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Tennessee Teacher of the Year: Drop Islam-Centric 7th Grade Standards

An award winning Tennessee educator with years of experience teaching seventh grade Social Studies tells Breitbart News the state should get rid of the Islam-centric standards adopted by the Tennessee Department of Education in 2014.

“These [new Social Studies] standards are not appropriate for seventh grade. We need to revert back to the old standards. They were very comprehensive and at grade level,” Kyle Mallory, a tenured history teacher in Stewart County who was named the Tennessee Teacher of the Year for grades 6 to 8 by the VFW in 2014, tells Breitbart News.

“The problem is not teachers. This is a problem of the standards and materials,” Mallory adds.

Breitbart News has obtained a copy of the previous standards for seventh grade Social Studies. In contrast to the current seventh grade standards, which deal with World History and Geography exclusively during the period 400 AD to the 1500s, (an approach more often associated with high school or college curriculum), the previous standards provided a very broad overview of cultural, economic, geographic, governance and civics, and historical issues that have shaped our current world.

All major religions – Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam – were briefly summarized in the old standards. Students were introduced to the complexity of the various cultures in the world at an “age appropriate” level of detail.

In contrast, only Islam is given detailed attention in the new standards. In fact, as Breitbart News reported previously, 13 percent of the learning objectives of the current standards (10 out of 75) are devoted to instructing students on both the tenets and history of Islam.

The problem of Islam centric bias is compounded, Mallory says, by the state’s failure to provide unbiased supporting materials to the teachers charged with delivering the approved content to students.

“Many teachers teaching seventh grade are sixth to eighth grade certified, not content teachers,” Mallory tells Breitbart News.

As a result, these teachers who are forced to teach about Islam by the new standards, and especially those in counties that have not yet purchased the controversial new Pearson Education text, myWorld History and Geography: The Middle Ages to Exploration of the Americas, sometimes search the Internet to find content that supports the new Islam centric standards. That content, some parents claim, originates with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been called by the United Arab Emirates a terrorist supporting organization.

Mallory, who was named to the Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission of the Tennessee Department of Education in April, tells Breitbart News “The Tennessee Department of Education and Commissioner [Dr. Candice] McQueen …need to be held accountable for the problem.”

“Local school boards, parents, and teachers should know that the Tennessee Department of Education is incompetent to address a statewide issue in curriculum,” Mallory says. “In general, it is my impression that local curriculum directors and supervisors across the state are not being proactive with the seventh grade Social Studies teachers.”

“Statewide mandatory seventh grade Social Studies curriculum should be developed by credible people,” Mallory adds. “They should coordinate with various veterans groups and have a United States Armed Forces veteran who served in the Middle East visit each seventh grade class and discuss the area’s culture.”

Though he has served on the state’s textbook commission since April, Mallory says the Tennessee Department of Education has expressed little interest in his suggestions to date.

“At the first meeting of the new commission in April I pointed out the serious problems associated with these new Social Studies standards for the seventh grade, and I’ve raised the point at every subsequent meeting,” Mallory says.

“I’ve offered to help fix the problem,” Mallory adds.

“I’m still waiting on a phone call,” he adds.

Mallory says the ultimate responsibility for the current Islam centric Social Studies standards rests with Republican Governor Bill Haslam, who appoints Tennessee’s Education Commissioner.

“The people of Tennessee need to elect a governor three years from now who has fought Islamic terrorism, not pandered to CAIR,” Mallory concludes.

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