Examples of What 6th Graders are reading in Collier County
1) There was a 7 page article/assignment on ‘Harry Potter vs. Twilight” in which 3 of the 7 pages concentrate on “Meeting the Actors” and discussing and comparing each movie and their respective box office revenues. One whole page was devoted to rewriting all the titles of the movies in order of which movie made the most money…Language Arts?
2) There was a 4 page article/assignment on 50 Cent, a famous rapper. The article mentions gun battles with opposing rappers, attacking women at concerts, earning money at dealing crack, going to prison, how he was almost stabbed to death because of his lyrics, how he was shot 9 times while sitting in his car, and also that he has been a suspect in several shootings. The article goes on to say that despite all that, like a “true Cinderella story, he went from rags to riches.” The article is written in such a simplistic way, a third grader could read it. The subject seems more appropriate for a Current Events class for older kids.
3) Another article, “Should Kids Be on Reality TV?” reads like a People magazine article, featuring recent winners and losers from the X Factor and other childhood stars. In the article, psychologists state that this is damaging to the children, and imply that parents are exploiting their children. However, the article ends noting the potential to make a great deal money and gain fame. Is this a Values Education class? Because after the class read this article, they all discussed what they thought about the parents and kids involved. I consider those kinds of discussions my job as a parent. Is this the best use of class time? It is, after all, a Language Arts class.
4) There was an article meant to promote discussion on “super-achiever” teens and their parents. The gist of which was, should parents let their teen pursue a dangerous goal. An example would be a teen pilot circumnavigating the globe by boat or plane. The discussion seems to lead in the direction that parents who allow these things may be irresponsible. Again, values and opinions are discussed and shaped by the class. I believe it is my responsibility to help form my child’s view of the world. Regardless, is this appropriate for a Language Arts class?
5) There were other articles on “Hazards of Cheer-leading” and “Clothing Fads of the 1960’s”. Need I say more?
In sum, I think our kids are spending time on subject matter best suited for discussion at home rather than Language Arts class. And this at the expense of missing out on all the lessons one benefits from by reading the classics, which not only improve grammar, vocabulary, reading/ writing skills, and knowledge, but have the potential of instilling noble character traits into a child by thought provoking and inspiring examples of virtue and life lessons through the trials and tribulations, choices, and sacrifices the characters make.