In Chris Kirchner’s freshman English classes at Coral Reef Senior High School, novels like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Great Gatsby” have been squeezed off the syllabus to make room for nonfiction texts including “The Glass Castle” and “How to Re-Imagine the World.” For the first time, students will read only excerpts of classics like “The Odyssey” and “The House on Mango Street” instead of the entire book. And Kirchner will assign less independent reading at home, but will require students to write more essays, and push them to make connections across multiple texts.
The “change” Kirchner refers to is the introduction of the Common Core: the education standards adopted by Florida along with 44 other states and the District of Columbia. “I’m trying to go big with the change and see what works,” says Kirchner, who has taught English in Miami-Dade schools for more than 30 years.
A look at how Common Core will affect Florida classrooms (and others across the United States is featured in this article from The Hechinger Report, a newsletter that specializes in educational issues.