We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Today, math is challenging for many and so is reading Shakespeare. It's not exactly a different language, but it sort-of is. His plots are not too difficult to suss out and his characters are usually interesting and colorful, but his language is the thing for me.
It is not for kids.
I wonder whether the teachers just want to avoid things that are challenging to deal with.
Shakespeare is considered to be a dangerous heretic by people who operate schools. Not just in America, but in England as well. There has, of course, been a great deal of controversy about who Shakespeare really was. Some people even say that "he" was a secret collection of female authors. That's fine with me. But the danger of Shakespeare lies in the fact that his (or her) work contains so much moral introspection. Poor Hamlet. “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Hamlet He was telling children that stealing is fine, because there is no such thing as right or wrong. People can do whatever they want.
The global "educational" system doesn't want any moral introspection. Remember that England is full of "Pensioners" and "Trade Unionists" who live by stealing money from young people. Stealing isn't a good subject. After all, those pensioners would have a hard time explaining why "stealing" has all of sudden become "ethical". So its better to cancel Shakespeare, and offer a remedy for moral chaos in the form of religion. Those homosexual priests won't make any trouble.
I agree that despite the official designation that Elizabethan English is Early Modern English, that was already pretty iffy when I was in college 50 years ago and language has changed further since then. We don't like the idea of breaking out a new category of English from 1450-1700, but it is probably time.
Assistant Village Idiot
When you're brought up on the King James Bible and the '41 Lutheran Hymnal, the language is pretty familiar.
The very fact that the language has changed is itself a lesson, including how some of his rhymes only work when you undo the vowel shifts.
another Guy Named Dan
For me, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is the only correct one, as is the KJV (although the NKJV is easier for people today to read).
In addition to the KJV, the Greek myths are very helpful background to enjoy many of Shakespeare's allusions and references.
FWIW, my 3rd grade class (ca 1960) was introduced to classical mythology as part of the curriculum in our Catholic school. All of the kids followed Odysseus' adventures--which are first of all great stories--with eager fascination. No coercion or self-esteem training was required to get their attention. The strange names didn't seem to faze them, either.
It's hard to see how the public school bureaucracy can do justice to Shakespeare and classical mythology when they start from an ideological hatred for Western Civilization.
I can read Middle English and (barely) Anglo-Saxon, thanks. Part of why I would designate Shakespeare as now beyond the boundary of Modern English is that moderns sometimes think they understand his words when they don't. They look familiar, but the meanings have changed enough that it is misleading. nice, brave, silly, and awful look as if we understand them, but they are quite different, and we aren't likely to get what is meant by "security is mortals chiefest enemy," though we recognise the words. It comes clear easily when explained, but that's not the same thing.
Assistant Village Idiot
My 8th grade English teacher spent the entire year on Shakespeare. We even built a model of the Globe theater. I didn't really appreciate the value of this at the time but it was in fact a good choice in my opinion. This was a really long time ago but I can still remember so much from that class.
On a slightly different subject my 9th grade English teacher spent the entire year teaching and reading Greek mythology. Great class! I know, your thinking, why teach Greek mythology in an English class. Well there really was a good reason...