Monday, July 8, 2013

Georgia Common Core Opponents, Where have You Been Hiding?

There is a big fuss here in Georgia regarding the Common Core and education, lead by Republicans. Governor Deal accepted the Federal funding for Race to the Top, requiring Georgia to adopt the Common Core curriculum and its non-flexible delivery system. The money is spent and we don't have the resources to pay it back, so Common Core is on its way.

Many Georgia Republicans think Common Core is the Federal Government's way to take control over education.  "Local Control" is the battle cry.  What this all comes down to is content.  Many Georgia Republicans are concerned over what will be taught to their children and grandchildren.  Hey GOP and Tea Party folks, have you looked at what has been going on in classrooms across the state for the past decades?  Where have you been? When was the last time you looked at the textbooks at your local elementary, middle, or high school? 

I don't have time to get too deep into details on every subject, but let's take a brief look at current content for Social Studies (and now is not the time to convince you everything went down hill when 'History' was changed to 'Social Studies').  So GOP and Tea Party, what are kids currently taught in Social Studies in grades:

Grades K-5
never too early to teach kids that all cultures are special
Yes, how people get Goods does vary.  Some earn them, some don't


A colorful PowerPoint presentation on Georgia's EDU web site gives us a preview of the important things being taught now.  The PowerPoint shows us the Connecting Themes to be taught the first six years.  The slide above shows a happy definition of Culture. Culture is presented early and often in Social Studies, starting in Kindergarten, and discussed throughout elementary school. After all, it's never too early to tell kids all the cultures of the world are special.  And the women in many of these special cultures?  Do they feel special?  Some even get to vote and drive cars!


Bill of Rights
Being a discussion of Common Core and the GA GOP, let's see what our Georgia students are taught regarding those 27 wonderful words of the 2nd Amendment.

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

SS5CG1: The student Will Explain How a Citizen's Rights Are Protected Under the US Constitution

 In Grade 5, Georgia students have Unit #2 - "Effective Citizenship".  They have lots of lessons on shopping, consuming goods, and so on.  The Bill of Rights is discussed briefly.  Below is a study guide from a 5th grade social studies teacher in DeKalb County:
proper permit and license?  really?

People?
Starting in kindergarten, a list of people introduced/taught to the students:

K: Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama

1st:Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark & Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington Carver

2nd: James Oglethorpe, Tomochichi, Mary Musgrove, Sequoyah, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter

3rd: Paul Revere, Frederick Douglass, Susan B Anthony, Mary McLeod Bethune, Franklin D Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Lyndon B Johnson, Cesar Chavez 

4th: Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, various Explorers (Spain, France, England) King George III, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Benedict Arnold, Patrick Henry, John Adams

5th: Abraham Lincoln, Robert E Lee, Ulysses S Grant, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, Wright Brothers, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Jesse Owens, Margaret Mitchell, Duke Ellington, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, John F Kennedy.

Sorry, GA GOP.  Kids never hear about Ronald Reagan, Ayn Rand, Winston Churchill, William F Buckley, Jr., Clarence Thomas, Henry Kissinger, Barry Goldwater, or The Heritage Foundation.

Grades 6-8
Jumping ahead for a minute to the nearly total waste of time also known as 8th grade Social Studies in Georgia. This is an entire year spent learning about Georgia.  That does a kid lots of good on the SAT.... not.

One positive item noted in an 8th grade Instructional Guide:
Due to the mild climate, low taxes, lack of unions and
an available workforce, Georgia is home to so many new
industries now! Notably the movie and film industry
(327 films, TV shows and commercials were made in
Georgia in 2011 that generated $2.4 billion) and
tourism ($21 billion generated). Today, the city of
Atlanta alone ranks 4th in the number of Fortune 500
companies that are headquartered there
Of course this "lack of unions" conflicts with the honoring of 'community organizer' Cesar Chavez in 3rd grade, but the kids will have hopefully forgotten about Chavez by 8th grade.

6th Grade kids learn about Canada, Europe, Latin America, and African slave trade
7th Grade kids learn about Southern and Eastern Asia, Israel, Middle East, Africa

Yes, kids learn all about Africa, all of Asia, and the Middle East in one year - the same amount of time teaching about Georgia.

Character Education: K-5


One simply needs to pick up textbooks or look at a student's homework assignments to see that what is currently taught (and not taught) in many schools.  And what you find may be far worse than Common Core.


UPDATE:

read Nancy Jester's blog post on the Bill of Rights and Georgia curriculum. 


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