Pearson Education admits spying on students’ social media accounts


Pearson Education has admitted to monitoring the social media accounts of students nationwide for possible breaches of information about the Common Core-aligned PARCC tests.

On Friday, Bob Braun, a former columnist for New Jersey’s Star Ledger, posted an email sent by Watchung Hills Regional School District Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett to her colleagues expressing her concern about the monitoring of students in her district.

Jewett’s March 10th email, which she has since confirmed to the Washington Post and on the district’s website to be legitimate, read as follows:

Good morning all,

Last night at 10PM, my testing coordinator received a call from the NJDOE that Pearson had initiated a Priority 1 Alert for an item breach within our school. The information the NJDOE initially called with was that there was a security breach DURING the test session, and they suggested the student took a picture of a test item and tweeted it. After further investigation on our part, it turned out that the student had posted a tweet (NO PICTURE) at 3:18PM (after school) that referenced a PARCC test question. The student deleted the tweet and we spoke with the parent – who was obviously highly concerned as to her child’s tweets being monitored by the DOE. The DOE informed us that Pearson is monitoring all social media during PARCC testing. I have to say that I find that a bit disturbing. – and if our parents were concerned before about a conspiracy with all of the student data, I am sure I will be receiving more letters of refusal once this gets out (not to mention the fact that the DOE wanted us to also issue discipline to the student). I thought this was worth sharing with the group.


According to the Washington Post, after requesting comment from Pearson about the unauthorized monitoring of students during PARCC, the education giant’s spokeswoman Stacy Skelly said this in an email:

The security of a test is critical to ensure fairness for all students and teachers and to ensure that the results of any assessment are trustworthy and valid.

We welcome debate and a variety of opinions. But when test questions or elements are posted publicly to the Internet, we are obligated to alert PARCC states. Any contact with students or decisions about student discipline are handled at the local level.

We believe that a secure test maintains fairness for every student and the validity, integrity of the test results.

According to Braun, who communicated with Jewett by email, Jewett also said that she discovered three instances in which Pearson notified the state education department of the results of its spying, adding that the three “situations have been dealt with in accordance with our Watchung Hills Regional High School code of conduct and academic integrity policy.”

In a letter posted to the district’s website on Saturday, Jewett again confirmed the authenticity of her March 10th email to her colleagues, and also stated that she did not authorize the release of the email, was not aware of who released it, or of their motives in doing so.

Jewett’s letter continues:

That said, I completely stand behind my comments as they represent not only my views and concerns; they also represent the views and concerns of our Board of Education.

The article references instances involving students during PARCC testing and any related disciplinary action. For student privacy issues, we cannot comment on any of the specific students or discipline referred to in the article. What I am able to share is that all issues have been dealt with in accordance with our Code of Conduct, Academic Integrity and Acceptable Use of Technology Policies.

Our main concern is, and will always remain, supporting the educational, social and emotional needs of our students. The privacy and security of student information remains the utmost priority for our district.

The district will have no further comment on this matter at this time.

In a personal email to Braun, Jewett wrote that she is “very concerned that whatever details [Braun’s sources] are providing may cause unnecessary labeling and hardship to students who are learning the consequences of their behaviorals.”

In response, Braun wrote an update to his previous post stating that he felt he “must point out the irony” of Jewett lecturing him about protecting the identity of students “when she has just dealt with both an inexcusable breach of privacy involving minors and an attempt by state government to punish dissent.”

In 2013, it was reported here that Pearson Education had released a series of videos proudly showcasing its “vision for the future of education”, a vision that would also violate student privacy.

Specifically, Pearson’s ‘vision’ includes teachers and school administrators having instant access to an individualized schedule on each student that includes their whereabouts and extra curricular activities outside of school.

‘Virulently Anti-Israel’ Palestine Teaching Trunk Being Used in Washington State Schools



The largest independent Jewish newspaper in the U.S. has published an article advising Jews against living in America because of anti-Semitic indoctrination in our schools.

The recent Jewish Press article, titled “Why Jews Should Stay in Israel,” specifically warns of the Palestine Teaching Trunk, a new curriculum that has made its way into at least a few Washington State high schools.

The controversial curriculum was created by Linda Bevis, a lawyer, activist, and former high school social studies teacher.

Bevis’ Palestine Teaching Trunk – both an actual trunk of teaching material that can be checked out by educators for temporary use and downloadable online content – contains videos, activities, and 700 pages of information that Bevis says “provides multiple perspectives” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are others, however, who strongly disagree.

