Part 2 of 2
MADISON, Wis. – CREATE Wisconsin, a teachers training program sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, has more than one item on its questionable agenda.
First and foremost is its fascination with the concept of “white privilege,” and the theory that it causes millions of minority children to struggle in school and be unfairly placed in special education programs.
The program encourages teachers to customize education to minority students as much as possible, since it claims it’s unfair to expect them to succeed in today’s K-12 classrooms.
But CREATE Wisconsin is about much more than education. It seems clear that most of the people behind the program have a dim view of the United States, its history, and its socio-economic system. If they’re not avowed Marxists, these folks are the next best thing.
They obviously expect K-12 teachers who attend their events to incorporate radical political messages into their daily lessons, regardless of the grade level they teach. Their goal seems to be the political indoctrination of students into their leftist movement. Perhaps they consider that a necessary first step toward an eventual social revolution that will recreate America in their preferred image.
For instance, CREATE Wisconsin encourages teachers to treat early American history as a hostile invasion of blood-thirsty Europeans who were determined to exterminate native populations and steal the continent for themselves.
As if history were that simple to understand, interpret or teach. If history teaches us anything, it’s that there are two sides to every story, and usually a degree of right and wrong on both sides. But that fact seems to be lost on the CREATE Wisconsin crowd.
You can also view the attached EAGnews expose, “RE-CREATING AMERICA: Cultural Sensitivity in Wisconsin Schools.”
The first Thanksgiving, according to CREATE Wisconsin
Perhaps the best example is a first Thanksgiving role-play exercise designed for K-5 students and posted on the CREATE Wisconsin website.
The exercise is designed around the following story, which supposedly symbolizes what the arrival of the Pilgrims must have been like for Native Americans who lived near the site of the Plymouth settlement.
“One day, when you are home alone, a strange object comes slowly into view in the sky. You’ve never seen anything like it before. It is a strange shape and very large. It lands in your own back yard! Soon very strange-looking people get out; they are dressed in clothes very different from yours and talk to each other in a way you cannot understand.
“You are hiding so that they cannot see you. You don’t want them to see you because you are trying to figure out who they are and what they want. You have heard about people who look like this from your mother and father.
“They walk about, pick up your toys and pets and examine them closely. One gets into your car, turns the key and drives all around on the grass and through the garden. Others are helping themselves to the tomatoes in the garden and the apples and plums on the trees. Then they fill a lot of big baskets with the fruit and vegetables from your garden and put them in the big machine they arrived in.
“Then they come straight toward your house! Without even ringing the bell, they come through the door and go through every room, picking up things and looking closely at them, talking and laughing among themselves. They really don’t seem to be afraid or even embarrassed about being in your house.”
The story goes on to explain how the strange aliens settle right in the backyard, cut down one of the biggest trees and built a house “in that favorite spot of yours back there by the stream.” Then they cut down more trees and build a half a dozen houses.
“You stare at all the activity going on out there in your backyard. Suddenly you start to cry. These strange people who have come from somewhere far off and who are so very rude are not going away – ever. They are going to stay. They are going to live in your own backyard and use your garden and your toys and fish in your stream and cut down your trees and act as if it all belonged to them!”
The lesson plan on the CREATE Wisconsin website admits that the above story is “simplistic and somewhat melodramatic.”
Were the pilgrims really this horrible to the Native Americans they encountered, particularly from the very beginning? And were the Native Americans really as timid and harmless as the abused people in this story?
It boils down to the fact that two very different races of people suddenly found themselves neighbors following their separate migrations from different continents. Many Native Americans and European settlers were probably equally frightened of, and intolerant toward, each other. What followed were centuries of mistrust, war, abuse, and a great deal of tragedy.
Does it help anything to assign singular blame in a historical sense? Not unless your goal is to demonize one group of people, disparage the history of the United States and try to perpetuate centuries of hatred.
So much for healing and bringing people closer together. But it’s pretty clear that was never the goal of CREATE Wisconsin in the first place.
Recommended reading by revolutionaries
One “highly recommended” textbook for teachers on the CREATE Wisconsin list is “Columbus and other Cannibals” by Jack Forbes, which describes Christopher Columbus and other early European explorers as agents of “terrorism, genocide and ecocide.”
Another recommended text, “Rethinking Columbus, the Next 500 Years,” includes a paragraph that suggests we’re doing a fine job of living up to the Italian explorer’s horrific legacy:
“From the poisonous chemical dumps and mining projects that pollute and threaten groundwater, to oils spills on the coastal shorelines, to the massive clear-cutting of old-growth forests, Columbus’ exploitive spirit lives on.”
Yet another recommended text, “A People’s History of the United States” by the late leftist scholar Howard Zinn, presents the entire American experience as the struggle of the downtrodden masses to survive under the withering rule of the privileged few.
What’s the point of all this America-bashing? CREATE Wisconsin seems to want teachers to become agents of “social change” within their classrooms, and preach the language of social revolution to children.
One 2012 CREATE Wisconsin conference speaker, Dr. Geneva Gay, went so far as to suggest that social change will have to be forced upon Americans in ways that probably don’t fit our democratic traditions:
“We know that social change is not something that comes about because people want to do it. There has to be some sort of mandatory kind of accountability tracking that’s going on. This requires fundamental change and change is difficult for most of us to engage with.”
Particularly the way she says it must happen. Thanks, but no thanks.
There’s nothing wrong with teaching K-12 students about the shameful aspects of our national history, like slavery, institutional segregation, the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan, the “Trail of Tears” that led to the horrible deaths of thousands of Indians, and the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II – just to name a few of the more obvious items.
But most Americans still recognize that we live in one of the most open, free and democratic nations in the history of the world. Our democratic institutions, like our freedom of speech, expression and press, allow us to look critically at ourselves and improve over time.
And we have improved. While much older societies around the world still struggle with ancient conflicts between various racial groups, the U.S. has done an admiral job of addressing its shortcomings and creating a better society for all.
Our nation will continue to address its challenges and improve, unless we give our children the mistaken impression that we live in a hopelessly evil country built upon the unstable foundations of institutional racism and unfair distribution of material wealth.
That seems to be the goal of CREATE Wisconsin.
The real question is whether Wisconsin parents want their children to learn such lessons, and whether they will continue to stand for the dissemination of this one-sided nonsense in publicly-funded classrooms.