Amid complaints from parents that their children are being “indoctrinated,” a Missouri school district official is advising English teachers to create a fake curriculum and keep the real one hidden.
The real one is focused on “antiracist” activism and issues of “white privilege,” the Daily Wire reported.
The author of the memo is Natalie Fallert, the literacy speech coordinator for grades 6-12 in the Rockwood School District, serving several towns west of St. Louis that are overwhelmingly white.
She told middle and high-school English teachers in the district that parents had been complaining “we are pushing an agenda,” “we are pushing Critical Race Theory (I had to look this one up!),” “we are making white kids feel bad about their privilege,” we are “stereotyping,” “we are teaching kids to be social activists” and “we are teaching kids to be democratic thinkers and activists.”
The controversial curriculum included “Intersectionality 101,” a video produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A handout for fifth-graders teaches “Michael Brown was murdered just steps from his mother’s home in Ferguson, Missouri.” And it says: “Disruption is the new world order. It is the way in which those who are denied power access power.”
The complaints have come, the Daily Wire noted, as online teaching under COVID-19 protocols enables parents to see classroom instruction for the first time.
The assignments are now visible to at-home learners in a tool called Canvas. So Fallert has a solution:
This doesn’t mean throw out the lesson and find a new one. Just pull the resource off Canvas so parents cannot see it …
Keep teaching! Just don’t make everything visible on Canvas. This is not being deceitful. This is just doing what you have done for years. Prior to the pandemic you didn’t send everything home or have it available. You taught in your classroom and things were peachy keen. We are going old-school. …
You could Duplicate an entry/lesson in Canvas (making 2 copies) Publish ONE for the whole class that is a LEAN version of the lesson. The “original” that has all the stuff on it, can be published and only assigned to specific students (IF NEEDED), OR you could specifically email those students a copy of what they need.
The reason I say “make a copy” You can publish the NEW one that has less information on it. Then for that kid who is all virtual and needs to full lesson, you can publish it and assign it ONLY that kid…
Anything that “could” be picked apart I would suggest using this above approach… Again I wouldn’t throw it out, but you could just not give them access to the story.
When you get to Power Imbalances – You might remove the two examples and just go over them in class (same as above). …
I hate that we are even having to have this conversation. 29 days and counting!
When parents learned of Fallert’s memo, Shelley Willott, assistant superintendent of learning and support services, engaged in damage control.
She sent out an email to parents on April 23 expressing “regret” for the memo and declaring the district views parents as “allies” in the education of “our children.”
“Yesterday an email was sent to middle and high school English Language Arts teachers from a district-level staff member that suggested teachers hide or alter content visible to parents in our learning management system,” Willott wrote. “We want to assure you that the message was not reviewed or approved by anyone before it was sent. Asking teachers to conceal anything from parents does not reflect the mission, vision and values of the Rockwood School District and is counter to the goals set forth in our strategic plan, The Way Forward.”
Willott acknowledged the memo “impacts the trust that is crucial for our partnership to be successful.”
“Although we cannot share specifics related to a personnel matter, we can assure you that we find the email unacceptable, and it is certainly being addressed,” she said.
District spokesman David Morrison told the Daily Wire classroom materials will continue to be posted online. And the district will train educators “on how to curate books so that teachers are giving students a wide variety of choices in their learning materials.” He said teachers will be asked “to provide parents with book choices before a unit of study starts and information about read alouds that will be done in the classroom as part of regular communications with parents (i.e. weekly newsletters).”
‘A disaster for this country’
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has submitted a new rule that would fund critical race theory in public schools.
Stanley Kurtz, writing for National Review Online, warns it would be “a disaster for this country.”
“Put that new rule together with the massive federal Civics Secures Democracy Act that pushes both leftist ‘action civics’ and Critical Race Theory, and K–12 education in America will be transformed beyond recognition.”
“Action civics” is a style of education described as learning by doing, with a focus on “collective action.”
Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who has taught at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, said the way to stop the “power play” is through state legislation that keeps both action civics and critical race theory out of K–12.
He has formulated a legislative proposal called the Partisanship Out of Civics Act that does both, noting that most states are considering bills that bar only CRC.
On Monday, as WND reported, Idaho became the first state in the nation to put a bill on a governor’s desk that would ban critical race theory in public schools.
Action civics is just as dangerous as critical race theory, Kurtz contended, “and in fact is directly allied with it.”
He pointed out that the “new ultra-woke Critical Race Theory-inspired teaching standards in Illinois even encourage teachers to substitute ‘social justice work’ and ‘action civics projects’ for traditional testing when determining a student’s grade.”
Kurtz warned that if the federal Civics Secures Democracy Act passes before the start of the 2022 state legislative session, it may be too late to keep action civics and critical race theory out of the states.
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