Rob Jacobs from the Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs Northwest not only sees a problem with the contents of the trunk, but, according to The Jewish Sound, also questions “why the same people who put ads highly critical of Israel on the sides of Metro buses and local billboards should be offering its teaching materials in our schools.”

Jacobs is referring to the fact that Bevis is co-founder of the Palestine Information Project and the Seattle Palestine Solidarity Committee, sister organizations that produce propaganda declaring that “the racism and colonialism of the Zionist movement, with its quest for an ethnic supremacist state, remain the fundamental causes of the current conflict.”

As recently reported, the Palestine Solidarity Committee also advocates for the boycott of Israeli made products and of companies doing business with Israel.

In an effort to push back against the Palestine Teaching Trunk, StandWithUs Northwest has asked highly respected faculty from around the country to review the contents of the trunk. According to the organization’s Facebook page, Prof. Michael Weingrad, Academic Director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University, has declared the trunk to be a “virulently anti-Israel high school curriculum,” adding that reading through the material “felt like swimming long-distance through a sewer.”

In November, The Weekly Standard published a three-page article on the Palestine Teaching Trunk, referring to it as a collection of “solemn idiocies” that “lurk with malice… ignorance and dishonesty.”

According to the Standard article, the trunk’s recommended reading list includes books by Rashid Khalidi, the Columbia University professor with ties to the Palestine Liberation Organization, and leftist professor and political activist, Noam Chomsky.

No less than five other books recommended were written by former Columbia professor Edward Said, who the Standard reports has declared that “Jews are not truly a people because their identity in the Diaspora is entirely the result of external persecution.”

According to The Jewish Sound, Sarah Stroup, a Professor of Comparative Religion and Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, says the curriculum “puts words and political intentions in the teachers’ mouths.”

Stoup also notes that the curriculum focuses heavily on emotions, so “the topic is bound to give lies to emotions.”

For example, as reported by both The Weekly Standard and The Jewish Sound, the trunk includes a game called the “The Occupation Game,” which uses “action cards” like these:

You try to prevent a soldier from inappropriately touching your sister at a checkpoint. Spin the wheel:

1-2: go to ARREST
3-4: go to BEATING
5: go to Action Card #21
6: they berate you and let you go

You are shot by Occupation soldiers and die instantly.

You hover over the world for some time, unable to leave because you love and fear for your family and friends.
You have desires but no power. You wait, along with the living, for the Occupation to end.

When the Jewish Sound interviewed Linda Bevis in mid-November, she stated that so far, only three teachers had checked out the trunk, but about 200 people had visited the website.

Since that time, the trunk as been presented at social studies conferences in Oregon and Washington with the support of the Washington State Council for Social Studies.


Utah High School Showcases State’s First ‘Gender-Neutral’ Bathroom


Transgender, gender variant, and gender non-conforming students now have their own bathroom at Park City High School.

According to KSL TV, the “gender neutral” restroom, believed to be the first in the State of Utah, was the idea of student council member Adam Snyder.

Snyder says he came up with the idea after reading that some colleges now have gender neutral restrooms for students and thought, “well, transgender students don’t just exist on college campuses.”

With the help of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, Snyder took the proposal to the Park City School Board.

Park City High Principal Bob O’Connor told KSL that he doesn’t want any student feeling fearful of using a restroom in the school, “so they have a safe place to go.”

According to the news source, a senior at the school, Tori Vipond, who doesn’t identify as male or female, “walks the halls, goes to class, washes up and flushes the toilet just like any other student at the school,” but “choosing which restroom to use has been a challenge.”

“I usually just hold it until I go to the restroom at home,” said Vipond.

While Principal O’Connor says there have been a few critical online comments about the restroom, students and staff appear accepting of the new facility.

In Canada, gender neutral restrooms are in the works for Edmonton, Vancouver, and Calgary Public Schools.

In Vancouver, a motion was passed last June calling for single-stall, gender neutral washrooms in all school buildings “so that a child will not have to tell anyone their gender based on the bathroom that they use.”

According to a report earlier this month from Global News Canada, the move to build the restrooms into the design of all new Calgary public school buildings was spurred by conversations with students from Gay Straight Alliance clubs and from concerns expressed by transgender students.

Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) were started by GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, an organization founded and led by former Obama safe schools adviser, Kevin Jennings.

Shortly after his appointment in 2009, Jennings resigned after several conservative organizations and 53 lawmakers called for his firing, claiming that Jennings had, “for more than twenty years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.”

