SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – The mandated increase in “informational texts” called for in the Common Core national standards has opened up a word of possibilities for classroom activists who wish to present politically radical ideas to their students.
Fourth graders in New York’s Lakeland Central School District – and their parents – found that out when Jessica Fiorillo’s son brought home a reading that turned out to be taken directly from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) website. Word for word.
This is not unusual for Common Core reading texts. While the idea is for students to learn how to comprehend what they read, the texts are frequently left-wing political statements that many believe are designed to influence their opinions.
The reading, which argues why classrooms shouldn’t have pets, was given to students as a lesson on “text structure.”
The reading is titled, “Should Animals Be Kept in the Classroom?”
“Many teachers bring animals into their classrooms with good intentions, like wanting to teach you and your classmates responsibility or teach you about the animals themselves. However, rabbit, mice, rats, guinea pigs, frogs, snakes, fish, and other animals used as teaching “tools” are too often abused and neglected,” it reads.
It then provides graphic examples of alleged abuse of animals in classroom settings, including a snake being microwaved, chinchillas being beaten, acid being poured on pigs and a lamb being duct-taped to the outside of the building and “left alone overnight in freezing temperatures.”
The reading is filled with emotionally charged words and phrases in an obvious attempt to sway children’s feelings.
“I was disgusted, appalled and in complete disbelief that a school would basically send home a guide on how to kill household pets. My husband after first reading it thought it was a handout from PETA not school work,” Fiorillo told EAGnews.
But it was school work. Students then answer questions about the reading, including, “What is the main idea of the article? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.”
“Why do you think the author chose this text structure? How does using this text structure help you understand more about keeping animals in the classroom? Use evidence from the text to support your answer,” is another series of questions.
Upset, Fiorillo emailed the teacher with her concerns but it went unreturned. Fiorillo says her husband visited the principal to do the same. She says the principal was “shocked and made facial expressions like he was in awe.”
“The principal actually said to my husband that this was part of the common core curriculum,” Fiorillo told EAGnews.
The informational text appears to be lifted directly from a PETA website called PETAkids.com.
“There is no reason for a child to see this. If it involved reading comprehension there are many other topics that would have worked,” Fiorillo said.