By Brad McQueen
Parents can add one more thing they must be wary and vigilant about in their kids’ classrooms. Not only textbooks, but even posters hanging in your kids’ classrooms need the once over. I just recently discovered that a poster I had hanging in my own classroom enumerating the parts of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights has a glaring “mistake”.
The group that created this U.S. Constitution/Bill of Rights poster, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, summarized the Second Amendment in “kid friendly” language to read, “You have the constitutional right to, in certain situations, ‘keep and bear arms’ without government interference.”
The description of the Second Amendment should have read, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Exactly who will be determining the “situations” in which U.S. citizens will be able to bear arms? Why were the original words of our Founding Fathers not good enough for this poster?
When I was working on the Common Core test, the PARCC exam, last year I was told that the new Common Core way of writing and thinking demands that kids cite the “experts” in the texts that are presented to them on the exam when writing their essays and not rely on their own thinking or opinions. I was told that if they wrote about their own opinions or their own thinking that they would fail the Common Core test.
I was also told that they expected that teachers would mimic this new Common Core way of writing and thinking in their classroom instruction. The true goal of Common Core is to have kids parrot back talking points, determined by the administration in power no doubt, rather than to truly think for themselves.
What if a teacher used the “expert” opinion put forth on the erroneous U.S. Constitution poster I have in my classroom? With a few small changes in wording to our founding documents kids would be presented with quite a different view of their rights guaranteed in those same documents.
Kids instructed in the Common Core method of thinking and writing would know that they had better parrot back the “experts” on that poster, or the experts in their Common Core aligned textbooks as their grades, their test scores, and their teachers’ paychecks may depend on their mastery of this skill.
Luckily, I caught the bogus wording of the Second Amendment on the class poster and my class and I compared the poster’s wording to the original document, the U.S. Constitution. The kids in my class were furious and I liked that they were furious. It shows that our kids are still independent thinkers. However, as Common Core takes hold that will all be changing soon and perhaps in just one generation.
The Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History teaching framework recently put out by the College Board, headed by Common Core architect David Coleman, prescribes the teaching of a progressive “reimagining” of American history based on imperialism, oppression, and racial injustice rather than exceptionalism.
Some of our nation’s brightest kids take AP History in high school for college credit and must be able to pass this new version of American history in order to pass the end of year AP American History exam. These kids had better not think for themselves or, God forbid consult with their parents about the exceptional nature of our country that is their birthright, if they know what is good for their grades and their exam scores. According to Common Core, they had better parrot back the “experts” in their Common Core aligned and reimagined U.S. History textbooks.
In one generation our exceptional history and our kids’ exceptional minds can be wiped out since those who control our history, and the words used to teach that the history in the classroom, control our future. Who is controlling your kids’ future? Your country’s future?
Anyone still think Common Core is just a new, more “rigorous” set of learning standards?
Brad McQueen is a former Common Core insider and current public school teacher in Tucson, Arizona and is the author of the anti-Common Core book “The Cult of Common Core”. Connect with Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org