According to GLSEN, there are more than 4,000 GSAs in America’s middle and high schools today.

Louisiana Legislator Rallies Parents Against Common Core: ‘A Battle Worth Fighting’

LACommonCore exclusive:

“We are outgunned and outspent but we are not outworked,” writes a Louisiana state representative to fellow Common Core opponents.

In July of last year, Rep. Brett Geymann and 16 other Louisiana legislators filed a lawsuit against the state’s Board of Education seeking the immediate suspension of Common Core.

The lawsuit, which was later joined by Gov. Bobby Jindal and is still pending in district court, argues that local education leaders failed to follow the state’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) for implementing the standards, thereby robbing the public of its chance to view and comment on the standards before they were adopted.

Earlier this month, Geymann took to his Facebook page to encourage parents and teachers looking to him to continue the fight. In his February 2nd post, titled “Common Core — A Battle Worth Fighting,” Geymann urged his Facebook friends to “keep the faith and keep the fight because the next generation depends on it.”

“I am so proud to watch and be a part of a movement from the people to take up the battle for their children and for the next generation,” writes Geymann. “It is disheartening to hear people in leadership… criticize and mock parents who are speaking out… What arrogance and disrespect for the very people who care the most about their children.”

“I often pray for wisdom and direction…,” he continues. “It seems hopeless at times but then 800 people fill an auditorium. It seems hopeless at times but then an election comes and nameplates change in the committee room and the boardroom. It seems hopeless at times but other states have done it and so can we.”

As recently reported, Gov. Jindal issued an executive order on January 30th protecting the right of parents to opt their children out of the upcoming Common Core linked PARCC tests and to protect schools from being penalized for any opt-outs.

The same day, Rep. Geymann urged parents to do just that, writing, “If you have a child in school that is scheduled to take the PARCC assessment, please consider opting out… It is time to give the education decisions of the children back to their parents and that can start by opting out of the PARCC assessment.”

While it’s not clear yet how large the opt-out movement in Louisiana will be, it is apparently large enough to be a cause of concern for many district leaders.

As recently reported by The Times Picayune, 14 of Louisiana’s school districts have already passed resolutions aimed at preventing schools from being penalized for students skipping the tests, while Terrebonne Parish is currently considering whether to ask the governor and state superintendent if the entire district can be removed from PARCC.



Gov. Jindal Issues Executive Order Protecting Parents’ Right to Opt Out of Common Core Testing



Amid reports from around the state of parents opting their children out of upcoming PARCC testing, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order Friday afternoon to protect students, teachers, and schools from the consequences of those opt-outs.

The executive order, which reiterates the standing rights of parents to opt their children out of such tests, calls on the state’s board of education to offer alternatives to the controversial PARCC testing.

The Common Core-linked Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests are slated to begin in March.

As reported by The Advertiser, “opting out by parents has the potential to hurt schools, districts and teachers in the state’s accountability system. Under the current accountability system, schools receive a zero for each student who doesn’t take the test.”

“Accountability scores are used to determine district and school performance scores as well as figuring into teacher evaluations,” the news source continues. “That can translate into monetary awards for both teachers and schools.”

However, Jindal’s executive order calls on BESE to, “as a viable and necessary action,” “grant districts the ability to offer nationally norm-referenced or other comparable assessment appropriate for Louisiana as an alternative to the PARCC test, including abbreviated versions for the purpose of benchmarking, rather than penalizing students, teachers and schools and jeopardizing our statewide accountability system.”

The order continues:

WHEREAS, nationally norm-referenced or other comparable assessments utilized by other states, and compliant with La. R.S. 17:24.4, are readily available in the marketplace and offer complete and abbreviated versions for the purpose of benchmarking, either of which can easily be administered as alternatives to the PARCC test;

WHEREAS, it is inherent upon BESE, pursuant to the clear statutory findings of law provided by the legislature, to avert the growing disruption to this year’s assessments by offering alternative means of testing readily available in the marketplace and currently utilized by other states, in order to avoid the negative impacts to student achievement, the teacher evaluation system, and the school and district accountability system.

KATC reports in Louisiana’s Lafayette Parish, kindergarten teacher Erin May is currently the only parent to opt her children out of the testing, but “numerous other parents have voiced concerns over the testing, which is linked to the Common Core curriculum.”

Those concerns have prompted Lafayette area parents to organize a meeting to take place Tuesday night so that “parents, school board members and other education stakeholders can discuss the issue.”

According to KNOE Channel 8, several parents in Ouachita Parish alone have already called their school principals to inform them that their children will not be taking the exam.

