The Washington Post reported the changes that have recently been adopted to the common core curriculum for US high school students. The Common Core has been adopted by 46 out of 50 state school boards, therefore it is the closest thing we have to a national curriculum Participation is voluntary and it is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule.
Nonetheless - If there is one thing that I think we are teaching our high school students today, then it is to hate reading - even more so for non-fiction works. The "informational texts" are indeed that, but they are not very appealing to a high school mind. The list of works include:
“Common Sense,” by Thomas Paine
The Declaration of Independence, by Thomas Jefferson
“Declaration of Sentiments,” by the Seneca Falls Conference
“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass
“Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences,” by John Allen Paulos
“Working Knowledge: Electronic Stability Control,” by Mark Fischetti
“Politics and the English Language,” by George Orwell
I don't know vary many high schoolers who would willingly read anything on that list, understand what they just read, and walk away wanting to read more. I survived on Cliff Notes in high school, because the fiction books that we were supposed to read were so dense and unpalatable that I could not bear it. Reading in high school should teach our children that, even if the events are real, the story can be engaging and that real-life lessons can be taken from the recent past. Our kids should want to pick up another non-fiction book after that. Reading should be addictive.
Instead of any of those works, I propose that all high schoolers should have to read one of the following Michael Lewis books:
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. (For those who are business inclined)
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. (For those who are sports or mathematically inclined)
The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley story. (For those who are technology inclined)
Next: The Future Just Happened. (Everybody else)
Your children will thank you for it.