The teacher’s conundrum
Conversations with colleagues around the English-speaking world make it clear that educators at all levels, primary, secondary, and tertiary, are faced with the challenge of an increasingly standards-obsessed world. The United States' widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards for English language arts (CCSS) has led to major shifts in curriculum and teaching, similar to those seen under the Australian Curriculum, the UK's National Curriculum, and New Zealand's Literacy Standards, including curricular alignment to standardized tests, reduced literary choice, and lack of instructional variety. This chapter argues for the inclusion of young adult literature in middle and high school ELA classrooms as meaningful fiction that engages, affirms, and connects to adolescents. Following an explanation of the Common Core State Standards, people can continue with an exploration of adolescent literature, which positions it as both meaningful literature for academic study and literature which simultaneously aligns with standards and addresses concerns that have emerged from the field.