The selected readings in one of these middle school books are a curious lot. Two of the longest readings are the complete United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the complete United Nations Millennium Declaration. Global diversity appears to be the rationale for article selections. They include articles on head scarves on Muslims in France, the punishment of an American teenager in Singapore, an arranged marriage in India, learning the Japanese language, an African novel, and three articles promoting belief in global warming.
The very few pages devoted to American culture include the problem of a kid trying to avoid parental punishment for arriving home later than his curfew deadline and a controversy over sea lions in Oregon.
The advertising for these books specifies that "The SpringBoard program is well aligned with the Common Core standards," and the SpringBoard program boasts that it is based on “critical thinking and close reading skills through scaffolded instruction." I have no idea what scaffolded instruction mean.
Listen to the radio commentary here: