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The Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project: Bill Gates' Victory, Part 2

Also see What the Bill Gates Crew Wants 8th Graders to Read.

The Acknowledgements provide a summary of who's responsible:


Common Core and I, personally, have many people to thank for their support of and contribution to our mapping project. Jamie McKee and her peers at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were tremendously supportive throughout this effort. Dane Linn from NGA encouraged this project all along. David Coleman and Sue Pimentel of the Common Core State Standards ELA writing team have become wonderful colleagues in the course of this work. Our expert advisors--Russ Whitehurst, David Driscoll, Diane Ravitch, and Toni Cortese--all provided crucial guidance. We are tremendously grateful to the AFT teachers, Milken educators, NABSE representatives, and the many others who reviewed our maps with care, thoroughness, and honesty. I also thank Common Core's trustees for their steadfast support, and research assistant James Elias, whose investigatory skills are surpassed only by his ability to keep track of these seventy-six maps. Thanks to Ed Alton for converting our maps into a navigable, digital feast.

Lastly, the teachers who wrote the maps deserve my deepest thanks. Sheila Byrd Carmichael, who was a master project coordinator and writer, along with Lorraine Griffith, Cyndi Wells, Diana Senechal, and Ruth Stern all stuck with this project as it blossomed, wonderfully, beyond what any of us originally had imagined. This despite the challenges of the school schedule, motherhood, book deadlines, family vacations, and much else. It was an honor for me to have the opportunity to work alongside these teachers as they drew on their wealth of knowledge and experience to forge what we hope are tools that their peers nationwide will enjoy.

Lynne Munson
August 13, 2010
Washington, D.C.
For specifics of people involved,including bios, go here

by Susan Ohanian

The Common Core Curriculum maps have been released. They aren't kidding when they say map. The only thing even more systematically opposite to what I know in my bones as a teacher is Direct Instruction and DIBELS. Certainly, treating high schoolers as English majors is certain to drive them out of schools. Silly me: I thought all my screaming before might have been influential in getting William Wordsworth's "Preface to Lyrical Ballads" removed from the 9th grade curriculum. But it's still here--as informational text.

For each grade the mapmakers tell the teacher what to do, providing Overview, Focus Standards, Student Objectives, Suggested Works, Sample Activities and Assessments.

Here is an example of how specific they get.

7th grade
Students learn in a cooperative setting to identify, define, and construct words with prefixes.

Students read, analyze, and discuss medieval English ballads and then list characteristics of the genre.

I taught 7th grade kids labeled as "difficult," so I especially like this Focus Standard:

Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study.

Sure. If that's what Bill Gates thinks 7th graders should do, I'm sure they will comply. . . particularly as they read Cyrano de Bergerac or The Prince and the Pauper.

Here is a list of "Do This/Do That" for 11th graders, called Student Objectives:

  • Define and explain the origins of the Harlem Renaissance.

  • Explore the relationship between historical events and literature as they emerge in the works of Harlem Renaissance poets and authors.

  • Define and explain "The Lost Generation," noting experimental aspects of some works.

  • Note the relationship between themes in early twentieth century American literature and nineteenth century American thought.

  • Identify modernist ideas (using the informational text).

  • Analyze the relationship between modernist style and content.

  • Examine evidence of the alienation of "modern man."

  • Literary Texts, a 6-week unit.
    (E) indicates a CCSS exemplar text; (EA) indicates a text from a writer with other works identified as exemplars.


    * "Tableau" (Countee Cullen) (EA)
    * "Yet Do I Marvel" (Countee Cullen) (E)
    * "Richard Cory" (E.A. Robinson)
    * "The House on the Hill" (E.A. Robinson)
    * "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" (Langston Hughes) (EA)
    * "Mother to Son" (Langston Hughes) (EA)
    * "Harlem" (Langston Hughes) (EA)
    * "The Death of the Hired Man" (Robert Frost) (EA)
    * "Birches" (Robert Frost) (EA)
    * "The Road Not Taken" (Robert Frost) (E)
    * "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (T.S. Eliot) (E)
    * "Poetry" (Marianne Moore)
    * The Pisan Cantos (Ezra Pound) (selections)
    * "Domination of Black" (Wallace Stevens)
    * "A High-Toned Old Christian Woman" (Wallace Stevens)
    * "Conscientious Objector" (Edna St Vincent Millay) (EA)
    * "In the Dordogne" (John Peale Bishop)
    * "Grass" (Carl Sandburg) (EA)
    * "The Silent Slain" (Archibald MacLeish)

    Short Stories

    * "A Rose for Emily" (William Faulkner) (EA)
    * "Hills Like White Elephants" (Ernest Hemingway) (EA)
    * "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (Ernest Hemingway) (EA)
    * "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" (Ernest Hemingway) (EA)


    * Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston) (E)
    * The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) (E)
    * As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner) (E)
    * A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway) (E)
    * The Pearl (John Steinbeck) (EA)
    * Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck) (EA)
    * Winesburg, Ohio (Sherwood Anderson) (selections)


    The Piano Lesson (August Wilson)

    Informational Texts

    * Black Elk Speaks (Black Elk, as told through John G. Neihardt) (selections)
    * "The Solitude of Self" (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) (February 20, 1892)
    * "Freedom" (White)
    * "The Spirit of Liberty" speech at "I Am an American Day" (1944) (Learned Hand) (EA)


    * "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?" (James Baldwin)

    Art, Music, and Media

    * Marsden Hartley, Mount Katahdin, Maine (1942)
    * Georgia O'Keefe, Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory (1938)
    * Alfred Stieglitz, From the Back Window, 291 (1915)
    * Jacob Lawrence, War Series: The Letter (1946)
    * Charles Sheeler, Criss-Crossed Conveyors, River Rouge Plant, Ford Motor Company (1927)
    * Stuart Davis, Owh! In San Pao (1951)
    * Charles Demuth, My Egypt (1927)
    * Arthur Dove, Goat (1934)
    * Imogen Cunningham, Calla (1929)

    Do this in six weeks and then move on to a new unit.

    And if this doesn't kill them off and they come back for 12th grade, they get:

    * Unit 1 European Literature: Middle Ages
    * Unit 2 European Literature: Renaissance and Reformation
    * Unit 3 European Literature: Seventeenth Century
    * Unit 4 European Literature: Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century
    * Unit 5 European Literature: Nineteenth Century
    * Unit 6 European Literature: Twentieth Century

    The 4-week unit on late 18th century/early 19th century European Literature includes:

    Literary Texts

    For this shorter unit, teachers may want to choose one novel, several short stories, or a play, and poetry.

    * Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe)
    * Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
    * The Vicar of Wakefield (Oliver Goldsmith)
    * Emma (Jane Austen)
    * The Sufferings of Young Werther (Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe)


    * "Micromagas" (Voltaire)
    * The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (Rudolf Erich Raspe)


    * "Auguries of Innocence" "Songs of Innocence and of Experience" (selected poems) (William Blake) (EA)
    * "Ode to Indolence" "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (excerpts) (John Keats)
    * In Memoriam A. H. H. (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
    * "The Deserted Village" (Oliver Goldsmith)
    * "Tintern Abbey" "London, 1802" "The World is too Much with Us" "Ode to Intimations to Immortality" (excerpts) (William Wordsworth)

    Informational Texts

    * The Diary of Samuel Pepys (Samuel Pepys)
    * The Life of Samuel Johnson (James Boswell)
    * Preface to Lyrical Ballads (William Wordsworth)

    Art, Music, and Media
    Prompt: How did artists of this period frame the relationship between man and nature?

    * John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark (1778)
    * Frederic Edwin Church, Morning in the Tropics (1877)
    * Caspar David Friedrich, The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818)
    * John Constable, Seascape Study with Rain Cloud (1827)
    * Jean Honore-Fragonard, The Progress of Love: The Pursuit (1771-1773)
    * William Blake, The Lovers' Whirlwind (1824-1827)
    * Theodore Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819)

    The great thing in writing about education policy is that you never have to make anything up.

    Here's the "sell" on all this.

    Common Core's Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts were written by public school teachers for public school teachers. The maps translate the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Kindergarten through 12th grade into unit maps that teachers can use to plan their year, craft their own more detailed curriculum, and create lesson plans. The maps are flexible and adaptable, yet they address every standard in the CCSS. Any teacher, school, or district that chooses to follow the Common Core maps can be confident that they are adhering to the standards. Even the topics the maps introduce grow out of and expand upon the "exemplar" texts recommended in the CCSS. And because they are free, the maps will save school districts millions in curriculum development costs. The draft maps are available for public comment until September 17. Please tell us what you think!

    The Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project, created and operated by Common Core, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Did you get that? Bill Gates has paid for all this to be done, and it's being offered free to the schools.And because they are free, the maps will save school districts millions in curriculum development costs. Just call him Master of Curriculum. Bill Gates is delivering the curriculum to every state that signed up for the Common Core stamdards.

    What Bill Gates wants, Bill Gates gets. And hardly a whimper has been heard in the land.

    I have barely scratched the surface. Go and see for yourself. . . if you have the nerve.

    — Susan Ohanian
    Common Core Mapping Project commentary





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