I've finally tuned in to Common Core a bit, mostly because I've been chatting with a Common Core person here in my town, who directed me to NYC's Tasks, Units & Student Work.
So today I took a quick look at NYC's sample ELA Tasks and Units and saw only one sample Task, across all 14 grades (Pre-K through Grade 12), that had anything whatsoever to do with fiction: Grade 9 Literacy in English Language Arts: Who Is to Blame for Romeo and Juliet’s Death.
It's always worse than you think!
Number one, Romeo and Juliet is too hard for 9th grade students to read, especially 9th grade students who've just spent 9 years reading "informational text" and writing "calls to action."
But, number two, even if 9th-grade students could read Romeo and Juliet, there is no earthly reason for anyone to undertake a "Task" that involves answering the question "Who Is to Blame for Romeo and Juliet's Death?"
Real English professors don't assign Tasks requiring students to figure out "Who Is To Blame for Romeo and Juliet's Death?" (Real English professors, in my experience, don't assign Tasks at all. They assign papers.)
Real English professors don't assign Tasks requiring students to figure out "Who Is To Blame for Romeo and Juliet's Death?" because Romeo and Juliet is a play, not a feature story in the New York Times. Romeo and Juliet are fictional characters; they don't actually exist.
Who is responsible for Romeo and Juliet's Death?
You got me.
William Shakespeare, maybe?
If this is Common Core, public school is about to turn into 13 years of SAT reading.
Thirteen years of SAT reading is nobody's idea of a good time. Let us pray that our policy elites do not manage to lengthen the school year before Common Core passes from the stage.
What actual English professors think students in English classes should write about:
Norton: Writing About Literature
Norton: Identifying Topics
English paper thesis statements
The complete list of sample ELA tasks and units.