Monday, October 21, 2013

No Fear Common Core

I just bought my first copy of a No Fear Shakespeare play.  It makes me a little nauseous.
God bless Common Core, we now have to read Hamlet in grade 12 English as opposed to Macbeth.  Dear old Macbeth has replaced Julius Caesar in grade 10.  Because our textbooks do not align to this new expectation, we have been furnished with paperback copies of No Fear Shakespeare: Hamlet and No Fear Shakespeare: Macbeth.  I bought my own copy so I can highlight and mark it up without marking a library copy.

I sure don't mean to kick a gift horse in the mouth, but it seems to me if the whole goal of Common Core is to increase rigor and raise the level of critical thinking, shouldn't we read the REAL Shakespeare?  

Oh, I know.  These No Fear books have the real Shakespeare.  It's true.  They do.  But they also have a plain English translation side by side.

Some how,

"The question is:  is it better to be alive or dead?  Is it nobler to put up with all the nasty things that luck throws your way or to fight against all those troubles by simply putting an end to them once and for all?"
...does not have the same ring to it that

"To be, or not to be?  That is the question--
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them?"


Is this increasing rigor? 

No.  It isn't.

Which side of the text do you think students will read?


I will have to find another way to do that.

Meanwhile, I think I'll try for a grant to get some copies of the real deal.

1 comment:

Jim said...

That's terrible. In the 10th grade, wayyyyy back in the day, I memorized enough Julius Caesar to get an A for that 6 week period. Ditto with MacBeth in the 12th grade. Who could (or would want to) memorize the modern version. Rigor my royal ass.