The news site also states that when they asked parents on Facebook if they would opt their children out of PARCC tests, “an overwhelming majority… said yes.”

Last summer, Jindal changed course on Common Core and PARCC, boldly announcing that what “began as an effort to simply raise standards for students… has morphed into a scheme to drive education curriculum from Washington, D.C.”

Jindal added, “Congress drew a bright red line that can’t be crossed and it clearly bars the federal government from ‘directing, supervising, or controlling elementary and secondary school curriculum programs of instructional material.’”

“Implementing PARCC in Louisiana crosses the line because what’s tested is what’s taught,” said the governor.

Jindal attempted to suspend PARCC testing in June of last year by way of executive order, asserting that PARCC did not allow a competitive bidding process, as required by Louisiana state law.

In response, the state’s BESE board joined in a lawsuit against Jindal that was filed by Black Alliance for Education Options. As a result, district Judge Todd Hernandez blocked Jindal’s executive order.

A recent Washington Examiner report says that Common Core will be the defining issue for GOP presidential contenders this year.

The Examiner’s Hugh Hewitt says he interviewed Jindal and several other potential candidates recently and reports that both Rick Perry and Marco Rubio also reject Common Core while Jeb Bush remains supportive of the initiative.

Specifically, Hewitt writes:

Bush is quick to defend the original theory and its necessity… vigorously rejecting the idea that Common Core meant in practice a national one-size-fits-all curriculum.

“Standards are different from curriculum,” he told me, “and that’s where I think the biggest misnomer [occurs and] where people legitimately get concerned.”

“I would be concerned if we had a national curriculum influenced by the federal government,” Bush added. “My God, I’d break out in a rash.”

In 2013, then Governor Rick Perry signed legislation effectively banning the Common Core State Standards from the state of Texas.

UN Backs Chicago Ordinance Championed by Bill Ayers’ Wife that will Require Schools to Teach on Reparations

By Danette Clark

For the second time in eight years, the United Nations is condemning the U.S. Government and the City of Chicago for failing to provide redress to several criminal suspects who claim they were tortured by former Police Commander Jon Burge and officers under his command between 1972 and 1991.

This time, however, the UN is also backing a Chicago City ordinance that, among other things, will require the city’s schools to teach “a history lesson about the Chicago Police torture cases and the struggles to hold those accountable and to seek reparations for the survivors and affected family members.”

According to eNews Park Forest, both in 2006 and 2014, lawyers with the People’s Law Office, who are also members of the organization, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, presented shadow reports to the United Nation’s Commission Against Torture in support of reparations for the Jon Burge torture victims.

Amnesty International, USA and Black People Against Police Torture, and the National Conference of Black Lawyers also submitted reports on the matter.

As a result, on November 28th, the UN Committee called on the U.S. Government to provide redress by supporting passage of a city ordinance currently pending before the Chicago City Finance Committee.

The ordinance, proposed by City Council Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno and Howard Brookins in October of 2013, currently has the support of 26 of the council’s 50 members. Only one more vote is needed to pass.

According to Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM), which is a project of the People’s Law Office:

The ordinance would serve as a formal apology to the survivors; create a Commission to administer financial compensation to the survivors; create a medical, psychological, and vocational center on the south side of Chicago; provide free enrollment in City Colleges to the survivors; require Chicago Public Schools to teach a history lesson about the cases; require the City to fund public memorials about the cases; and set aside $20 million to finance this redress…

 CTJM and the People’s Law Office say Burge and other officers used torture to coerce more than 100 African-American men and women into confessing to crimes they did not commit. However, they say no one was ever convicted because federal authorities allowed the statute of limitations to expire.

In June of 2010, Burge was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for denying that he and others engaged in acts of torture. He served three and a half years in federal prison and was released in October to a half-way house to finish out the remainder his four and a half year sentence.

In a 2012 document titled “History of the People’s Law Office“, the law firm states that it was founded in the wake of the 1968 Democratic Convention for the purpose of defending political activists and protesters arrested during that time. The firm’s first clients were Bobby Rush and Fred Hampton, leaders of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party.

In 1973, Supreme Court Justice Douglas described the People’s Law Office as a “firm almost exclusively devoted to the criminal defense of ‘militants’ and ‘radicals,’ including Chairman Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party and Bernardine Dohrn and Marc Rudd of the Weatherman faction of the SDS.”

Now, more than 45 years later, Bernardine Dohrn, wife of domestic-terrorist-turned-educator Bill Ayers, continues a close association with the People’s Law Office by serving as an advisory board member to the firm’s CTJM project.

