by Anthony Esolen, Jamie Highfill, Sandra Stotsky
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
May 08, 2014
It is unclear whether poetry will survive a Common Core-based English classroom given the dramatic reduction in time spent on literary texts implicitly mandated by these national standards, and the ambivalence, if not hostility, of the standards writers towards literature. This paper makes a case for why poetry study and recitation belongs prominently in the K-12 curriculum. In part I, Anthony Esolen discusses why students should read poetry, the kind of reading that poetry demands, and what poetry has to do with the child’s developing imagination. In part II, Jamie Highfill explains how poetry has traditionally been taught in the public schools. In part III, Sandra Stotsky traces what is known about the poetry curriculum in this country’s public schools. Parts IV and V discuss how Common Core’s English language arts standards seem to be influencing the poetry curriculum in our public schools and poetry’s likely fate.