9 Investigates: Concern over ‘racy' books included on Common Core reading list

by: Paige Hansen Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

There are concerns over sexually-explicit books on the new Common Core high school reading list.

North Carolina lawmakers will begin their short session in Raleigh next week and that controversial program is expected to be a hot topic.

Critics told Eyewitness News some books are too boring while others  are too racy for your kids.

Shakespeare, the Declaration of Independence and The Department of Energy's Guide to Insulation Standards a on the Common Core recommended reading list.

Common Core standards were created to ensure students graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
 
Not everyone is a fan.
 
“There are good and bad,” said Lindsey Burke with the Heritage Foundation.
 
Burke says the list includes some pretty boring titles.
 
“Recommended levels of insulation is a good example of something that might put a 14-year-old boy to sleep during his class,” Burke said.
 
The list has its supporters like Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

She said the books represent real life.

“They should be prepared to read the kinds of rigorous informational texts that we're all faced with -- not just in our jobs, but in the newspaper - everything that's required to be an active citizen,” she said.
 
Chuck Nusinov with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said districts are not required to follow the entire reading list. It's simply a guide.
 
“Teachers are empowered to, to make those professional decisions to engage the learners,” he said.
 
Channel 9 asked him about some of the books that have sparked concern.
 
Toni Morrison's “The Bluest Eye" is recommended for 11th-graders.
 
A Utah therapist is pushing for it to be banned from schools, calling it "a virtual training manual for how to sexually abuse children"  because the story includes rape, incest and pedophilia.
 
"Dreaming in Cuban" is also recommended for 11th-graders and includes passages too graphic for us to share on TV.
 
Nusinov said these books might be appropriate for some students.

“I think through the history of education there's always been some push and pull whether it's the ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ which is considered a classic in some circles or ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ which again are considered classic in some circles, teachers have to use their best judgment,” he said.
 
 “I think you're going to feel a lot of pressure to follow that reading list pretty closely,” Burke said.
 
Opponents said the list strips away teachers' creativity.
 
Still, there are only five required reads, including Shakespeare and the Declaration of Independence.
 
“Everything else that students read in class, every day from K through 12, is decided by curriculum directors, teachers, principals, school board, parents,” Porter-Magee said.
 
Common Core supporters said if parents object, they can always go to school officials.

CLICK HERE to view the reading list