Common Core Uses SEIU Protest To Teach 3rd Graders About 'Rights and Responsibilities'

A new report from Education Action Group Foundation, Inc. (EAG) indicates that a Common Core-aligned teacher guide encourages third graders to learn about “rights and responsibilities” through a story about a 1985 SEIU-led janitors' strike in Los Angeles.

Kyle Olson of wrote that textbook publisher Zaner-Bloser includes, in its Common Core-aligned third-grade teaching guide, a book entitled “Si Se Puede/Yes We Can!” The book is included in Zaner-Bloser’s unit on “Rights and Responsibilities.”

Olson wrote that the goal of the Zaner-Bloser guide is to have eight and nine year-old children consider the “central question” of “How can we work together as a community to stand up for our rights?”

In “Si Se Puede,” third-graders learn that in 1985 janitors went on strike “for more money because their wages [were] too low to be fair.” In the guide, Olson says teachers “are told to introduce students to the vocabulary word of the week--‘protest.’”

According to Olson, who reviewed the teaching guide:

The book instructs the teacher to “remind students that a protest is an event in which people publicly show their strong disapproval of something. Discuss protest throughout the week. Challenge students to use the word while speaking and writing.”

After students read the book and learn about underpaid janitors and protests, the guide tells teachers to help students apply these concepts to their lives.

They do that by brainstorming about problems they believe exist in their school.

In case the kids can’t identify any problems worth protesting, the Zaner-Bloser authors helpfully offer an example: “No talking allowed in the lunchroom.”

The authors even suggest a solution: “Protest by making signs and marching.”

“So here you have a Common Core-aligned lesson instructing third-graders how to stage a public protest against their adult school leaders,” Olson said. “They’re essentially being groomed to be future members of labor unions, or at least to sympathize with the organized labor point of view.”

Olson wrote that nowhere in the “Rights and Responsibilities” teachers’ guide is there any mention of the Constitution or the founding of America based on the desire to protect God-given, natural individual rights.

Proponents of Common Core often argue that the standards are not a “government takeover” of education because local school districts can decide how they are going to implement the standards and which materials they will use. However, most school districts in states that have adopted Common Core will not be designing their own unique curriculum due to restrictions on time and money. Many are purchasing pre-written, “canned,” Common Core-aligned curricula from major textbook companies, like Zaner-Bloser.

McGraw-Hill Education, for example, another well-known textbook publisher, urges educators to simply purchase their curriculum materials:

McGraw-Hill Education, with its long history of providing the highest quality curriculum materials for educators, offers a seamless solution to schools that are transitioning to the new Common Core State Standards. We have the experts and the expertise in instruction and assessment to help schools implement the standards smoothly and successfully.

The result? Teachers will have the tools and students will have the skills they need to meet the expectations of the new standards.

We have the knowledge. We have the experience.

Partner with us to improve teaching and learning.

The implication is that designing a curriculum based on the Common Core standards is a problem that requires a “solution,” and, for textbook publishers, the “solution” is for school districts to buy their entire Common Core-aligned curriculum.

All the more reason for parents to be watchful of what their children are learning in school and the materials used to teach them.


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