • Spider

        I guess you never heard of Hep -C, AIDS, Herp-es Warts, Clamidia, Ghonerea, Papiloma Virus, Antibiotic resistent Syphillis or Millions of Ab-ortions for unwanted pregnancy. What's to worry about ? Sure let's just teach kids its OK and there is nothing to worry about no matter what your age or relationship commitment level.

        • You Know Who

          That is why they need informed. Don't hide it like a coward.

          At least you show you are afraid of sex

          • Common Sense

            A fear of sex and a respect for the consequences of sex are too entirely different things.

          • You Know Who

            So you're afraid of it?

          • Mary Sue

            yeah, get back to me when young women are no longer dropping dead of cervical cancer caused by widespread rampant unchecked HPV.

      • beez

        Where the hell did you get that stupid idea?

      • Gadsden Gurl

        No one is "afraid of sex" but many of us prefer to teach our own kids in our own homes, not have it the role of government to teach.

        • You Know Who

          Yet, noone of you cowards do. Someone has too. When it comes to sex parents shut up and don't teach their little ones.

          Which is why we have the problems we do and cowards like you are afraid of sex.

          • Mary Sue

            Why is there an enormous straw man burning on your front lawn?

    • @1389

      It's happening in Canada also.

  • Robin

    Standards is merely the 21st century euphemism for outcomes when outcomes became too notorious.

    One of the poorly understood purposes of the Common Core is it redefines Good Schools as schools that alter student's Identities and the prevailing norms. Again a restatement of the old OBE goal of targeting a student's values, attitudes, and beliefs but this time also getting ready to frame their new sense of self around their Group status.

    Which of course makes class and sex and race and ethnicity all important for the classroom. Just different perspectives. Must have a Growth Mindset not a fixed one as Carol Dweck now frames it.

    I can just guess who the state senator was. Probably the same grandee who spoke at a Breakfast I attended saying the focus is no longer on academics. Students just need to be Competent.

    Planned Mediocrity of Mind is a vision of serfdom.

  • You Know Who

    more annoying spam

  • You Know Who

    Wow it's sex people. It's natural children need to be taught about it and since most parents are to big of cowards too do it someone else has to

    • BoyMom

      No one has to be taught about sex. It's an instinct. Making it out to be common and not a special experience to be cherished is part of the problem. This society is so sex crazed that it is impossible to shield anyone no matter their age from sexuality. As a parent it is terrifying.

      • You Know Who

        It is a common experience. It's natural. I guess it is all about culture.

    • patriotmom

      Do you have children "you know who"?

      • You Know Who

        Sure do

      • Gadsden Gurl

        He does and they are all pregnant. LOL

        • You Know Who

          They are 3 and 5.

          Your trolling isn't working very well huh?

          • Gadsden Gurl

            Can't take a joke, humorless liberal? Why are you so concerned about the sex education of OTHER people's children? It is none of your business. I'ts not like children are owned by the state…. er unless you watch MSNBC. LOL

          • Mary Sue

            would you read that sexually explicit commie book as a bedtime story to your three year old? No? I GUESS YOU ARE AFRAID OF SEX!

    • Rae

      Obviously you aren't a parent, or you would realize parents are certainly not cowards. They will fight to the death for the well-being of their children, and that includes their education. The sex problem in our nation isn't that parents don't talk to their kids, it's that schools intrude where they don't belong, and teach our kids that it's healthy to be promiscuous. There is NO such thing as "safe sex". Condoms might protect the majority from aids, but they do NOT protect against ALL the other types of STD's. Nor is it emotionally healthy for kids to participate in sex. Girls especially suffer emotionally because sex ties them emotionally to boys who are not emotionally connected to them. And, as others have mentioned, this baloney "grooms" them to be taken advantage of by others.

      • You Know Who

        You ever travel out of this country?

        Places liek Amsterdam or other countries. Sex is a wonderful thing this is the only country where anti-social christians hide from it.

        • Smarter Than Wee

          Or those who walk upright, don't' go into scratch-and-sniff mode at the sight of someone of either sex, and live in buildings. Keep defending Soros' Open Society BS, it exposes you for the traitor you are.

          • You Know Who

            Have you told everyone where you have been lately.
            Why not tell them what you did and expose yourself for the monster you are?

        • civilization

          "Anti-social [C]hristians" built European civilization. The current decadent "Europeans" don't deserve the name. They haven't provided for their own defense in half a century, and because of contraception, abortion and homosexuality will be gone from the earth within the next few generations.

