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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