In a 2009 book she co-authored with Ayers, Race Course: Against White SupremacyDohrn wrote about reparations for the Burge torture victims.

Beyond that, however, both Ayers and Dohrn have spent decades pushing the idea that all African Americans are owed something because they are victims of an oppressive white American system.

As such, the proposed ordinance may also be a step toward that same end. In fact, CTJM admits that the reparations ordinance seeks to provide compensation to not only Burge victims and their families, but also to “African American communities impacted…”.

Specifically, CTJM says the ordinance will “create a community center on the south side of Chicago that would provide psychological counseling, vocational training, referrals and other services to the torture survivors, their family members and the communities affected.”

In 2002, Chicago became the first city in the nation to pass a Slavery Era Disclosure Ordinance. The ordinance, proposed by long-time friend of President Obama, Dorothy Tillman, requires companies wishing to do business with the city to research its records to determine whether they or their predecessors ever profited from slavery.

Tillman admitted the ordinance was originally designed to gather information to make a case for reparation lawsuits to be filed against corporations.

Last month, EAGnews reported that a Baltimore school administrator took students to a reparations conference keynoted by Minister Louis Farrakhan. Just prior to that, it was reported that the Mount Vernon City School Board hosted a weekend conference on reparations with students, parents and community members.

Perhaps progressive educators are finally getting down to the real reason for all of those ‘white privilege’ and ‘critical race theory’ lessons they’ve been teaching.

To learn about President Obama’s involvement in a wide-spread movement for slave reparations, read my 6 part Reparations Agenda series which starts here: Part 1 — The Reparation Agenda: Obama’s Religion of Reparations – The Pro-Reconciliation Church.




School Administrator Takes 11-Year-Olds to Reparations Conference Where Farrakhan Calls for Violence in Response to Ferguson

BUSIconference exclusive:

“At the end of the day… it’s about how we connect to our youth and help develop them to become our future,” says Anthony Pena, a Booker T. Washington Middle School administrator who took more than forty students between the ages of 11 and 15 to a conference on reparations for African Americans.

The 2nd Annual Black United Summit International (BUSI) conference, the theme of which was “Re-Claim, Re-Pair, Re-Form, Re-Produce, – REPARATIONS NOW!”, took place at Morgan State University and was reportedly attended by more than 2,000 “students, community leaders, and distinguished guests.”

Keynote speaker to the conference was Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan.

According to the Nation of Islam publication, Final Call, the event was sponsored by the Student Government Association of MSU.

Final Call reports that Morgan State University Professor Dr. Ray Winbush gave an “enlightening yet easy to understand presentation on reparations” wherein he said there have been studies indicating that “if you calculate the free labor of enslaved Blacks in building the Western world, it would amount to roughly 10 trillion dollars.” Winbush added, however, that “it is about justice… not a handout.”

Director of the Hip Hop group, Hip Hop Detoxx, also gave a presentation to students on “how sound, imagery and language impacts their thinking and guides their actions.”

Among those attending the event was Jill Carter, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and Pastor Jamal Bryant, the nationally known pastor who was arrested in October while protesting in Ferguson.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Bryant said he was arrested when he and a group of other pastors and rabbis called for the police of Ferguson to “repent for being an evil citizen.”

Special guests included Pam Africa, founder of the International Friends and Family of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, former Defense Minister of the Baltimore Black Panther Party, and “dozens of other Christian pastors, Muslim Imams, Nation of Islam officials and members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.”

To mark the conclusion of the conference, Farrakhan addressed attendees with a more than two hour longspeech that included a reference to white people as “crackers” and a call for “retaliation” for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Specifically, Farrakhan held up what appeared to be the Quran and said that both it and the Bible have a “law of retaliation” in them. “A life for a life,” he said.

Farrakhan continued:

As long as they kill us and go to Wendy’s and have a burger and go to sleep, they’ll keep killing us. But when we die and they die, then soon we’re going to sit at a table and talk about it! We’re tired! We want some of this earth or we’ll tear this goddamn country up!”

Farrakhan also condemned President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and others for telling protesters to “cool it,” stating:

They know an explosion is going to come. You leaders are the worst. Tonight in Ferguson everyone is on edge. White folks ain’t never been on edge after they’ve killed a Black man. Tonight they’re on edge. So on edge that our president has come out from behind the curtain to ask Black young people, ‘cool it.’

