A new report from Education Action Group Foundation, Inc. (EAG)indicates that a Common Core-aligned teacher guide encouragesthird graders to learn about “rights and responsibilities” through astory about a 1985 SEIU-led janitors’ strike in Los Angeles.
Kyle Olson of EAGnews.org wrote that textbook publisher Zaner-Bloserincludes, in its Common Core-aligned third-grade teaching guide, a bookentitled “Si Se Puede/Yes We Can!” The book is included inZaner-Bloser’s unit on “Rights and Responsibilities.”
Olson wrotethat the goal of the Zaner-Bloser guide is to have eight and nineyear-old children consider the “central question” of “How can we worktogether as a community to stand up for our rights?”
In “Si SePuede,” third-graders learn that in 1985 janitors went on strike “formore 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:
Thebook instructs the teacher to “remind students that a protest is anevent in which people publicly show their strong disapproval ofsomething. Discuss protest throughout the week. Challenge students touse the word while speaking and writing.”
After students read thebook and learn about underpaid janitors and protests, the guide tellsteachers to help students apply these concepts to their lives.
They do that by brainstorming about problems they believe exist in their school.
Incase the kids can’t identify any problems worth protesting, theZaner-Bloser authors helpfully offer an example: “No talking allowed inthe lunchroom.”
The authors even suggest a solution: “Protest by making signs and marching.”
“Sohere you have a Common Core-aligned lesson instructing third-gradershow to stage a public protest against their adult school leaders,” Olsonsaid.unions, or at least to sympathize with the organized labor point ofview.”
Olson wrotethat nowhere in the “Rights and Responsibilities” teachers’ guide isthere any mention of the Constitution or the founding of America basedon the desire to protect God-given, natural individual rights.
Proponentsof Common Core often argue that the standards are not a “governmenttakeover” of education because local school districts can decide howthey are going to implement the standards and which materials they willuse. However, most school districts in states that have adopted CommonCore will not be designing their own unique curriculum due torestrictions on time and money. Many are purchasing pre-written,like Zaner-Bloser.
McGraw-Hill Education, for example, another well-known textbook publisher, urges educators to simply purchase their curriculum materials:
McGraw-HillEducation, with its long history of providing the highest qualitycurriculum materials for educators, offers a seamless solution toschools that are transitioning to the new Common Core State Standards.We have the experts and the expertise in instruction and assessment tohelp schools implement the standards smoothly and successfully.
Theresult? Teachers will have the tools and students will have the skillsthey 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.