          Have you ever been to Asia? Africa? South America? It's really only Western Europe (and its groupies, Canada and Australia) that are buying into the sexual revolution. If you travel to Seoul or Tokyo you will not see women walking down the street half-naked as you do in decadent, dying Western Europe. It's because they value something, call it "class" or "manners" or "modesty." It's a hard to explain to someone like you who apparently was raised in a barn.

        • Mary Sue

          Amsterdam is a cesspool even to the Dutch.

        • android

          HA HA AMSTERDAM, great comeback, you told them pervy mcpervton Christian hater. MYOB troll.

      • Gadsden Gurl

        Rae you are correct… Let's tell this troll to stop imposing his bad standards on our kids, even if he wants his to be ruined.

    • Gadsden Gurl

      Teaching about sex and exposing to rank pornography are two different things. PS _ my low score is due to posting the truth on many neocon websites.

      • You Know Who

        You're low score is for being a troll

        • Gadsden Gurl

          Really? I don't troll, I post what I think to be correct and true and right and truly 'conservative'… not the liberal crap you rinos and progressives love to support.

          • RandyAnn

            You're talking to WeeToadEdwards…proIranian troll, whose idea of a roll in the hay, is literally with a goat…or other handy farm critter…

          • Gadsden Gurl

            I can imagine. But I am not pro or anti anyone… just governments who do bad stuff, starting with our own.

          • You Know Who

            You can't troll very well either.

            Frankly your insults are weak

          • You Know Who

            Well you have me all wrong troll.

        • You know Nothing

          "Your" Farsi gotcha down?

        • android

          troll pervy mc pervington.

    • Omar

      Voldemort, children need to be taught appropriate things in an appropriate manner. Professors need to teach what their curriculum says. But of course, you support left-wing indoctrination.

    • Ghostwriter

      Well,You Know Who. I'll spell it out for you. There are people out there called parents,who want to keep their kids as innocent as they can for as long as they can. They want their kids to be kids. And then there are idiots like you,who want to do things which take away their innocence. I hope you don't have kids. I wouldn't be surprise if Child Protection Service has you on it's watch list.

  • Cmj

    Between the 24 hour hate on social media and common core the Utopian human cyborg should be complete in time for the 2016 election.

  • AdinaK

    Common Core is meant to indoctrinate generations to come to the detriment of the traditional family, thus bringing down America –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

    • lpn

      Exactly! This is exactly what is being done. If they can't conquer the parents, then they slowly (or not so slowly) indoctrinate the children. It is like the frog in the pot, he will jump out of a pot of hot water, but not if you bring up the heat slowly, he will just cook without realizing it.

  • clarespark

    What and how to teach adolescents is up for grabs. No leadership and less thought in the minds of even well-meaning curriculum developers. I have a link to my blog on the Common Core Standards here, in a blog that treats another very problematic teaching assignment. See…. "Pretend you are a Nazi." The field is in turmoil.

    • Gadsden Gurl

      Liberals don't have to pretend… just look at the posts by You Know Who

  • Bertram Cabot Jr.

    The Chamber of Commerce is running radio spots in Indiana stating that anyone who opposes “Common Core” is a right wing extremist (their words).

    • Gadsden Gurl

      I would love a recording of that for our tea party website…. ? Link?

    • Robin


      Have you seen my work explaining the connections of the Common Core to an Industrial Policy economy as well as reimagined federal revenue sharing to restructure the economy around Green Energy and Regional Equity?

      It will make the Chamber's interest click right in place. It becomes who has a place at the political table and the lobbying window in terms of who gets to be in the Corporatist oligarchy.

  • Gadsden Gurl

    I've been a teacher for 35 years and look at the bad score I get for sticking up for what's right in education. Between the neocon useless GOPers and the left, my score is toast.. LOL Not that it bothers me. I will never back down from the truth or what's right… over what is wrong. CC is just wrong like all the other stuff before it… reform, social justice teaching, constructivism, OBE, RttT, NCLB, IB, etc etc.

    • Gadsden Gurl

      Huh? No one would ever make such as stretch, and it is a stretch for sure. A neocon is a fake conservative, period.. a war mongering fake conservative at that. Someone who liked the foreign policy of Bush, but now can't tolerate it under Obama, when it is just the same.

      Sorry but your attempt to smear me by insinuating that I dislike any type of people was weak… and ineffective. Stick to talking about government policy which is the subject.