You leaders are the worst. When you talk to young people, you can’t feel that you’re missing them? Parents, you can’t feel when you’re talking to your children that this is a new generation and they don’t want to hear your compromising? But time has moved on. Your day of leading our people is over.

You preachers—your day of being the pacifier for the White man’s tyranny on Black people is over. You’ve got to know they’re not going to hear you anymore.

The Nation of Islam publication, Final Call, was founded by Louis Farrakhan in the 1930s as the Final Call to Islam. The paper often publishes articles on Farrakhan’s push for reparations to be paid to African Americans for slavery.

In April of this year, Farrakhan spoke in Chicago on the subject of “Revitalizing the Reparations Movement.” Also a speaker at the event, which was attended by Chicago State University students, was President Obama’s former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Houghton Mifflin Uses Honored Vietnam Vet to Promote Questionable High School History Textbook

By Danette Clark

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, now a Pearson Education partner in providing online educational content for schools, has created a video showcasing one of its interactive textbooks for iPad.

The book, titled The Americans, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt iBooks Textbook, was written by Gerald Danzer. The hardback print of the book was first published in 1997 and has been re-printed by both Houghton Mifflin and McDougal Littell in recent years.

The new Houghton Mifflin video promoting the iBook version of The Americans features Marine Vietnam Veteran Tommy Lyons.

According to Hope for the Warriors, Tommy Lyons returned home from a tour in Vietnam to later organize a committee of veterans to pay tribute to the 25 sons of South Boston who died during the Vietnam War. Together, they created the South Boston Vietnam Memorial, the first of its kind in the nation. The memorial was dedicated on September 13, 1981.

Lyons later became Director of the Community Services Department at MassHousing Agency, a member of the Secretary of the VA Advisory Committee on Homeless Veterans, Chairman of the Massachusetts Veteran and War Memorial Commission, and a member of the Governor’s Veterans Advisory Council and Chairmen of the Sub –Committee on Veterans Housing.

While the Houghton Mifflin video does well to show Lyons as someone to be respected and thanked for his military service, the textbook it promotes likely paints a picture of America that Lyons would not agree with.

According to a 2010 article from Red State, the American Textbook Council found the print version of The Americans to contain both satisfactory and “grossly deficient or inaccurate” information.

Red State also notes that, according to a link they viewed at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s website, another reviewer gave the Houghton Mifflin textbook an “F”.

Joel Spring, author of Corporatism, Social Control, and Cultural Domination in Education, wrote that textbook reviewer and author Edward J. Renehan “charged that their was a “leftist political bias” to The Americans.”

While the Thomas Fordham link is no longer accessible and details as to why the book received poor reviews are hard to find on the web, one reviewer of the new iBook had this to say:

Revision at its finest…

Another example of how American history is rewritten to slant a particular ideology. It is a shame that students are subjected to a version of American history that only focuses on examples of racism, sexism and societal classes. Missing from this text are all of the real examples of great Americans who helped make this country unique as compared to any other that have inhabited the Earth. The text design is flashy and most of the iBook Author’s widgets are employed, however the content is much to be desired. The books authors have definitely towed the politically correct line throughout and have failed to provide students with alternative interpretations of many historical events, decisions and issues.

In 2011, Christian Action Network conducted a study of high school texts containing pro-Islam bias and distributed it to more than 500 school administrators nationwide. Included in the study was Houghton Mifflin’s The Americans, Reconstruction to the Twenty-first Century, also written by Gerald Danzer and also formerly published under the McDougal Littell imprint.

To be fair, the new iBook version of The Americans did receive two positive customer reviews on its iTunes download page. However, one of those reviewers, referring to her/himself as “a modern social educator”, states that he/she is “cynical” about other US history texts that are “too fluffy” and “nationalistic.”

In other words, this progressive, social justice educator favors The Americans over patriotic history texts.

It seems unlikely that former Vietnam Veteran Tommy Lyons would agree.

In a 2008 interview, when asked, “What on earth possessed you during a war to go into the Marine Corps?”, Lyons responded:

Me and five buddies from high school were patriotic and we wanted adventure and to see the world. We enlisted together. As it turns out, it was the second smartest decision I ever made. So much good has come out of having been a Marine. The first smartest choice was marrying my wife.

In a 1983 interview with WGBH, when asked what he thought about the anti-war movement during that time, Lyons said he didn’t pay any attention to it because, for him, joining the military was a tradition in his family and in his town.

When asked what he thought about other kids his age trying to avoid the draft, Lyons responded:

Joining the Marine Corps, to me, was no big deed.

