@Arthas: YA = "young adult" literature, a term used in the Anglosphere for literature targeted at teenagers (13-17 year olds, really).
Of course my public school taught a dumbed down reading curriculum, I'm an American lol.
There's an insane amount of variance in the quality of American schooling. How good was your school? I mean, where did its typical graduate wind up afterwards? I think that's a good proxy. The other good proxy is teacher salaries relative to cost of living in the area, although those are noisy, and performance on standardized tests (e.g., # of National Merit Semifinalists). Or you can skip the middleman and just look at local property values.
And does your state/district have multiple tracks (like a "Pre-AP/AP" track, a "normal/academic" track, etc.)? I think the normal track in most schools is really to accommodate people who are behind and are not expected to amount to much (at least, academically), so I can see why they would use YA just to get them to read.
I too am a product of the American public education system, and your dumbed down curriculum is alien to me.
I just think most modern YA is mostly state/corporate/military propaganda.
I don't know about propaganda, but most YA is indeed garbage that tries to appeal to people who haven't developed proper reading skills yet.
I just see it as a valid 9th-grade stepping stone. If your reading list is YA in, like, junior year, you're either in the short bus track or your school needs to bump its salaries/benefits so it can hire people who actually should be teaching teens. The books I think you should
be reading by sophomore, junior, and senior year definitely wouldn't fall into the YA category (although many of them aren't classics either). Just need to be reading something that has something to say and develops your reading muscles- so not YA over and over, definitely not Dickens or Shakespeare (as fun as it is) or stuff like Chaucer and Homer and Sophocles over and over, but, say, Frankenstein
, Crime & Punishment
, etc. Books that- at least for the average teen- help you improve as a reader and expose you to novel ideas (and don't have simplistic takeaways like "don't be racist LOL," although a good book also doesn't really need a takeaway at all).
Literature is a form of art, after all. An obsession with Dickens is, imo, like the obsession amateurs have with Renaissance-style paintings and classical art. But art has the capacity to convey meaning, and being able to pick up on that and analyze subtext/etc. is what I think is important in a high school literature curriculum. Not being able to say you've read the "important" books for your culture (if you can read, you can read 'em yourself- you're already more than capable of dissecting them by the time you leave middle school; they didn't get popular and important by only being decipherable by the elite) but instead coming out of the system as something other than the kind of zombie who takes everything literally and barely understands what a theme is. Dickens and Shakespeare, like YA, are really stepping stones too: you don't need to read them to develop in high school.
That's a good two paragraphs of material I'd like to interact with but it's just outlandish assumptions and ad hominems.
They're insults, not ad hominems. Ad hominem is when I say something like "you're an idiot, so your argument is wrong." Here I am just saying "you're an idiot" for the sake of calling you an idiot. Maybe going to a better public school would've taught you the difference. That's another insult, by the way, not an ad hominem.
Edited 2/7/2021 04:04:17