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The man behind the Common Core State Standards, a set of robust learning measurements that have the potential to change the state of American education, recently reached out to Christians to discuss the role of literacy in our society.

David Coleman, also the president of the testing organization the College Board, recognized that Christians, as a "people of the book," would take a particular interest in the next generation's ability to read, think, and understand texts. Coleman invited about a dozen Christian thinkers and scholars to join him for a two-day conference held this spring to discuss the challenges and implications of the new literacy standards for people of faith.

For while the development of reading skills is essential to college and career readiness (the mission of the College Board and the goal of Common Core), no one more than evangelicals can appreciate the importance to a people and a culture of the ability to read, and read well—or the devastating effects of being unable to do so.

From the carving of God's commandments on stone tablets to the narratives and letters circulated within the early church, from the painstaking preservation of the scriptures at the hands of medieval scribes to the Protestant Reformation's birthing of the printing press and the invention of the modern university, ours has been a faith centered on the Word—and words.

The Christian obsession with text is not only a part of our history—but something that continues to shape contemporary Christianity. We readily engage questions around biblical interpretation in deep ways, as we consider infallibility, inerrancy, context, hermeneutics, canonicity, and scriptural authority. Even in ...

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June 2013

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