On Friday, March 30, 2013, The Blaze reported that a father with a child in NY's public school system, had started an 8 week unit on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The Blaze article is here. After receiving a number of questions about this article and if this may be coming here because it is part of the NY schools Common Core curriculum. Forty five states have already signed on to the Common Core State Standards that are being promulgated by the Federal Government. As of today, NY is the only one that is using the Church of Scientology videos and the UN Human Rights documents in classrooms that I could actually find documentation for the curriculum. Although many states don't actually have the curriculum on the web yet or not even defined yet as to the specifics, such as NY state has. The problem here is that if they do not have curriculum figured out yet, they may decide to use NY's instead of designing their own.
I had almost decided that this was a very isolated thing, and had almost completely dismissed this as a major problem outside of the particular school district where The Blaze report came from. After doing a little more research, states could actually use different source documents for these units of the Common Core curriculum if they so choose. NY uses the Human Rights Declaration and a novel called Esparanza Rising in the first three parts of their fifth grade Language Arts curriculum. The book is about the plight of Mexican migrant workers in the US during the Great Depression. I have not read the book.
In fact, during my research, I found an article on National Review Online that actually talks about the positive things about Common Core. I have become a convert to the actual standards in the Common Core. The idea did not come from the Federal Government, and was actually some governors trying to figure out ways to help improve education in their respective states. After learning about Common Core, I have decided that it is a good starting place for most states, at least like NM where we are at or near the bottom. Common Core is about raising our standards for primary education, and they have no curriculum connected to it. Each state must adopt their curriculum and so you will now get a call to action.
As I have said over and over again, those that show up, make the rules, so get involved in the process. I am not sure how to do that yet. I may do a follow up to this article about how to get involved in the curriculum development for your school district, as from what I can tell, it is currently being left up to the district. I will tell you that my school district actually links to the NY state Common Core curriculum as an example of what they are working on. I am hopeful that we may be able to change some of the texts that were chosen by NY to something else.
So to wrap it up, the Common Core State Standards are good in my opinion. The issue that I see with them is that each state has the ability to make good selections of teaching materials or bad selections. Obviously, I would like them to be more conservative in nature. I believe that NY wants to teach their children to be blind sheep that goes where they are told, and will do what their political class tells them. I want our schools to teach our future leaders, scientists, philosophers, doctors, etc. They can't learn this from a cradle to the grave welfare mentality that says that they have the right to some other person's labor. That is the danger in NY public schools. And it may be that same philosophy is on its way to my school district.
Will you help in your district? Talk to the administrators. Check out their websites. Talk to the teachers that are educating your children and grandchildren. Doing something, even if it is wrong, is better than sitting on the couch whining.