Skip to content
Advertisements

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.

Advertisements
15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Well, I must say I’m relieved that literature isn’t being overlooked in your schools across the pond! Sometimes getting it wrong is the best outcome, at least people can now be assured that youngsters will be getting a decent well rounded education.

    Like

    January 8, 2013
  2. Thanks for posting a follow-up. I have seen this article pop-up both in the social media ‘verse, and on blogs. I researched it independently, looking up the Core Standards and came to the same conclusion- literature is not disappearing from American schools, and students will still be exposed to the classics. What sets your blog apart is that you took comments seriously, researched it, and posted a correction. You’re the first one I’ve seen. Thank you.

    Like

    January 8, 2013
  3. I’m sorry my comment yesterday elicited an “ouch”! I certainly didn’t mean to insult you for not following up. I was mostly disgusted with the Telegraph, myself, for them reporting far and wide across Britain misinformation that reinforces every negative stereotype they already have about us.

    Like

    January 8, 2013
    • Ha. No worries. I didn’t take it personally. I had more of the feeling that it was directed at The Telegraph anyway.

      Like

      January 8, 2013
  4. xrunningaround #

    Reblogged this on L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N..

    Like

    January 8, 2013
  5. I remember reading something similar and doing a bit of research as I have a middle-schooler who gravitates toward non-fiction and I, of course, would love to see him explore some of the classics (which is probably why he hasn’t).

    As far as your comment about being “jumped on” being deserved……not even close. Innocent mistake and we all make them. And there are ways to point errors out that don’t make you feel like saying “ouch”…..I think.

    Like

    January 8, 2013
    • Oh, I didn’t take that comment personal at all. More directed at The Telegraph. Same with the “jumped on” comment. Some commenters were quickly pointing at the at my info was wrong. That’s all I meant.

      Like

      January 8, 2013
  6. I really appreciate it that you took the comments seriously and took the trouble to write this follow-up post.

    Like

    January 8, 2013
  7. I applaud you for the retraction! We all get caught in worse mistakes.

    Like

    January 8, 2013
  8. Reblogged this on mandimartadha10031993.

    Like

    January 14, 2013
  9. This is my first time go to see at here and i am actually
    pleassant to read all at single place.

    Like

    October 28, 2013
  10. As a former journalist, I am astounded and appalled by the lack of fact-checking and the deceitful way statistics and data are manipulated to beat up a story. As a tertiary educator, I hope new moves in schools to improve literacy will do so. Not only is reading comprehension very poor, but most students—even those doing communications—don’t bother to look up anything they don’t understand, although it’s never been so easy to do so. The role of teachers now is to try to instil the desire to learn in young people, I think, because if they want to learn, they can pretty much teach themselves using the wonders of new technology. But they have to want to learn…

    Like

    June 10, 2014
  11. By the way, it is sad indeed that a newspaper such as The Telegraph can’t be trusted. And I, too, applaud you for your retraction. Why can’t news organisations do the same when they’re wrong?

    Like

    June 10, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Why Literature Might Disappear From Our Schools | 101 Books
  2. Hunter S. Thompson Wrote The Great Gatsby? | 101 Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: