How the Common Core Is Impacting Publishers

There is a little uncertainty, but overall it seems as they believe the Common Core will be a boon for the industry, especially as it relates to non-fiction books.  From excerpts from a Publishers Weekly article by Karen Springen:

First she’s bought onto the mantra that these are not federal standards:

To backtrack: the Common Core State Standards are not federal standards. After all, the U.S. Constitution gives Congress no authority to fund or regulate schools or control curriculum, standards, or policy. But at its annual fall meeting in 2008, after previous informal discussions, the Council of Chief State School Officers—with input from some state governors—formally decided to come up with some uniform standards to get more low-performing students into college courses without needing remedial courses once they got there.

He highlights the Common Core’s focus on informational text and fairly presents both sides:

Typically, Core authors want students to think more critically about what they’re reading, rather than just summarizing text; to compare multiple sources in different formats; and to give more sourced evidence, and less personal opinion, in their writing. And, as noted in the standard’s criteria for publishers, scientific and historical texts should receive the “same time and weight as literary text.” By the 2014–2015 academic year, the initiative calls for 50% informational text (including textbooks, essays, speeches, newspaper articles, and nonfiction trade books) in elementary school and 70% in high school—on average, across all curricula. “The 50–50 split is not for English class,” says David Coleman, a lead writer of the Core’s English language arts plan and the incoming president of the College Board (which administers the SAT and AP exams). “The celebration of nonfiction’s role is not meant to be at the expense of fiction.” The nonfiction-to-fiction ratio currently being taught in schools nationwide is unknown, but Coleman says the new split is based on the ratio found in the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. Critics say no studies show that those percentages are best or that the NAEP exam creators wanted them to be those used in school. The exam creators did not intend to be “dictating what should be taught in a classroom,” says Sandra Stotsky, a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas who sat on the NAEP committee. She remains skeptical of the Common Core State Standards. “David Coleman has never taught English. He’s never been in k–12,” Stotsky says, and Susan Pimentel, the other lead writer of the language arts standards, only briefly taught Head Start, not English. “[And] there’s no research that shows informational reading will make kids ready for college.”

Then there is the criticism surrounding Appendix B:

One Core section that’s been a magnet for criticism is its Appendix B, which provides what it calls “exemplars” of language arts texts. It’s not perfect: “With so many great, timely nonfiction books available, it’s disappointing that a dated 1992 book on Mars makes the list,” says Kathleen Odean, a former Newbery committee chair, former elementary school librarian, and author of Great Books About Things Kids Love. “What could they have been thinking?” As for other titles on Appendix B, she likes Philip Isaacson’s 1993 A Short Walk Through the Pyramids and Through the World of Art, but notes that it’s out of print, and Patricia Lauber’s 1996 Hurricanes—though it, too, is not current. And, she says, “side by side” with Mary Ebeltoft Reid’s out-of-print 1997 book Let’s Find Out About Ice Cream is Russell Freedman’s “outstanding” The Freedom Walkers, about the Montgomery bus boycott.

Steve DelVecchio, a public librarian in Seattle and a former teacher and school librarian, edited Appendix B in 2009 and says that it is meant to show the types of materials that meet Core standards. “It was never, ever meant in any shape or form to be a recommended booklet or reading list,” he says. “It’s not meant at all to de-emphasize reading classic or traditional literary text or poetry or drama. Just read the darn thing. Very few people are doing that.”

As it turns out, many educators are, in fact, treating Appendix B as a national reading list. “I’ve watched people say, ‘We need to go ahead and order all these materials, and now I’m doing the Common Core,’ ” says Melissa Jacobs-Israel, a library services coordinator for the New York City schools. Indeed, “the likelihood is that most states are going to adhere to what’s actually in the printed booklet,” says Ravitch. And this represents an opportunity for publishers. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for example, already hands out a tear sheet with all of its books that appear on Appendix B. “[Appendix B] is a terrific place to start,” says Betsy Groban, senior v-p and publisher of HMH Children’s Book Group. “It’s a huge opportunity.”

So it will be a boon… if your book is on the list.  If not well not so much.