6TH Graders Told Not To Tell Parents About Political Classwork Assignment
Posted on 24 November, 2013
While it is unclear if this is explicitly a Common Core assignment or not, a group of students today in Tupelo, MS had quite an interesting assignment. The sixth graders at Milam Elementary were given an assignment to do in class, and they were not to discuss this assignment with their parents.
Naturally, telling a group of kids between the ages of ten and eleven to not tell their parents about an assignment is probably the surest way for them to tell their parents. In fact, it is typically a way to ensure a student sneaks a copy home.
The reason why this is so concerning is that Tupelo prides itself on data driven instruction. Now, data is nice if it helps you figure out if a student needs extra help in a particular area. However, what if that effort is aimed at monitoring the political views of a student? What if there is a shift in student opinion to say, the wrong opinion on gun control or say the wrong opinion on right to life issues? Is the school collecting data toward that end to monitor the political beliefs of these young children? As you check out the school district’s video on data driven instruction, ponder for a moment where does monitoring education end and monitoring indoctrination begin?Then, consider the assignment below. According to a local clergy, this is the assignment that one of these young sixth grade children was given in class. They were told not to tell their parents about the assignment. I find that part disconcerting right there.The next is the topic:
Are you a Republican or a Democrat? I wonder what ever happened to teaching children that they were Americans?
Why is there an effort to monitor political opinions so early in a child’s life?
Do the parents in Tupelo, MS need to have a conversation with the school board about monitoring for indoctrination versus education? Why were the children told NOT to tell their parents about the assignment? Is this a pre-test of attitudes with another test to be given later? Is this part of the data driven education, to monitor the attitudes and beliefs of students?
While it may seem far fetched, parent political views are part of the P-20 data collected in data driven schools. Why not the child’s political views?
In the era before “data driven instruction” an assignment like this might have been received differently. In light of “data driven instruction,” are student opinions on this assignment part of the “data?” After similar incidents with surveys in Maryland and other places, it does prompt one to wonder if this is now part of the data.
As a side note to the teacher, she doesn’t quite have Republicans corrected stated, unless one is going strictly on party platform. For example under abortion, there are quite a few Republicans pro-choice Republicans. I am not one, but I have met many who are, and I have met many Democrats who keep trying to change their party platform on the matter. Abortion is one of those issues that is difficult to draw a partisan line upon. Even so, I am rather shocked that a teacher is discussing it with ten and eleven year olds.
Further, gun control is another issue that is not strictly partisan. In the part of the world I live in, there are Democrats with a stronger commitment to the second amendment than some Republican Governors, like Chris Christie.
As far as gay marriage is concerned, this teacher has apparently not heard of Log Cabin Republicans. But what I find even more troublesome is that gay marriage is being discussed by a teacher in the classroom
. I find it disturbing that a government employee, which is what a public teacher really is, is having a conversation with children of this age on this topic.Quite frankly, wouldn’t classroom time be better spent teaching something like, math, geography, science, art, or music? Maybe it is just me, but I have to wonder political affiliation of 6th graders is a priority in this country? Perhaps more of the basic and less of the politics would bring about higher test scores that these politicians seem to expect from our nation’s youth.