ZUNI, New Mexico — Last year, a fifth grade teacher at Dowa Yalanne Elementary School in Zuni, New Mexico had her students write letters to their social studies textbook company “to inform them of what they left out about Columbus.”
Two of the students’ letters to textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt were posted to the Teach for America website, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Teach for America.
As reported yesterday, Teach for America is a proponent of culturally responsive teaching, a method and pedagogy used and promoted by radical educators like Bill Ayers, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Gloria Ladson-Billings.
According to the two students’ letters, the class was learning from the book, The Untold Story, about how Columbus came to the New World in search of gold, forced the Taínos to collect it for him, “and if they didn’t they were either burned, slay, or hanged to death.”
One of the students writes:
In the book that I read said that Columbus made a deal with the queens of Spain. That whoever he met on his voyage he would make them Christian. So the queens agreed to give Columbus the money for his voyage. And he never made any people Christian. The people were just turned to slave and they were forced to do jobs for Columbus and his crew.
This is a perfect example of progressive indoctrination at its finest — fuel students’ emotions with extremely slanted and even false information, tell them everyone else is wrong, and teach them how to mobilize for change.
It’s doubtful any students at Dowa Yalanne are ever presented with the other history of Columbus, the one that references numerous writings from Columbus’ letters and journals about his friendly and seemingly mutual relationship with the Tainos.
Dowa Yalanne Elementary School became part of the Re:Learning New Mexico initiative in the early 1990’s. Re:Learning is a collaborative effort of the radically progressive Coalition of Essential Schools and the Education Commission of the States “that encourages everyone “from schoolhouse to statehouse” to align their goals, policies, and funding in support of Essential School ideas”.
According to the New Mexico Public Education Department, its Indian Education Division currently funds Teach for America “to implement a culturally responsive teacher placement and support program to ensure that highly effective, qualified teachers are placed in New Mexico schools with a majority of American Indian students”.
In otherwords, yet another state is funding the indoctrination of its own students.
Emily Johns-O’Leary, the TFA educator who assigned this Columbus lesson to her students, was nominated for the 2013 Sue Lehmann Teaching in Excellence Award. Her nomination, which references the Columbus lesson as an example of her “cultural achievements,” can be found at the same Teach for America website that posted her students’ letters.
According to the TFA leader who nominated O’Leary for the award:
Classroom textbooks still espouse the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus; it is easy to see how students face unique challenges of knowing who they are in the midst of what outsiders have tried to rob them of – language, identity and history itself.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.