Ankeny Community School District Introduces Indoctrination in New Texts



Northview Middle School - Ankeny, IA(Ankeny, IA)  Kara Hadley whose student attends 8th Grade at Northview Middle School (Grades 8-9) in the Ankeny Community School District left a school board meeting frustrated as the school district was pushing standards-based grading.  She was told students would not receive credit for homework since only tests would be scored.  Since Ankeny like every other school district in the state was required to adopt the Iowa Core she wanted to see what textbooks were being used.

“The schools now use TCI Curriculum.  They are not able to bring them home in any grade.  I have a 3rd grader and an 8th grader in the Ankeny Community School District.  The last couple of years I started checking what they are taught.  I asked my 3rd grader to bring his social studies book home.  He said he can’t bring the book home because he would get into trouble, Hadley told Caffeinated Thoughts.  “Then I asked my 8th grader and he said he couldn’t bring it home because they only have enough copies of the actual book to use in class. It is mainly an online textbook.  You are not able to go online and just look at it.  You have to have a student number and password to see it.”

She then asked her student for the password to his online history textbook.

“So I logged on and about went through the roof.  For 8th grade history they are teaching one big book of equality propaganda.  Any of the great leaders like the founding fathers and Lincoln are glossed over while they have pages and pages of info on racism and inequality.  It has one sentence on the persecution of Jews, nothing on the holocaust.  It is against the rich, and says that the Great Depression was caused by big banks and propel not spending enough.  It also praises occupy and demonized Bush,” Hadley added.

Perusing what I was sent it also seemed that there was more discussion of the countercultural movement of the 1960s than of the Constitution.  The discussion of rights was focused more on how they apply today than what our founders said about them.

The two screen shots below are asking the students their views.

One question states “All Americans have the same opportunities to succeed in life” and then asks students to record whether they strongly disagree, mildly disagree, mildly agree or strongly agree.  Another question states “Wealthy people have a more powerful voice in American democracy than do others,” students are asked again to provide their view.

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Other questions say: “All Americans are equal,”  “Some Americans have more rights than others,” and “Americans have all of the freedoms they deserve.

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A segment in the textbook discussed how liberty is debated today.  “Just how liberty should be limited is a matter of debate.  For example, most of us support freedom of speech, especially when it applies to speech we agree with.  But what about speech that we don’t agree with or that hurts others, such as hate speech?  Should people be at liberty to say anything they please, no matter how hurtful it is to others?  Or should liberty be limited at times to serve a greater good?  If so, who should decide how, why and under what circumstances liberty should be limited?”

The textbook is called History Alive! from Teachers Curriculum Instiute (TCI).  TCI on their website claims its materials are Common Core-aligned, “At TCI, we’ve integrated language arts and literacy into our social studies programs. We know time is precious and this way students tackle two subjects with one effort.”  It’s unclear why a history textbook needs to be aligned to the Common Core when the Grades 6-12 Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical subjects are quite limited.

Additional screenshots show further bias within the textbook like the chapter on “The Emergence of a Counterculture.”

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Then you have this description of the Hippie culture:

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Below are the “Common Core activities” for the section dealing with the emerging counterculture.

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And yet another “Common Core activity” on the emergence of a counter culture…

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Then there is this statement re. Occupy Wall Street tied into 9/11, as well as, racial profiling:

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Then there is this section on immigration reform:

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Here is the text of the screenshot above:

Most of the 10 million or more undocumented immigrants now in the United States are Mexicans.  They came mainly to find work.  Some entered the country legally but stayed beyond the terms of their visas.  Others came into the country illegally.  Many U.S. employers rely heavily on these workers and may overlook or not be aware of their employees’ illegal status.

After 9/11, the federal government took steps to slow illegal immigration.  By 2011, it had doubled the number of border patrol agents and had built some 650 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.  The Obama Administration also cracked down on undocumented immigrants living in the United States.  From 2009 to 2011, nearly 400,000 were deported each year.

In addition, some states took it upon themselves to find and arrest undocumented immigrants.  In 2011, Arizona and Alabama both enacted laws that were stricter than federal law.  Critics complained that enforcing these laws might call for police to use racial profiling to identify immigrants.

Many Americans think it is improper and unsafe to allow anyone to be in the country illegally.  Yet, as the government has sharpened its focus on border security, critics have pointed out that the reasons for illegal immigration – the need for work and for workers – persist.  The question of whether the flow of undocumented migrants can or should be stopped remains a heated one.

President Obama is made out to be a border hawk in the segment above.  Also, the use of “undocumented immigrants” is telling.

Then there is a section on National Security with its accompanying “Common Core Activities.”

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Then we have this screenshot which addresses our founding ideals:

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The text reads:

Writing in 1776, Thomas Jefferson could not have even dimly imagined the complex world in which we live today.  Nonetheless, the ideals he set forth for our nation have endured, as points of pride and prods to progress.  In the troubled times since 9/11, they have also led us to consider new ways – at times successful, at others not – to uphold them.

