By Ben Velderman
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. – It appears that one North Carolina teacher is getting into the spirit of the new Common Core learning standards that promote the use of “informational” texts in the classroom.
According to the StopCommonCoreNC.org, a fourth-grade teacher with Henderson County Public Schools gave students a brief reading assignment, titled “Raleigh’s Educational Plan.”
A picture of the assignment was posted on Facebook by a concerned parent, who reportedly asked for advice on how to handle the biased lesson.
“North Carolina’s Republican leaders seem determined to undermine a strong early childhood education. Governor Pat McCrory’s proposed 2013-14 state budget would reduce funding for teacher assistants by 2.27 million dollars, which will reduce the number of teacher assistants positions in Henderson County Public Schools by almost 50 percent.”
The assignment then quotes district Superintendent David Jones as saying “it’s premature” to talk about the number of teacher assistants who might be laid off, due to budget constraints.
“Perhaps, but it’s not to [sic] early for teachers and parents too [sic] start calling the governor’s office to explain what drastically cutting teacher assistant positions would do to the quality of education in our classrooms,” the assignment reads.
The assignment briefly quotes Gov. McCrory’s press secretary about how the budget would give “full funding for teacher assistants in kindergarten and first grade,” and would allow school leaders to have flexibility about how the other funds are spent.
The assignment continues:
“Those claims don’t add up, local officials say. Cutting the current $4.88 million allotment for local teacher assistants by 46 percent would not result in more teachers but would reduce instructional help for students.”
After students completed the seven-paragraph reading, they were apparently presented with a list of questions. Only two of the questions are visible in the picture: “What does the word ‘critical’ mean?” and “What does the idiom ‘don’t add up’ mean?”
The assignment was allegedly given to a fourth grade class at Glenn C. Marlow Elementary.
EAGnews tried to contact school principal John Bryant about the alleged assignment, but he has not yet responded. (Update: EAGnews spoke with Bryant the day after this story was posted. Read his comments here.)
A copy of the assignment was posted on StopCommonCoreNC.org by Terry Stoops, who serves as director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation.
Stoops tells EAGnews he found it on Facebook “through a friend of a friend.”
Stoops says there’s no indication that the assignment is related to the new Common Core learning standards that are being implemented in North Carolina and 44 other states (including Washington D.C.).
But Stoops notes the assignment might qualify as an “informational” text under Common Core.
Under Common Core, elementary students’ reading assignments will be split evenly between literature and informational texts. But as students reach high school, 70 percent of their reading assignments will involve informational texts, and 30 percent will involve traditional literature.
Common Core’s emphasis on informational readings is meant to improve students’ reading comprehension, which will better prepare them for college and will give them job-ready skills for the workplace.
But given the left’s fondness for sneaking left-wing political views into classroom assignments, Common Core’s emphasis on informational texts could make assignments like this one even more commonplace.
Maybe this assignment will wake up the Republican politicians who are supporting Common Core. Instead of reading “To Kill a Mockingbird,” students might soon be reading screeds about mean-spirited Republicans and their wrongheaded policies.