A vocabulary lesson using passages about Islam is making the rounds in the news today. The root of it comes from a viral video posted on Facebook by Dianne Lynn Savage. This assignment was given out at Farmville Central High School in North Carolina.
FOX’s Todd Starnes already has an article up:
— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) December 20, 2014
From the FOX article, a Pitt County official gave a statement saying it met Common Core ELA standards. Emphasis below is mine:
A spokesman for Pitt County Schools defended the lesson – noting that it came from a state-adopted supplemental workbook and met the “Common Core standards for English Language Arts.”
“The course is designed to accompany the world literature text, which emphasizes culture in literature,” the statement read.
The problem is it’s emphasizing a specific culture and religion – and the school district acknowledged there were concerns “related to the religious nature of sentences providing vocabulary words in context.”
“Our school system understands all concerns related to proselytizing, and there is no place for it in our instruction,” the statement goes on to say.
“However, this particular lesson was one of many the students in this class have had and will have that expose them to the various religions and how they shape cultures throughout the world.”
I asked the school district to provide me with a copy of vocabulary worksheets that promoted the Jewish, Hindu and Christian faiths.
The school district did not reply.
I also asked for the past or future dates when the students would be given those vocabulary worksheets.
The school district has yet to reply.
The student I spoke with told me they have not had any other assignments dealing with religion – other than the one about Islam.
I can hear the Common Core proponents now: This isn’t Common Core! This is a bad assignment being labeled Common Core!
You know the solution right, proponents?
Control everything from tests, to materials to curriculum — double dog dare you to make that argument.
This should make parents question how well vetted this workbook was and whether this was approved by the NC Textbook Commission or a local board?
Local NC media has a story up which includes the actual pages in question and the workbook, produced by “Holt, Rinehart and Winston”:
Holt, Rinehart and Winston was a division of Harcourt Education. As part of Harcourt, it was bought sometime in 2008 by Houghton Mifflin. Once acquired, the group McDougal Littell was merged with it to form Holt McDougal.
Update – Thanks to Carolina Plott Hound for linking!