      • Keith

        Umm… I am quite conservative and I supported both Bush's foreign policy and Obama's, at least as far as his drone attacks in Pakistan are concerned (not much of the rest of his pacifistic crap). And I know no conservatives who are double-minded on this. We are supporting the tough stand Obama's taking in Pakistan. It's the Left that has made any noise about this at all, albeit a quiet noise.

        Re: the subject at hand, this is vile. Our society is slowly devolving and it is stunning to me that those who proclaim to be enlightened are so in love with their theoretical world, that they cannot see that that world has never worked when brought to reality. They refuse — CHOOSE — not to learn the lessons of history. They are ushering in the very fascism that they proclaim to be bitterly against. Promiscuity, legalized drugs, state nannyship… sounds a lot like Aldus Huxley's vision.

        Professing themselves wise, they became fools, as Romans says.

    • You Know Who

      This teacher seems like a Jew hating Nazi

      • Gadsden Gurl

        Keep posting preposterous crap like this.. it only helps to destroy your credibility.

    • Gadsden Gurl

      It has nothing to do with anything of the sort so I would advise you to stop the ad hominems.

  • Guest

    Context, as ever, is all important here. Alvarez' novel is in a list with a whole series of other texts (see below) most of which would pass any text for traditional literary value. This is not a huge list, but it's not short either (and it's from just the Grade 11 list). One can raise all kinds of questions about the Common Core, but this one seems bogus.

    And anyway, if you're worried about sex, why not get all upset about having students read Ovid?

    Homer. The Odyssey, Ovid. Metamorphoses, Gogol, Nikolai. “The Nose,"
    De Voltaire, F. A. M. Candide, Or The Optimist,Turgenev, Ivan. Fathers and Sons, Henry, O. “The Gift of the Magi, Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis, Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath, Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451, Olsen, Tillie. “I Stand Here Ironing.”, Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart, Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird, Shaara, Michael. The Killer Angels, Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club, Álvarez, Julia. In the Time of the Butterflies, Zusak, Marcus. The Book Thief

  • Elizabeth Bennett

    Let's burn us some books! Woo hoo!

    • Mary Sue

      Let's give Playboy to kindergarten children


    • FritzIdler

      No book burning necessary. Just replace them with higher quality novels. As a one time reader of "Catcher In The Rye," for instance, I wouldn't dream any longer of making it mandatory reading for high school. Too depressing.

  • jueltidegates

    Religion is the opiate of the masses…. and Free Love is the methadone of the Counter-Culture.

  • Omar

    Why doesn't the MSM/Academia talk about the real achievements that Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, achieved under the administration of Gov. Luis Fortuno? When Fortuno was sworn in as governor (as a result of his landslide victory in the 2008 elections over corrupt politician Anibal Acevedo Vila) in January 2009, the island's economy was a wreck. It is important to note that the current economic recession in the United States began in Puerto Rico about two years (2006) before the recession spread to the mainland (2008). The recession was caused by Acevedo Vila's disastrous economic policies, including an infamous tax hike. When Fortuno's conservative administration needed to cut government spending and tax rates as well as eliminate unnecessary government jobs that were causing an economic strain, the left-wing opposition, led by the Popular Democratic Party, the far-left Puerto Rico Independence Party and many corrupt radical unions and activists took to the streets to denounce Fortuno as a "fascist" and a "dictator". Many of the anti-Fortuno protests were also anti-American, pro-Communist and were supported and funded by the Castro dictatorship in Cuba and the Chavez/Maduro autocracy in Venezuela. The left-wing opposition also received support from leftist activists and organization in the mainland, including academia. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (aka Mr. Illegal Immigrant Rights) frequently denounced Fortuno and his conservative, pro-statehood New Progressive Party government as "authoritarian". Gutierrez's ridiculous attacks against Fortuno and his government were not only wrong, but also hypocritical, considering the fact that in 1999, Gutierrez, along with then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder (aka Mr. I see no Black Racism or Voter Intimidation), pressured then-President Bill Clinton to grant clemency to 16 unrepentant terrorist from the violent Stalinist/Maoist separatist group the FALN. The leftist attacks against Fortuno intensified during 2010 and 2011, when radical student groups at the University of Puerto Rico campuses across the island decided to stage violent protests in order to protest an $800 tuition hike imposed by the government (the tuition hike was imposed in order to keep the economy stable). The radical student protesters intimidated other students, rioted and destroyed university property. The left in Academia praised the protesters' violent actions and agenda, while condemning Fortuno for trying to keep order at the UPR campuses. The left's constant attacks (which included from senseless propaganda to voter fraud in the 2012 elections) against Fortuno led to his downfall in the elections this past November. Today, the illegitimate "governor", Alejandro Garcia Padilla, is now trying to impose the infamous tax hike that Acevedo Vila tried imposing back in 2006. Today, Puerto Rico's economy is returning to the mess that it was before Fortuno was elected governor. This is all thanks to the left in Academia, and in other institutions. The same left that praises monstrous regimes like the Castro dictatorship in Cuba has demonized a good politician (Luis Fortuno) who respects the rule of law. The left has absolutely no morals at all. In Academia, left-wing criminals often get praised, while the voices of reason get demonized by the radical left. This has got to stop.

