Preserve Innocence wrote a white paper on the Iowa Core Curriculum back in April, and I noticed that we never blogged about it here. The Iowa Core Curriculum was passed by the Iowa General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Chet Culver back in 2008. This legislation impacts all public schools and private schools to some degree.
I’ll include the executive summary below, and embed the entire report for you to read. It is important that parents of children in Iowa public schools in particular read this report:
The Assembly mandated that the Iowa Department of Education create the Core Curriculum. Unfortunately, that mandate allowed for implementation before educators and citizens had a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on its content and overall direction. The result is a Curriculum that allows (or even encourages) teachers to inject political bias into the classroom. That danger is most especially present in the presentation of environmentalism, economic theory, and political science.
The Science Core Curriculum is heavily biased toward indoctrinating students in the principles of liberal environmentalism. Suggested activities include discussing the advantages of owning a hybrid car and determining one‟s carbon footprint. It even encourages students to take political action by speaking at a city council meeting about environmental concerns. Its emphasis on climate change, globalization, and population growth tends to echo the more extreme elements of the environmental lobby.
The Political Science and Civic Literacy Core Curriculum omits some key concepts and incorrectly or ambiguously describes others. It suggests an ascendency of governments that do not reflect the founding documents and law of the United States. Its discussion of “rights” ignores the natural law basis of our fundamental rights and consequently fails to present them in the strength with which the American law and tradition holds them. Moreover, the directive to discuss the Bill of Rights shows no awareness of the need for guidance in discussion of controversial topics like privacy rights, gun ownership, free speech, and the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses. These opportunities for political bias continue in the examination of America‟s role in global affairs.
The Social Science Core Curriculum presents right and wrong as relative and subjective. It has hallmarks of being a “values clarification” course that deviates from traditional teaching on right and wrong, urging students to re-examine their values (and those of their parents) with a non- directive, non-judgmental attitude. Today, many schools and programs across the country use values clarification approaches. Also, UNESCO uses it for various social engineering purposes such as in population control and environmentalism programs.
On the subject of economics, the Curriculum seemingly does not support the notion that, because it is based on freedom, capitalism is the economic sister of democracy. Nor does it relate capitalism to the Constitution and the Declaration. It does, however, provide more opportunities for bias on the subject of capitalism, labor, and even globalization.
The History Curriculum has similar problems of relativism and openings for bias. With little discussion as to scope or basic historical literacy, it instead focuses on analysis of culture, process, and transition. Its directives to compare “minority” and “dominant” groups are a political minefield.
The “Health Literacy” section raises still more questions. It introduces concepts and skills on “violence,” “bullying,” and “safety.” Such approaches are often subterfuges to encourage affirmation (and even promotion) of LGBT lifestyles. Similarly, language about public health, safety, and “violence” could also be the conduit for undermining support for the Second Amendment. This Curriculum intrudes upon the most private of personal and family values. It teaches students as young as third grade “wellness dimensions” that include “sexual and spiritual wellness,” but it offers no hint of what that might entail or how such concepts will be taught to such young children. Furthermore, its encouragement of healthy behaviors, while laudable in some respects, raises questions about maintaining the medical and general privacy of the family and student, and its discussion on educating students to obtain health assistance raises questions as to whether students might be directed to activist organizations like Planned Parenthood.
For such a broad and influential work, the Iowa Core Curriculum is most startling in what it does not say. It is replete with opportunities for bias and indoctrination on a number of sensitive issues. This is a violation of the fundamental principle that parents have the right to guide their children‟s education and moral development. Moreover, the Curriculum opens the door for future political propaganda, as all sorts of social agenda can be introduced to the classroom by subsequent incorporation.
Overall, the Curriculum and its implementation process is a great lesson in civics and government. Iowa has a proud tradition of excellence in education. That tradition includes strong local control. It includes a commitment to a fair and open decision-making process and a populist respect for the people of Iowa. Sadly, the legislature ignored that tradition through its Core Curriculum mandate.
The Assembly must revisit the Iowa Core Curriculum.
You can read the entire paper below: