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Public school teacher: Why is my daughter’s fourth-grade class studying pro-union, Common Core material?

Oct 30, 2013 by

MUSKEGON, Mich. – It’s time for the question to be asked out loud: Are the new Common Core math and English standards a masked attempt by the education establishment to indoctrinate K-12 students in left-wing political philosophy?

Three times in the past few weeks we’ve come across Common Core-aligned lesson plans – supposedly for reading and vocabulary – that incorporate stories supportive of organized labor. And these are lessons for elementary children, who traditionally aren’t exposed to political instruction, simply because they’re too young.

But the people who shaped the Common Core standards obviously don’t believe that. They’re serving up big doses of radical political philosophy in seemingly innocent vocabulary lessons.

The latest example comes from Andrew Buikema, a high school band instructor for Grant Public Schools in western Michigan. His fourth-grade daughter attends Mona Shores Public Schools in nearby Muskegon, and last week she was given a vocabulary lesson published by McGraw-Hill which read like a manifesto from the AFL-CIO.

It refers to a young Mexican girl lying in bed, listening to adults talk in the next room. Here’s an excerpt:

“Teresa did not understand everything she heard. If the adults had been talking in English she would have understood even less. But, like her family, they had come across the border to live in the United States. They all came in search of opportunities for work in the United States. Many of them spoke very little English, so they spoke to each other in Spanish. They were talking about something called a union. Teresa was not sure what unions were, but she knew that a union could make their lives better. She had heard workers in the field talk about how a union could help them.”

Buikema was upset that his small daughter was exposed to such a blatant political lesson, particularly one so skewed to a particular point of view.


“I found out about it last Friday, but I didn’t get a chance to read it until Saturday,” Buikema said. “My friend whose son is in the same class took a picture of it and sent it to me. I read it and just said ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’”

Buikema emailed his daughter’s teacher several times over the weekend. He said the teacher was receptive to his complaints and suggested a meeting, which he intends to schedule.

“I wanted to know how this aligns with the reading curriculum and who approved it,” Buikema said. “The teacher was super receptive. I don’t know whether she had a choice of whether to teach it or not.”

In one email to the teacher, he asked when the other side of the union debate was going to be addressed in class. After all, not everyone agrees with the goals and tactics of organized labor.

“I honestly don’t remember talking about this kind of stuff until high school,” Buikema said. “But if you’re going to present it to small children, present both sides. We’re always teaching our kids that there are two sides to every story. So the kids in that class should also be exposed to the entrepreneurial, business point of view.”

Common Core is an opportunity for radicals

EAGnews has published two prior stories in recent weeks about similar Common Core-aligned lesson plans for young children.

One book recommended for third graders is “Si Se Puede/Yes We Can!” the story of a 1985 janitors strike in Los Angeles. The pro-labor lesson is to help students answer the question “How can we work together as a community to stand up for our rights?”

Since when is “standing up for our rights” part of any public school’s approved curriculum?

We also came across a lesson plan calling for second graders to read the book “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez” – which is, of course, the story of the man who organized union farm workers.

After the kids read the book, they are asked to list the living conditions of farm workers on one side and the land owners on the opposite.

Then the teachers are instructed to tell students: “Fairness and equality exist when the scales are balanced,” and then to ask students “Do you think the two sides are even?”

This pattern is too obvious to ignore.

None of this should come as too much of a surprise. Our nation’s two leading teachers unions are extremely liberal and politically active. Many of their leaders have talked openly about teachers using their influence in the classroom to indoctrinate small children into the trade union school of thought – as if that’s what they’re being paid for.


“The long period of self-censorship among educators regarding class and labor issues may no longer hold,” read one excerpt from a book titled Organizing the Curriculum. “We cannot claim to be teaching for social justice if we ignore the class warfare being waged all around us … Bringing labor into the arena of K-12 education will undoubtedly meet political resistance, but an increasing number of educators are motivated to take up the challenge.”

Then there’s this from the Educational and Labor Collaborative at Adelphi University:

“Imagine how much easier and effective the work of unionists would be if a generation of children of working families graduated from high school with an understanding of their right and duty to be heard, the power of joining together in a common cause.

“Educators, in collaboration with unionists, can break the cycle of reproducing the economic structure through schooling, and change the cultural climate that denigrates poor and working families.”

It looks as though Common Core may have been the opportunity these people have been waiting for.

There’s no doubt that radical educators and their supporters had a great deal of influence over the development of Common Core standards.

Dr. Duke Pesta of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh told EAGnews that various Common Core committees came up with approved reading lists that consist largely of left wing political propaganda.

Since most new textbooks and lesson plans published in the U.S. will be Common Core-aligned, the publishing companies are simply incorporating sections from the approved list of texts.

And since Common Core forces schools to educate students in new ways with a new curriculum, desperate teachers and school leaders are grabbing on to any resources that are aligned with the new standards.

Thus fourth graders are being taught the virtues of organized labor.

“Yes assignments like this are increasingly the norm, not the exception, nor can you find one example where the bias goes the other way,” Pesta said. “We have found many examples of this in Wisconsin.

“The entire premise is not about education. It’s about control. They want to be able to control kids through political messaging – extreme political messaging.”

Public school teacher: Why is my daughter’s fourth-grade class studying pro-union, Common Core material? – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Tunya Audain

    Maybe Going To Court Is The Only Way

    Parents have no clout when it comes to public education decisions. The Common Core standards and 21st Century Learning (Canada) initiatives are being rammed down our throats. There are similar initiatives in other parts of the globe.

    What is astonishing is the unusual agreement between traditional enemies in the system — the ed establishment and the teacher unions. What is evident is that the unions are getting on board because while centralized “standards” may prevail, the choice of materials is being left to the “autonomy” of local teachers or individual schools.

    Thus, the embedding of social justice, critical thinking and emancipatory lessons by teachers in their classrooms will proceed, maybe slowly, but progressive teachers will be emboldened as they go along. And, let’s not forget, critical thinking is no longer the logical, commonsense stuff we might expect. No, it is critical pedagogy, critical Marxist theory, and you’re right, unprepared teachers will be “grabbing” at what’s nearest and handiest. Left-leaning materials will be readily available.

    If we seriously believe that our children and grandchildren deserve both sides presented in controversial content we might need to go to court.

    In England when Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was challenged by some parents no-one listened until a court case ruled otherwise. There is a UK law, Sec 406 of the School Act, which forbids the promotion of partisan political views in teaching.

    The Judge (2007) did not forbid the showing of the film, but being cognizant of students as a captive audience under the auspices of the School Act his legal guidelines include:
    – It is understood the film is a political work and promotes only one side of the argument
    – If teachers do not make this clear they are in breach of the Section and guilty of political indoctrination
    – Nine inaccuracies have to be specifically drawn to the attention of students when the film is shown.

    I have read blog comments from British students visiting America saying how shocked they are when this film was shown to US students without these guidelines.

    Hopefully, this story might encourage helpless parents to mount legal challenges to indoctrination in public schools.

  2. Avatar
    Rozella G. clyde

    Thank you for this enlightening commentary. I have been complaining ever since the introduction of the common core, funded so much in part by the entrepreneurial establishment that has been making tremendous profits at the expense of civic literacy .

    My response to this writer’s concern is that these excerpts come from published resources chosen by business organizations.
    It reminds me in part of the Negro spirituals sung by plantation slaves working in the fields and the patterns on the quilts they hung out to dry in wash lines informing slaves wishing to escape north that a conductor from the Underground Railroad was coming through— all this public publicity taking place under the noses of plantation owners that became the backbone of the emancipation movement.

    I am delighted, to say the least, that Pearson and McGraw Hill are publishing and distributing these “equalizing texts”! It gives me much hope. When and where can the conflicting viewpoints be discussed? The author asks! My response is– during conversations in the home when parents ask their children what they read about in class today, when the newspapers publish union-breaking stories and when the children ask questions of their parents about why the parents are concerned about the perspectives they question.

    What a wonderful opportunity this story presents or discussion at home about meaningful topics. Don’t understtimate the power of a child’s mind to comprehend controversy. They thrive on it! It looks to me like reading examples like these are extremely necessary to bring balance into the lives of these children!.

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