A Retraction: Yesterday’s Post Was A Mistake
I messed up with yesterday’s post.
I bit on a common case of social media mania. This Telegraph article popped up in social media land a few weeks ago, and it seemed too crazy to be true.
But The Telegraph was reporting it, right? This wasn’t some random Joe Schmoe blog (I guess that would be me), so I saved the article to talk about in a few weeks.
Well, yesterday, I talked about it, taking The Telegraph‘s word as truth. That was a mistake, and I totally own up to it. The brief article is presented in a such a way to make you believe literature is being replaced with science, or “informational texts,” in U.S. classrooms.
While I didn’t take it quite that literally, it seemed, to me, as another attempt by educators to squash literature. How many times have we talked about classic books like To Kill A Mockingbird being banned in some school districts?
And, while this wasn’t an issue of schools banning a book, I felt like it was our educational system pooping on literature once again.
Well, in this case, that wasn’t true. If you go to the actual Core Standards PDF with the recommended books, To Kill A Mockingbird is on there, as was books like The Grapes of Wrath, Farenheit 451, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and many other widely-regarded pieces of literature.
Apparently, The Telegraph didn’t read what they were reporting about–since To Kill A Mockingbird is specifically mentioned in the list. But I have no excuse, because I didn’t either.
The reality is, literature isn’t being “replaced” by anything. Both the science books, the informational texts, and the other nonfiction books will be taught alongside each other when the new standards are implemented in 2014.
The new standards say 70% of all books studied should be nonfiction, but that’s across all subjects. And that number is probably no different that the ratio of fiction to nonfiction currently taught.
So…my bad. I apologize for perpetuating a social media induced panic and myth. Had I done just a touch more research, I would’ve realized the The Telegraph was the only “legitimate” news outlet reporting this–no other U.S. news outlet had mentioned it–and that might have begun to tip me off. They made a mountain out of a molehill with a small article of a few hundred words.
As Erin W. put it in the comments to yesterday’s article, “You’ve fallen for what is basically anti-American propaganda here.” Ouch. Several more of you guys jumped on me in the comments as well, and that’s well deserved. A little more research would’ve led me to tons of other articles, and comments within articles, that showed the original Telegraph report to be totally bogus.
I know better. I don’t work as an editor or proofer or fact checker, but I work with them every day. Proof! Proof! Proof! Fact check! Fact check! Fact check!
From what I can tell, The Telegraph hasn’t published a retraction. That’s a shame. At the very least, even if the “facts” were correct, their slant on those facts was entirely misleading.
So, they might not have retracted the article, but this is my retraction. Yesterday’s post was pretty much all wrong. The source was bad and my effort in verifying the source was bad.
You can bet that I won’t be using The Telegraph as a source for anything anymore. But, as far as 101 Books is concerned, the buck stops with me.
Thanks to those of you who brought this to my attention, and I apologize to anyone who took my post as truth.