Frankly, I have a hard time getting my mind around this story. A teacher in a 6th Grade “journalism” class at a public school in Southern California distributed the materials below to students. The materials are highly critical of ALEC, The American Legislative Exchange Council, a membership organization of conservative state legislators. The students were assigned to use the materials to write news articles critical of the organization. Did I mention this was for 6th graders?
I have always been more politically aware than most of my peers. I’m pretty certain, though, that in 6th grade I was only vaguely aware of the difference between the federal and state governments. I’m also pretty confident that the material passed out in the class, written by a clearly left-wing partisan, would have seemed like gibberish to me. It would have taken several days of private-school instruction to even begin to make myself familiar with the concepts touched on in the document.
There is, of course, a larger issue here. This was ostensibly a class on “journalism.” Does this teacher and the principal of the school really think that “journalism” is served by presenting a one-sided view of an issue? Never mind the obvious misinformation conveyed in the document. Can the teacher imagine no positive case to be made on ALEC? Would the teacher simply hand out the DNC platform and ask students to “report” on American democracy and policy based solely on that?
Are these students simply recipients of whatever crazy left-wing conspiracies obsess this particular teacher?
In full disclosure, I worked at ALEC more than a decade ago. For 7 years, I was a senior staffer there, overseeing all of our legislative work. The notion that it is some powerful right-wing cabal exerting out-sized influence over public policy is laughable. Hell, then state Senator Barack Obama attended one of the legislative briefings I organized.
But set all of that aside for the time being. 6th Grade? Since this is a government school, I’d be impressed if these students even understood that the federal government had three distinct branches, never mind the delineation between federal and state policy. Yet, they are now going to impressed into a war against an organization 99% of the adult population has never heard of?
How the hell do we continue to lose to idiots like this?