Building a nation based on ideals has never been easy.  Being human, we are bound to disagree about what our founding ideals mean.  We are even more likely to disagree about how they should be applied to the complex business of governing a national of hundreds of millions of people.  Nevertheless, it is our commitment to these ideals that binds us together as Americans.  Like our founders, we know that a national built on ideals is never finished – it is always becoming.  Just what it is to become, however, is up to each generation to decide.

The same chapter discusses the use of military commissions:

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Below is a section on opportunity (related to the first questions seen in the screenshots at the top):

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Then the discussion on rights is framed to also deal with “economic and social rights.”  I also find it interesting how the right “to keep and bear arms” is not mentioned.  Also there is no explanation of where our rights come from.

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It should also be pointed out that in this particular chapter the Declaration of Independence is focused on while the Constitution is barely mentioned.  You can’t have a worthwhile discussion on our founding principles without discussing both in depth.

Hadley told Caffeinated Thoughts that those interested can go online to TCI to see some sample chapters for the 3rd Grade text called Social Studies Alive! My Community.  In it she says the book praises leftists like Cesar Chavez, and Lois Marie Gibbs.

Ankeny parents should demand to see all textbooks used, if they were purchased due to the adoption of the Iowa Core (including Common Core State Standards), how much they cost, and how much oversight – if any – the school board gave into their purchase.

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  • Deb Hinshaw

    This is appalling. Conservative teachers are placed between a rock and a hard place because teaching this kind of curriculum is against their views. But, their jobs are on the line if they refuse to do so. What can be done in that case?

    • Bruce Van

      Just curious. What would you replace and with what specifically from the above excerpts?

    • NewHampshire

      Do what I did. Scream bloody blue murder, then get persecuted for it.

  • BigMikeLewis

    Our founding ideals are only disagreeable and misunderstood to people desiring to usurp them. Our framers were very clear within the Declaration and the Constitution and in additional papers about what they were writing and why. This is not history above, it is indoctrination. I’ve had a bear of a time trying to get our kids’ History texts since school began. I wonder what they are using here in Oregon. Is it this? If it is, then I am going to have some things to say about it.

  • ataraj

    WLS (am radio station in Chicago) posed questions to mall-goers recently and people were asked questions like 1) who was the VP when President Kennedy was shot; 2) which side was Abraham Lincoln on during the Civil War; 3) where was the Gettysburg address given (state?) and 4) What are the first words of the Gettysburg Address? Guess what, people did not know the answers! And that’s NOW…imagine in 50 years what these kids won’t know. But they sure will know what “transgendered” means.

    • Matt

      I think it’s good for students to know basic facts, but simply memorizing names and dates doesn’t teach kids to think critically. That’s what the discussion questions are designed to do.

      • ataraj

        I’m going to puke if I hear the words, “think critically” one more time.

      • Bruce Van

        “Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.” – Jerry Falwell

      • Springdale

        Better to be a servant and follower of Jesus Christ than to be a promoter of anti-Christian leftist ideology. In the last hundred years leftists and fascists governments and societies have killed, imprisoned and persecuted millions of persons!

      • Bruce Van

        Hitler has always had good standing in the Catholic Church. His hatred of the Jews stems from a common belief that Jews killed Christ, like Mel Gibson. Of course, Christ was a Jew, but why let that get in the way of a good genocide.

        Stalin did horrendous acts, not because of any religious beliefs, but because he was an evil person who got himself into a position of power. BTW, Stalin was in the seminary to become a priest but was expelled when he could not pay the increase in his tuition.

      • Springdale

        I have heard this line about Hitler from liberals and leftists before. Hitler tolerated churches to an extent as long as they did not interfere with his goals. Hitler and his inverted cross and perverted ideology were essentially anti-Christ. Stalin was an apostate former seminarian. Churches of all denominations and creeds were closed. A very few “show case” churches were left open under the eye and control of the communist party. Great numbers of faithful Christians were killed by his leftist/communist regime; many others died after years in prison labor camps.

      • Bruce Van

        What is your source of Hitler and the inverted cross?

      • Kk

        Hitler used the same type of propaganda present in this so called History textbook to spread his message. He would have loved this idea!

      • AfricanRockFish

        Unfortunately, there are too many people who actually *want* our kids to be trained to be good little boot licking statists. “Memorize these names, figures and slogans, so you can be prepared to be another cog in the US corporatist wheel. Asking questions or disagreeing with TPTB is un-American!”

    • Springdale

      The Chicago public school district has been controlled and remade by the Left.

  • Matt

    Ok, so you and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but I’m really having a hard time understand a lot of your complaints here. You cover a lot of group so I’ll just address the first one regarding liberty. What’s wrong with asking students their view on the particular topics? It doesn’t appear there has to be a right answer. Rather, the questions should spark discussion and debate. Isn’t that what we want? Students thinking critically with teachers guiding a discussion. Or are we supposed to indoctrinate them into a conservative way of thinking?

    • Matt

      Sorry for the excess of typos above. Typed too fast!

    • NewHampshire

      This is obviously presented in a biased way. I don’t remember anything like this when I was in school. It was just the facts, no praise or condemnation for either side, only unless it was obvious like when Hitler sent people to their deaths etc. Time to end government run schools.