  • red craven

    more non sense take the funding away from public education, indoctrination ,what ever you want to call it and the ugly beast will die . then some students might learn how to think

  • Cmj

    The Prussian system of education was also controlled by the government and was designed to advance the cause of the state. The educational model was later adopted by the United States in the 1840s under the label of common or public schools. Government schools, by design, served the compelling interests of the secular state of Prussia, and also served the those individuals in the U.S.who desired to transform their country into a secular socialistic state. -Streams of Civilization, vol. 2, Christian Liberty Press

  • mess1up

    Humm! Where did this take place before? Darn, looks like…yep, Germany 1925-29. It was for the "common good!" Or as Joseph Stalin (Soviet Union) would have said "The Collective!"
    "Standards"and performance driven curricula was another social engineering architect's dream of 'The Youth Squad"…Joseph Goebbels.
    Jeez! Sounds almost like indoctrination, recruitment for a government "civilian army!" Now, where has one heard this before???HUH? Why, of course! Obama's first Presidential run for office. WOW! Common Core is both a recruitment and indoctrination tool in all American schools! Now, who in the world woudda thunk! Pray. Amen.

  • Florence Smith

    Your statement "Neither he nor the senator had spent a day in a classroom as teachers, however. Had they, they would have known that “standards” and “curricula” in the real world of the classroom have very little difference in meaning." makes it sound more like you haven't spent a day in a classroom.

    Standards are goals that teachers are striving to meet for that grade level. For example standard RI.3.2 is "Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea." The curriculum to go with that could be a series of paragraphs on horses. The curriculum could be stories about beluga whales. The curriculum could be to use a learning game such as Main Street Shopping with a series of various paragraphs for which the student chooses the correct answer or computer activities like Main Idea Comprehension Activities by Lakeshore. The curriculum choices are actual countless. I think any teacher you ask would disagree with your notion that curriculum and standards are synonyms.

    As a Title I teacher for grades K-8 who uses the standards daily, I would agree with the opinion of the school board member who said arguments against Common Core are based on misinformation.

  • Lookeehere

    The tiny charter school I work for is planning to sink anywhere from $250,000 to $400,000 for the purchase of common core math and ELA curricula for next year. I am heartsick.

  • 1PierreMontagne1

    Lenin said – “Give me your students for just Four(4) years”
    America has given its Children to Obama for Eight(8) years.
    What is that “Hope and Change” all about?

  • mollyandausten

    What a piece of garbage this article is. Do you ever check your “facts” or do you just post this kind of inflammatory, untrue crap and hope that it will stick with some hapless uneducated sheep? Common Core has been adopted by most Republican governors, like here in Florida, as the way to go. I don’t agree with any politician framing curriculum that hasn’t taught school and been directly involved in education. But articles like this unfairly portray people that have no involvement in it at all. Plus, its a load of propaganda. What gets me is that people blindly believe it!

  • pgcoug

    Common Core is the latest attempt by the Feds to nationalize education. The Federal take-over of education will distance the parents from the educational process. This model is aiming for the European model, which pushes children into career paths at an early age, which assigns vocational, or university direction. Another bothersome aspect is the data-mining of our children that will determine religious and political leanings, income, and other bizarre behaviors to the role of education. Buyer, Beware.

  • patriotmom54

    Well, you’ve had three months now mollyandausten to do some fact checking yourself. I hope you have. Mary Graber is right. Yes, some Republican governors did sign on (BUT the Republican National Committee has written a resolution OPPOSING Common Core), but the FACTS are that there were really no real educators involved in writing these standards and the two standards experts in the country refused to sign off on these standards because the quality is so poor. If you can’t see that this is a way for the feds and their progressive liberal buddies to completely takeover education and end local control then you are not checking YOUR facts.

  • minutemom

    Yet another trash novel (at best) disguised as “award-winning”, being peddled to our children, who have no chance of staying children in this world, anymore. From the very people we think should protect them while our kids are in their care. Disgusting.