A Community of Students, Teachers, Researchers, and Activists
Edited By Nancye E. McCrary and E. Wayne Ross
Chapter Three: Against Obedience
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It’s rather mind-boggling to find myself in McGuffey Hall—to find myself, the only teacher in my school who refused to use a basal reader, in such close proximity to William Holmes McGuffey. With the publication in 1836 of the most famous school textbook of all time, The McGuffey Reader, McGuffey, a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, planted a strong seed for a national curriculum. Estimates posit the sales of McGuffey Readers sold between 1836 and 1960 at 122 million copies, putting it in a category with the Bible and Webster’s Dictionary.
The McGuffey Reader was used in 37 states. Forty-six states have accepted the Common Core bribe, that is, 46 states plus Mariana Islands. I’d like to see Common Core consigned to the Mariana Trench. I admit I didn’t know what that was until, when writing a review of E. D. Hirsh’s Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, I carried the book on my travels and amazed and alarmed strangers on airplanes, in hospital waiting rooms, and in hotel lobbies about items on the list: What do you know about Leyden jars and when did you know it? How are your Mach numbers? Is your amicus curiae in working order? My husband was the only person who could identify the Mariana Trench, and he was quick to admit he acquired this arcane bit of information from...
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