Other kids were going to college to find out where they were at. I knew that when I went to Paris Island, I was gonna come out of there much more ahead than if I went to college.

According to, in recent years, Lyons and his Boston committee of friends have organized numerous fund-raisers for the children of Marines killed and wounded in action.

In further recognizing Lyons’ many accomplishments, continues:

When the Medal of Honor Society had an honorary cruise on the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor for them, who did they ask to arrange it?

When a wounded Marine from the Beirut Marine Barrack’s bombing needed someone local in Boston to look out for him and his family, who did they ask?

When Clint Eastwood was having the gala first opening in Boston of his movie ‘‘Flags of our Fathers” about Iwo Jima, who helped make sure the Harvard-MIT-Boston College Naval ROTC cadets got front row seats?

Lyons has worked in the state government in Massachusetts, run restaurants and bars, administered a shelter for homeless veterans and a myriad of other jobs. On the side, Lyons also runs the Semper Fidelis Society of Boston.

According to Army and Marine combat veteran Greg Kelly, who recently served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, his friend Tommy Lyons often uses this “fitting quote”:

Poor is the nation that has no heroes. Shameful is the nation that having them, forgets.

Alabama Baptist Convention Calls for Repeal of Common Core

apple exploding 337x244 exclusive:

Citing data privacy concerns and curricula materials that are “offensive to Christian values and American exceptionalism,” the Alabama Baptist Convention has voted to call on the governor, the state board of education, and the Alabama State Legislature to repeal Common Core.

According to, “the convention, a gathering of Southern Baptists from across the state, voted overwhelmingly to adopt a resolution, ‘On Parental Authority Through Local and State Control of Education,’ that calls on the state to ‘repeal Common Core and accompanying assessments and replace them with sound, proven practices of educating and testing through local and state control of what is taught and how it is taught for the betterment of all children in the great state of Alabama.’”

The resolution passed with no debate or discussion last week at the state Baptist Convention held at Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham.

The convention also addressed Common Core at its 2013 gathering, wherein it passed a resolution to “encourage the Alabama Legislature and the Alabama State Board of Education to carefully study and evaluate Common Core and its effects on our children and the entire educational system.”

The 2013 resolution also urged parents to be involved in the education of their children; to monitor their children’s schools and textbooks, and “when appropriate,” to address their concerns “to school boards, the state department of education, and other educational leadership.”

This year’s resolution calls for a full repeal of Common Core and aligned assessments, and specifically details several of the initiative’s shortcomings.

Below is the 2014 Common Core resolution in its entirety:

 WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists hold fast their obligation before God to train up their own children; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists who place their children in public schools expect to be able to provide meaningful input into their children’s total education experience; and

WHEREAS, The State of Alabama has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education called Plan 2020 which is problematic in the following areas:

* Plan 2020 requires adoption of the Common Core Standards not controlled by Alabamians;

* Plan 2020 requires implementation of assessments not written by Alabamians and that may measure non-cognitive areas such as a student’s attitudes and beliefs;

* Plan 2020 requires curricula aligned with these standards and assessments which contain materials offensive to Christian values and American exceptionalism;

* Plan 2020 requires non-cognitive data collection that violates student and family privacy and allows sharing of that data with third parties;

* Plan 2020 requires assessments that can be used to predetermine career paths rather than to equip students to choose their own future; and

* Plan 2020 requires all students to receive a data-driven counseling program that includes “personal/social development” in its Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Model; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists believe that the God-ordained family is the rightful place for inculcating values and determining career choices, and

WHEREAS, The unproven methodology required by Common Core is resulting in significant frustration and dissatisfaction from many students, parents and teachers; and

WHEREAS, There is little or no evidence that the level of student achievement would be raised by the Common Core Initiative; and

WHEREAS, Any sound methods being applied in Alabama classrooms can be utilized without subservience to a federal mandate; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, stand for proven, superior education curriculum and practice chosen by state officials who will respect parental authority and respond to citizen input; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge the Governor along with the State Board of Education and/or the Alabama Legislature to repeal Common Core and accompanying assessments and replace them with sound, proven practices of educating and testing through local and state control of what is taught and how it is taught for the betterment of all children in the great state of Alabama.

‘Social Justice’ Curriculum Fair Seeks to Embed Radicalism in the Classroom

TSJ social justice fair flyer exclusive:

The 13th Annual Teaching for Social Justice Curriculum Fair took place this past weekend in Chicago.

