Kindergarten ‘courage’ lesson features whites harassing blacks


TheWrightGrouplessonRubyBridges

From EAGnews.org:

Kindergartners at Richfield Elementary School were given a lesson on “courage” that included pictures of white children shouting at African-Americans and holding signs with hateful messages on them.

A parent contacted WBTV saying she was “disgusted” by the lesson and found it to be “degrading and racist.”

Terry Griffin, Superintendent of Stanly County Schools, told WBTV that the pictures, which show white people holding signs saying “Whites Only,” “No Negroes,” “No Coloreds,” and “I want segregation,” were included on a worksheet given to students as a follow up to a story on “Ruby Bridges,” the first African-American child to attend an all-white school in the south.

While Griffin declined an on camera interview with WBTV, she did defend the lesson, and said that a guidance counselor was teaching the class at the time and used the material to reinforce their character trait of the month: “courage.”

“Any time we have a concern expressed, that’s just part of a procedure we use, certainly, is to go back and reflect on it,” said Griffin, “to see, as in terms of age appropriateness, if it was appropriately aligned with the objective they we’re trying to accomplish there.”

richfield racist lesson

Griffin added, however, that no parent had contacted the school directly to complain about the lesson.

According to WSOC, the worksheets ask students to choose words to describe the emotion the people in the pictures are feeling.

However, when asked by ABC whether the pictures are appropriate for kindergartners, some said definitely not.

 “They are too young to understand,” said one parent.

“Oh dear Lord, that’s too young,” Chris Drye said. “You need to have a sense of history. That’s more of maybe a fifth-grade project.”

Rev. Roosevelt Horne, however, with the local NAACP chapter, told WSOC-TV that he’s not offended by the images. He said he doesn’t think they will sway how a child feels about those of a different race.

“Racism is taught in the home not in the kids,” Horne said. “They play with and love each other. They see no color barrier until they go home.”

But some might argue that lessons like this will create that color barrier at school, especially among children so young.

Stanly County Schools officials say, for now, they are not going to stop using the lesson, but say they will review their material and possibly make changes if they get a written request from a parent.

The lesson on Ruby Bridges was published by The Wright Group, a product of McGraw-Hill Education.

McGraw-Hill is a leading educational assessment partner and curriculum developer of the Common Core State Standards initiative.

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Fail: Pro-Common Core group’s attempt to demean parents with stuffed unicorns backfires


UnicorncampaignGeymann'sdesk

From EAGnews.org:

An attempt to brand Common Core opponents as people too ignorant to know fantasy from reality has backfired.

The New Orleans-based Alliance for Better Classrooms PAC launched a marketing campaign last week with stuffed pink unicorns.

The unicorns, which were placed on the desks of Louisiana lawmakers, had tags that said, “Unicorns are not real. And neither are most of the things you’ve heard about Common Core.”

The tags also referenced a website titled Unicorns Are Not Real, which organization officials say was created to dispel Common Core “myths.”

According to The Advocate, state lawmakers were in their third day of a two-month session last Wednesday when most of their desks were dotted with the stuffed toys.

Dan Juneau, executive director of Alliance for Better Classrooms (ABC PAC), said this in a prepared statement regarding the campaign: “Such an important decision about children’s future shouldn’t be clouded with misconceptions and outright misleading statements.”

“We owe it to our kids to educate ourselves and realize exactly what Common Core State Standards do,” Juneau said.

The unicorn marketing ploy, however, has created quite a backlash, leaving some organizations and individuals trying to distance themselves not only from the ABC PAC, but from the entire Common Core debate.

When numerous Louisiana parents, educators, and other Common Core opponents took to their phones and emails to express their outrage to organizations and businesses listed as Common Core supporters at UnicornsAreNotReal.org, they found that several of them were not even aware that their names were being used.

For example, a Rapides Parish educator, who wishes to remain anonymous, tells EAGnews that she received an email from Deborah Randolph, president of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, stating that the Chamber did not give permission to ABC PAC or anyone else to use its name. In fact, she said the chamber had previously rescinded its support of the Common Core national standards initiative.

In another email, Chamber director Lindsey Marone also said that the Chamber takes a neutral stance on Common Core, adding that she has personally contacted the UnicornsAreNotReal website to to ask that the Chamber’s name be removed.

After learning that his name was also listed, Governor Mike Huckabee submitted the following statement on his Facebook page yesterday:

A pro-Common Core group is using my name without permission and attributing ideas to me that are wholly untrue. I have stated many times over that I oppose Common Core and anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or not telling the truth. I believe education is a family function, not a federal function – period.

Nothing is more emblematic of Washington arrogance and reckless central planning than Common Core. The federal government has stuck its obtrusive nose into local education and hijacked the system. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense.

