Common Core Assignment: The Constitution is Outdated
Welcome to the first day of civics class in the Common Core. Your first assignment? Revising the Bill of Rights in the U.S Constitution because it is an “outdated” document? The worksheet says:
You have been selected to work on a National Revised Bill of Rights Task Force. You have been charged with the task of revising and editing the Bill of Rights. .. You will have to prioritize, prune, and add amendments.
Students are not being taught what the documents means, or any kind of appreciation for the document. The underlying assumption of the assignment is that the constitution is outdated and needs to be changed. Another underlying assumption is that this can be done by a citizen task force which ignores the actual procedure for amending the constitution.
The worksheet was handed out to Sixth grade students in a History class in Bryant School District in Arkansas. The assignment required students to select two bill of rights to throw out, and put together persuasive speeches to market the idea.
Lela Spears the child’s mother, was interviewed by Justin King of Digital Media. Mrs. Spears was asked how the the assignment made her feel about the type of education your child was receiving?
After she brought it home and explained her assignment to me, it made me question exactly what she was being taught. Where I can see a class using critical thinking skills to modernize the words, as to help them better understand the Amendments, giving an assignment to remove two then add two with little explanation as to why is upsetting. When I asked my child what the assignment was to teach her she had no idea. Only that she was TOLD to do it. She didn’t even understand what the Amendments meant. How can she make an informed decision when she doesn’t understand what she is “throwing out”? That was new to me. I also did not like the fact her teacher used, “you have been selected to help a special committee” bullshit.
Mrs. Spears continued:
Funny thing, she was never told how the Bill of Rights is amended; I do not believe that amended was even used in the class language, only “changed”. I read through the handouts she was given (they do not use a book for this class, nor take one home to study from, only handouts that are put in a box for their table to share and place in their binders), around 6 in total, and nothing about how an Amendment is ratified. I believe that, with the wording of the assignment, many children will think that the Bill of Rights is amended and can be changed by a “special” committee instead of an act of Congress. I know that my child will not think this is true since I have made it my mission to be very much involved in her education.
It is a good thing that Mrs. Spears is paying attention to explain this to her daughter. One wonders how many parents are not paying attention?
Parents around the country need to be diligent about what is going on in their child’s classroom. While Common Core establishes standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, the literacy standards apply to content areas in addition to English. Therefore, the standards apply to other content areas. While parents may be expecting to see changes in the English and Math coursework, it is just as likely they will see radical changes in other content areas.
Common Core has come under fire for its English Language Arts Standards. They are regarded as being focused on writing, which is contradicts a century of research in teaching reading. The focus away from literature and on content areas has had many activists concerned about the possibility of propaganda being taught in the classroom.