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Controversy and Porn Pervade Common Core Curriculum

Written by Eagle Forum

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Common Core standards are influencing what teachers teach in elementary reading and high school English literature classes. Although Stop Common Coreproponents claim that there is no drive for a standardized Common Core curriculum, curriculum developers offer thousands of “Common Core aligned” books and teaching aids. Many school districts are using materials suggested in Appendix B of the Common Core standards. When schools rely on Common Core (CC) Appendix B to develop literature courses for high schools, students will read books that some consider pornographic. When districts use curriculum that is “Common Core aligned,” students are encountering a variety of politically charged books to which some parents may object.

Schools Use CC Text Exemplars

The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers are private lobbying organizations that own the copyright on the Common Core “state” standards, which have been adopted by all but a few states. Appendix B of the standards consists of suggested books, portions of books, poems, and informational texts that serve as “text exemplars” developed by the writers of the standards to help states choose texts.

Common Core Appendix B states:

The following text samples primarily serve to exemplify the level of complexity and quality that the [Common Core] Standards require all students in a given grade band to engage with. Additionally, they are suggestive of the breadth of texts that students should encounter in the text types required by the [CC] Standards. The choices should serve as useful guideposts in helping educators select texts of similar complexity, quality, and range for their own classrooms.

While the writers of CC state that Appendix B text exemplars “expressly do not represent a partial or complete reading list,” many school districts are using the recommended books. It makes sense for teachers to teach from the texts recommended by the Common Core developers because nationwide tests are being developed based on Common Core materials.

Teachers, parents, and administrators are sometimes shocked by the content of the books that schools want students to read in order to be Common Core compliant.

Sexual Content for High Schoolers

The author of Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia, admits in a 2003 Atlantic magazine interview to having spent only a few months in Cuba at the time she wrote this Common Core recommended book. Garcia states in the interview that, “The political and social alliance with the United States really meant the denaturalization of Cuba.” She continues, in the Atlantic interview (4-11-03):

Cuba went from having a rural economy to a largely urbanized economy. It became increasingly defoliated as more land was planted with sugarcane, tobacco, and so on. This period was one of enormous upheaval, and the changes came on the very edge of a big empire — the United States — that was increasingly throwing its weight around the world.

But it was the sexually explicit content of the book rather than its overt anti-Americanism that prompted Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona to stop using this novel in its 10th-grade literature class. This was only after it was read aloud in class and every student had a copy of the book, according to one parent. (Breitbart.com, 9-12-13)

Other schools are refusing to use the Common Core recommended Toni Morrison novel, The Bluest Eye, which is a disturbing tale that includes a father raping his daughter. The crime not only occurs in the book, but it is presented from the point of view of the father, is graphically described, and is disgusting.

Another sexually explicit book listed as a Common Core exemplar is Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. Some wonder why 9th-graders should be studying a 13-year-old boy’s description of his father’s genitals, as well as his description of a sex act. One of the districts that decided there must be better literature for students to read was Newburgh, New York, where teachers complained at a Board of Education meeting. One English teacher told the board, “At least three of the books listed on the [New York state Common Core curriculum] contain passages using inappropriate language and visual imagery that most people would consider pornographic.” Black Swan Green was not distributed to students in Newburgh and the district is attempting to return its 6,000 copies to the publisher.

Reading for Elementary Students

The Common Core text exemplars for elementary students include some good literature that most parents would be happy to have their children read, but there are some stinkers. The Common Core text exemplars leave some wondering if this is the best we can offer our young students.

Exemplars for grades K-1 include the informational text “Wind Power” from National Geographic Young Explorers (2009), a poem of sorts that reads in part, “Look at the windmills spin! They turn the wind into electricity.” Another K-1 offering is Ted, the Fly Guy, written in 2003, about which the School Library Journal writes, “The cartoon illustrations showing characters with exaggerated wide eyes are delightful, but the text is somewhat weak and disjointed.” (Amazon.com)

Where Do Polar Bears Live? by Sarah Thomson is a CC text exemplar for 2nd- and 3rd-graders about which Booklist at Amazon.com states, “The author covers the impact of global warming on polar bears’ food sources, as a shrinking ice pack makes seal-hunting particularly challenging, and the book’s last two pages cover climate change in even more detail, including suggestions for ways that kids can reduce their carbon footprints.”

For 4th- and 5th-graders, Common Core creators use Sorry, Wrong Number by Lucille Fletcher as an example of what children ages 9-11 should read. This play is described at Amazon.com: “When wires get crossed, a woman accidentally overhears the telephone conversation of two men plotting a murder. Suspense and terror mounts as the woman slowly realizes that the intended victim is herself.”

Obama as Elementary Messiah

A Common Core aligned English language arts lesson plan for 3rd-, 4th -, and 5th-graders, developed by a teacher and based on the book Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, has raised concerns of some observers. According to the website offering the lesson plan, it ostensibly teaches the “author’s viewpoint,” which is a CC goal. Some claim that the book and lesson plan portray President Obama as a “messianic” figure. The author of the book responded to this on her website, writing: “When the title of the book came to me in a flash of inspiration, it never once occurred to me that conservative reviewers and commentators would take the title and beat me over the head with it! Of course, we live in the land of free speech, so they may spew whatever they choose.”

The following quotes from the book are two of many that seem to paint “Barry” Barack Obama, the boy who became President, in a dramatic, larger-than-life manner:

When Barack wasn’t studying, he liked to jog along the Hudson River. He couldn’t help but notice the river of hurt and hate and history that separated blacks from whites. Being both, he could not take sides. ‘Don’t worry,’ said Hope. ‘I will be your bridge. In time you will be the bridge for others.’

Another excerpt from Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, is here quoted in the poetic style used in the book (from the author’s website):

One Sunday when Barack was sitting in church,
Barack heard God say,
‘Slow down,
Look around you.
Now look to me.
There is hope enough here to last a lifetime.’
Barack smiled,
tears rolling down his cheeks.
Suddenly he knew for certain
Hope would last long enough
for him to make a difference.

It is unknown how many schools are using this book or how many teachers will use this “CC aligned” lesson plan. It is, however, one example from the massive amount of curriculum being offered and claiming to be “Common Core aligned.” Most school districts lack adequate personnel trained to determine appropriate curriculum and some fear that calling inappropriate curriculum Common Core will enable uncommonly poor works, and those that are clearly propaganda, to slip into classrooms.

Common Core Anti-Americanism

Education Action Group (EAG) founder Kyle Olson obtained Common Core teacher guides produced by the Zaner-Bloser company that include a two-week lesson plan for 4th-graders using the book The Jacket. Olson states that, “It’s a fun little book about racism and white privilege — a left-wing concept that teaches African Americans [that] the values of American society are designed to benefit white people.”

A Zaner-Bloser guide to the book Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, introduces 2nd-graders to the founder of the United Farm Workers union and “equality lessons.” As part of this two-week lesson, students read the book, then indicate the living conditions of the farm workers on one side of a page and the living conditions of the landowners and business owners on the opposite side. Teachers are instructed to say, “Fairness and equality exist when the scales are balanced” and that “unfairness and inequality exist when the scales are weighted heavily to one side and are out of balance.” Teachers then get the classroom conversation going by asking the 2nd-graders, “Do you think both sides are equal?” EAG’s Olson ironically asks, “You don’t suppose the lesson creators truly meant to get political — and start indoctrinating — children that young, do you?” He points out that seven-year-olds don’t know about “economics or property rights,” nor do they have the perspective to “understand that most first-generation Americans came to this country with very little except the hope to one day escape poverty through hard work and give their children a better life than they had. And many of them found better lives.” (EAGNews.org, 10-17-13 and 10-21-13)

These lesson plans will indoctrinate students against the same American opportunities that allowed millions of immigrants to arrive here penniless, work hard, and achieve the American dream.

Eagle Forum Education Reporter

 

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