This year’s fair, titled “Democratize Education! Democratize Chicago!”, was sponsored by Teachers for Social Justice Chicago, the Chicago Teachers Union, and Rethinking Schools.

According to Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ), the annual event is an opportunity for educators and organizations to exhibit curriculum, disseminate resources, and present workshops.

Workshops included “curricular innovations about social justice pedagogy,” such as “using multicultural children’s literature to organize for educational justice.”

Current and past fairs exhibit lessons and curriculum resources on various social and political issues, all of which are structured to rally students to organize and take action.

A keynote speaker to this year’s event was Kali Akuno, an organizer for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and author of Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense.

Participating in the keynote program was a member of Young Chicago Authors, an organization thatshowcases the work of local authors like Eboo Patel, the former Obama faith advisor who refers to America as an imperialist nation and who co-authored a book with Bill Ayers’ son, Chesa Boudin.

According to the event flier, this year’s workshop sessions included:

* Talking With Youth About the Police: Activities & Resources;

* Equip Students with Social Justice Vocabulary: Identity Webs, The Sneetches & More!; and

* From Chicago to Ayotzinapa: Education as a Site for the Fight Against Neoliberalism and State Repression

The Chicago Teachers Union also led a session on Saturday titled Where’s the Money? Understanding CPS budgets and Fighting for Revenue. The event flier describes the session as follows:

CPS uses “budget problems” to justify closing schools, cutting programs/staff, and increasing class sizes. But does it have to be this way? How can we win the revenue our schools and students need? earn about the CPS “interest rate swap” scandal and other toxic deals from which banks and billionaires have profited, and hear efforts to win money back and make the wealthy pay their fair share to fund education.

Past curriculum fairs have addressed Chicago school closings as well. In fact, TSJ provides a “School Closings” curriculum wherein students are given a list of Chicago schools slated for closure (more than 50 failing schools) and are coached by their teachers on how to organize and protest.

As a result of such curriculum, and as boasted about on TSJ’s website, dozens of high school students participated in a march last year to protest the school closings.

According to, the student protesters marched “from Chicago Public Schools headquarters to City Hall to deliver a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel demanding a moratorium on school closings and a publicly elected Board of Education.” The oversized letter presented to the Mayor referred to the school closings as “racist” and said they would lead to “more violence and more children dying.”

Two days later, a follow-up rally was held and attended by student protesters, teachers, parents, and community members. The photos below from the 2013 rally show that Bill Ayers and Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis were in attendance.

8596455201_8a8ef67f85_z   8597566088_0013bd9d98_z

The Chicago Teachers Union has partnered with Teachers for Social Justice on various initiatives for many years. CTU has co-hosted other TSJ curriculum fairs and Karen Lewis was keynote speaker of the event in 2010.

Examples of TSJ lessons showcased at prior curriculum fairs include “Teaching Trayvon Martin” and “What Young People Should Know Before Joining the Military.”

The Teaching Trayvon Martin curriculum, created by the New York Collective of Radical Educators, involves engaging “teachers in rigorous examinations of white supremacy as a systemic arrangement of power that has privileged the lives and interests of white Americans from this nation’s inception, and that continues to do so despite social and political struggles for racial equality.”

The curriculum includes an MSNBC video of Al Sharpton, Tim Wise and others discussing whether racism was an issue in Trayvon Martin’s death.

Tim Wise is a self proclaimed anti-racism expert. In a fit of anger over the results of the 2010 mid-term elections, Wise wrote a letter that, in part, said this:

In forty years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people around who actually remember that Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Opie-Taylor-Down-at-the-Fishing Hole cornpone bullshit that you hold so near and dear to your heart…there won’t be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the good old days…so therefore, we’ll be able to teach about them accurately and honestly…

According to TSJ, What Young People Should Know Before Joining the Military is a unit “primarily designed to get students to understand imperialism by making connections between the Spanish American War and the Iraq War, culminating in a project on military recruitment among CPS students.”

The lesson repeatedly refers to the U.S. as “imperialist” and discusses the “U.S. occupation” of the Phillipines and Cuba.

Resources recommended include a video clip of Bill Moyers giving his take on the Iraq war, communist Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States, and a book that refers to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as U.S. occupations.

On TSJ Chicago’s About page, under “political goals,” the organization quotes a letter written by Marxist educator Paulo Freire. A portion of that quote is below:

We are political militants because we are teachers… Neutrality is not possible. We understand that teaching is a political act.

Teaching for social justice is part of a larger struggle to transform society to make it more just. We see children and youth as critical change agents essential to the struggle for social justice.