      • Bruce Van

        You say it is biased. Can you give examples?

        I hated history. It was so boring. Memorize ‘red letter dates’ and you get an “A”. I love history now, both the good and the bad.

      • Bob Simpson

        Public education is a cornerstone of democracy. We should work to improve our schools and our democracy, not abolish both.

      • BarbNWMN1

        Common error, Bob. Ours is a Constitutional Republic, NOT a democracy. Learn the difference, please.

    • ExperiencedPatriot

      There is no discussion or debate going on here. This is an “online lesson”, with the answers going to the teacher. This site is collecting these student responses. If you research the data collection aspects of the Common Core program, you might be more concerned about the cradle to grave cumulative data records that are being assembled (bit by bit) from all of these lessons through the stimulus funded State Longitudinal Data Systems. In answering these kinds of questions, you can pretty easily determine the students sway toward the leftist principles of social and economic justice or individual liberty. All part of their permanent record, of course. Remember, everything in our world is about data now.

  • NewHampshire

    Shane, this is just sick. Yes the big banks were responsible for the crash and our financial woes, but I wonder if that was made clear about the Fed being unconstitutional because it’s a private bank? This is blatant indoctrination, not even subtle.

    • Springdale

      New Hampshire, thanks for your contributions to the forum. I would add that the ACORN organization, of which Obama was a leading figure, and some major Democrat legislators put pressure on the banks to make home loans to poor people who did not have the resources to pay on the loans. That contributed to the crash.

    • Matt

      I would appreciate it if you please point out one example of “blatant indoctrination.” I don’t get it.

  • Bob Simpson

    I’m against Common Core mostly because it places too much power in the hands of profit-making corporations whose first loyalty is to the bottom line, not the nation’s school students.

    But speaking as former social studies teacher, I don’t see a whole lot that is objectionable about the particular passages and exercises here. I reviewed a lot of textbooks and curricula in my time and was dissatisfied with most of them, but this one doesn’t seem all that bad.

    • KB

      I agree with Bob, as another Soc Sci teacher. I’ve previewed and helped review/edit many U.S Politics texts used at the college level. Almost all the sections you show above present a “he said/she said” debate (opposing sides/opposing sources) format, which helps students to understand the issues and decide which is closer to their view. It isn’t “indoctrination” from what I can tell from brief excerpts. The so-called Common Core questions are also mostly about recall of summary information and various positions; I don’t see the indoctrination there. The hippie section cites rebuttals from Peggy Noonan, for example, and the racial profiling section speaks about the main arguments why people still supported it in the “war on terrorism.”

      The two sections that seem slanted — defined by the fact that not many opposition sources are cited — are the Occupy Movement and Military Commissions units. I’d say more balanced treatment is needed in these.

    • BarbNWMN1

      You are a former Social Studies teacher and don’t know the difference between a Constitutional Republic and a Democracy? SHAME on you, Bob.

  • http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org Scott McLeod

    Some people think that if you don’t teach history exactly the way they want, it’s ‘indoctrination.’

  • Rebecca

    In my school, we were taught how to think, not what to think. These poor students.

    • Logan

      Please state WHAT these students are being forced to think, where it says it, and an instance from the above text that does not present some form of alternative perspective. If you cannot provide this then you should not be commenting on this thread.

      • Rebecca

        I can’t state an opinion of my own, on a comment blog? Interesting. What is a form of an alternative perspective, that I am not to present? I need to know, so I won’t do it.

  • Katie

    I wish my 8th grade book had been this good! It looks great!

    • http://shanevanderhart.com/ Shane Vander Hart

      What exactly is great about it, and what made your 8th grade book so bad?
      I recognize most social studies books published recently are barely worth the paper they’re published on.

      • Logan

        Saying traditional historical education is unbiased is a completely ignorant thing to say, and I strongly encourage anyone ready to jump in with that perspective to reconsider. Our entire past has been formed by an unfathomable number of moments that people of the time considered their present. There has never been one side to anything worth noting, and there never will be. One side will always come out ahead of the other and that is the side we will receive our information on the past from, in one way or another.

        I strongly agree that kids in public schools should continue to learn about import facts, figures and dates since the founding of this country. That being said, I also feel that mindlessly memorizing said facts, figures and dates independently without context or discussion of them is a completely worthless practice.

        I like to think of myself as ‘middle-of-the-road’ when it comes to politics. No side is always correct and no side is always incorrect. I do have to say that I find that the screenshots posted above are more pertinent and useful to the current generation of middle and high schoolers than anything I was taught. We are a country that is moving away from where we were, I’m not one to say if it is for better or worse, and our future depends on our children turning into thoughtful and knowledgeable adults. The above passages don’t contain anything objectionable to me. I am not seeing any particularly biased parts here, nor have I been able to find any comments answering requests to provide them.

        I think that having children and young adults think about relatively recent world events and internal politics (as long as it remains neutral and just states what happened, as above) affecting this country via modern technology is infinitely more valuable than the middle-aged, bored teacher standing in front of the classroom droning on about people, dates and events from hundreds of years ago, that I experienced.