MUSKEGON, Mich. – It’s time for the question to be asked out loud: Are the new Common Core math and English standards a masked attempt by the education establishment to indoctrinate K-12 students in left-wing political philosophy?
Three times in the past few weeks we’ve come across Common Core-aligned lesson plans – supposedly for reading and vocabulary – that incorporate stories supportive of organized labor. And these are lessons for elementary children, who traditionally aren’t exposed to political instruction, simply because they’re too young.
But the people who shaped the Common Core standards obviously don’t believe that. They’re serving up big doses of radical political philosophy in seemingly innocent vocabulary lessons.
The latest example comes from Andrew Buikema, a high school band instructor for Grant Public Schools in western Michigan. His fourth-grade daughter attends Mona Shores Public Schools in nearby Muskegon, and last week she was given a vocabulary lesson published by McGraw-Hill which read like a manifesto from the AFL-CIO.
It refers to a young Mexican girl lying in bed, listening to adults talk in the next room. Here’s an excerpt:
“Teresa did not understand everything she heard. If the adults had been talking in English she would have understood even less. But, like her family, they had come across the border to live in the United States. They all came in search of opportunities for work in the United States. Many of them spoke very little English, so they spoke to each other in Spanish. They were talking about something called a union. Teresa was not sure what unions were, but she knew that a union could make their lives better. She had heard workers in the field talk about how a union could help them.”
Buikema was upset that his small daughter was exposed to such a blatant political lesson, particularly one so skewed to a particular point of view.
“I found out about it last Friday, but I didn’t get a chance to read it until Saturday,” Buikema said. “My friend whose son is in the same class took a picture of it and sent it to me. I read it and just said ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’”
Buikema emailed his daughter’s teacher several times over the weekend. He said the teacher was receptive to his complaints and suggested a meeting, which he intends to schedule.
“I wanted to know how this aligns with the reading curriculum and who approved it,” Buikema said. “The teacher was super receptive. I don’t know whether she had a choice of whether to teach it or not.”
In one email to the teacher, he asked when the other side of the union debate was going to be addressed in class. After all, not everyone agrees with the goals and tactics of organized labor.
“I honestly don’t remember talking about this kind of stuff until high school,” Buikema said. “But if you’re going to present it to small children, present both sides. We’re always teaching our kids that there are two sides to every story. So the kids in that class should also be exposed to the entrepreneurial, business point of view.”
Common Core is an opportunity for radicals
EAGnews has published two prior stories in recent weeks about similar Common Core-aligned lesson plans for young children.
One book recommended for third graders is “Si Se Puede/Yes We Can!” the story of a 1985 janitors strike in Los Angeles. The pro-labor lesson is to help students answer the question “How can we work together as a community to stand up for our rights?”
Since when is “standing up for our rights” part of any public school’s approved curriculum?
We also came across a lesson plan calling for second graders to read the book “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez” – which is, of course, the story of the man who organized union farm workers.
After the kids read the book, they are asked to list the living conditions of farm workers on one side and the land owners on the opposite.
Then the teachers are instructed to tell students: “Fairness and equality exist when the scales are balanced,” and then to ask students “Do you think the two sides are even?”
This pattern is too obvious to ignore.
None of this should come as too much of a surprise. Our nation’s two leading teachers unions are extremely liberal and politically active. Many of their leaders have talked openly about teachers using their influence in the classroom to indoctrinate small children into the trade union school of thought – as if that’s what they’re being paid for.
“The long period of self-censorship among educators regarding class and labor issues may no longer hold,” read one excerpt from a book titled Organizing the Curriculum. “We cannot claim to be teaching for social justice if we ignore the class warfare being waged all around us … Bringing labor into the arena of K-12 education will undoubtedly meet political resistance, but an increasing number of educators are motivated to take up the challenge.”
Then there’s this from the Educational and Labor Collaborative at Adelphi University:
“Imagine how much easier and effective the work of unionists would be if a generation of children of working families graduated from high school with an understanding of their right and duty to be heard, the power of joining together in a common cause.
“Educators, in collaboration with unionists, can break the cycle of reproducing the economic structure through schooling, and change the cultural climate that denigrates poor and working families.”
It looks as though Common Core may have been the opportunity these people have been waiting for.
There’s no doubt that radical educators and their supporters had a great deal of influence over the development of Common Core standards.
Dr. Duke Pesta of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh told EAGnews that various Common Core committees came up with approved reading lists that consist largely of left wing political propaganda.
Since most new textbooks and lesson plans published in the U.S. will be Common Core-aligned, the publishing companies are simply incorporating sections from the approved list of texts.
And since Common Core forces schools to educate students in new ways with a new curriculum, desperate teachers and school leaders are grabbing on to any resources that are aligned with the new standards.
Thus fourth graders are being taught the virtues of organized labor.
“Yes assignments like this are increasingly the norm, not the exception, nor can you find one example where the bias goes the other way,” Pesta said. “We have found many examples of this in Wisconsin.
“The entire premise is not about education. It’s about control. They want to be able to control kids through political messaging – extreme political messaging.”