US literature classics nixed from British curriculum - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

'To Kill a Mockingbird' among US classics nixed from British exam curriculum

Posted: Updated:
Harper Lee, the author of the novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2007. (Source: White House photo by Eric Draper) Harper Lee, the author of the novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2007. (Source: White House photo by Eric Draper)
  • InternationalMore>>

  • Gaza cease-fire efforts collapse in heavy fighting

    Gaza cease-fire efforts collapse in heavy fighting

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:07 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:07:30 GMT
    Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in Cairo are trying to hammer out a roadmap for the Gaza Strip after Egypt announced a 24-hour extension of the cease-fire to allow more time for the talks.More >>
    Egyptian attempts to broker an end to a monthlong war between Israel and Hamas collapsed in heavy fighting Tuesday, with Palestinian militants firing dozens of rockets and Israel responding with airstrikes across the Gaza...More >>
  • Liberia president declares Ebola curfew

    Liberia president declares Ebola curfew

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:05 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:05:57 GMT
    The U.N. health agency says the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has now killed more than 1,200 people.More >>
    Liberia's president declared a curfew and ordered security forces to quarantine a slum home to at least 50,000 people late Tuesday as the West African country battled to stop the spread of Ebola in the capital.More >>
  • Tens of thousands march on Pakistani parliament

    Tens of thousands march on Pakistani parliament

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 6:34 PM EDT2014-08-19 22:34:32 GMT
    Tensions rose in the Pakistani capital on Tuesday as an opposition rally prepared to march toward the Parliament and government headquarters in Islamabad later in the day and authorities beefed up security measures...More >>
    Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan's parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country's prime...More >>

(RNN) - Several classic works of American literature are being removed from Britain's General Certificate of Secondary Education curriculum in favor of British works, the Guardian reported.

The report said Michael Gove, the education secretary, insisted on the alterations to the secondary education curriculum.

OCR, one of the largest exam boards in British education, will release the revamped national standards this week for accreditation.

Among the notable works on the curricular chopping block are the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the play The Crucible by Arthur Miller and the novella Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

The Steinbeck novella was studied by 90 percent of British teens taking the English literature exam in the past, a statistic that "really disappointed" the education secretary, according to the Times.

The redesigned syllabus, used to prepare high-school aged children for their competency exams,  also de-emphasizes 20th century works to focus on older literature such as "Shakespeare, 19-century novels, Romantic poetry and other high-quality fiction and drama," according to OCR.

Gove has been widely criticized on social media. Some of Gove's detractors accuse him of making choices based on anti-foreign sentiment, including Arthur Miller biographer Christopher Bigsby, professor of American studies at the University of East Anglia.

In this vein, actor Chris Addison commented about the controversy on Twitter: "Bloody foreign books. Comin' over 'ere, stimulatin' our intellects."

The Department for Education defended the curriculum change, the Guardian reported, stating that the move bans no books.

"It does ensure pupils will learn about a wide range of literature, including at least one Shakespeare play, a 19th-century novel written anywhere and post-1914 fiction or drama written in the British Isles," the department stated.

Students take the GCSE in the 11th year of schooling, and can earn a grade from A to G, with A being the highest level of certification.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.