In a statement to Breitbart.com, Louisiana State Rep. Brett Geymann had this to say:

I find it very offensive that the arrogance of the elitists has led to the mocking of parents in public.

To equate a mother who is fighting for her child to a person who believes in unicorns is unacceptable and pathetic.

They have crossed over the line of public debate and determined themselves to be part of the ruling class. We intend to stop them.

According to The Advocate, in 2011, ABC PAC leaders vowed to spend up to $1 million to elect BESE members sympathetic to their goals of increased school choice and sweeping changes in how public schools are funded.

ABC-backed candidates won in five of seven races.

The news source also reports that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s trust donated $100,000 to the group in 2011, sparking complaints by public school groups of outside interference in Louisiana contests.

Brooklyn High School Gives Passing Grades for Eating, Watching ‘Jurassic Park’


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From EAGnews.org:

Instead of meeting minimum requirements in English, Math, and Science, teachers at John Dewey High say hundreds of students have been given passing grades for things like playing games, eating lunch, and watching “Jurassic Park.”

According to the New York Post, several sources claim that the school is passing kids with the help of a shady “credit recovery” program that students sarcastically call “Easy Pass.”

The system was put into place to boost graduation rates and “allows failing pupils to get passing grades by playing games, doing work online or taking abbreviated programs that critics argue lack academic rigor.”

One source says that some students were even given science credit for watching the movie “Jurassic Park.”

Dewey’s graduation rate has improved significantly under the four-year tenure of Principal Kathleen Elvin, who sources say is the architect of the grade-fixing scheme.

The Post reports that in 2009, the state Education Department showed Dewey’s graduation rate at 56 percent, but by last year, the rate had steadily climbed to 74 percent.

The city’s own figures, which include summer graduates, reported Dewey’s graduation rate increased seven points since 2012 – from 72 percent to 79 percent.

Martin Haber, a former teachers union rep at Dewey High, who retired last June, calls it a “bogus way of improving the graduation rate.”

“The teachers have been under heavy pressure by their assistant principals to pass as many students as possible,” he added.

Haber also spoke with CBS2 about the easy pass system, stating that, for example, “if a student played a game in the computer room on the computer, that was a credit.”

CBS2 spoke with several teachers at the school who claim that both the city and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina have known all about the scheme, and that the school’s principal and her administrators are the ones who pressured them into “all manner of things to pass failing students.”

One teacher, too afraid of being fired to reveal her identity, told the news source that grades were basically just changed “en masse.” She claims Principal Elvin not only allowed it to happen but has encouraged it. “She has set it down that if you don’t follow her rules she will crush you. She’s a horror,” the teacher said.

Several teachers also reported that city investigators came to the school on December 3rd to speak with them, and although the investigators were given the names of some of the students whose grades were changed and other details of the so-called “credit recovery program,” nothing has been done.

John Dewey High School senior Jacob Pena told CBS2 that students get credit for homework and eating food. “There’s like a senior house, where people get credits just for basically being in study hall,” said Pena.

Among other accusations against Dewey, says the NY Post, is that teachers licensed in one subject, such as English, were violating state education laws by passing kids for recovery programs in math.

Sources also told the Post that make-up “academy” programs were set up during winter and spring breaks when kids were awarded credit for doing little work.

Blended “Project Graduation” courses were also provided to give kids an opportunity to earn credit for a variety of subjects. Teachers reported, however, that they were shocked to later see students who failed those courses listed on the graduation rolls because the assistant principals and department heads changed their grades.

“It’s academic fraud,” said a Dewey insider.

According to the Post, the city’s Department of Education has confirmed the ongoing investigation, but declined to comment further.

Chancellor Farina’s office recently put out a statement saying the Department of Education is cooperating with the schools’ special prosecutor, and adding “any findings of wrongdoing are taken very seriously and those responsible held swiftly accountable.”

Teachers at the school also apparently have a beef with the way Principal Elvin has decided to handle disciplinary matters at the school in recent weeks.

On Monday, the NY Post reported that the school has recently resorted to giving misbehaving students foam stress balls to squeeze when they get angry.

Teachers say that using stress balls instead of real punishment is just one example of lax discipline at the school.

The Post says one parent reported that she gave administrators permission to punish her son to correct his behavior, but Dewey officials told her that wasn’t their style.

“They said they don’t do punishment,” said Marie Vil. “They said he doesn’t sit down in class. He plays too much in class. He was disrupting the class. The school gave him a stress ball.”

Pearson Education admits spying on students’ social media accounts


From EAGnews.org:

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.

-Liz

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


TheOccupationGame

From EAGnews.org:

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


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EAGnews.org:

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’


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EAGnews.org 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.