How to Bring Bad Curriculum to Light
I start going around to other parents complaining about what's in the
curriculum, I'm going to get labeled a crackpot or a busybody. No doubt
teachers will take it out on my child. But if I remain silent, then I'm violating
my own conscience. I feel I need to get
involved and do something about the rotten things that I see in my child's
curriculum from time to time. What's the best way to approach serious
curriculum concerns without destroying your friendships or your child's
standing in school?
Where there's a will, there's a way.
Consider this true story:
The father of a sixth-grade girl picked up
her social studies textbook, and browsed through it. He happened to find some
definitions of political terms.
"Liberal" was defined in four lines.
"Conservative" was defined in six lines.
"Independent" was defined in two lines, so
sketchily that he called it "pathetic."
But then the term "Progressive" was given
FOUR PARAGRAPHS! The father said it was in "clearly slanted language that
implied that Progressivism (which most people define as "socialism") was the
"correct" way to think and the only acceptable political position to take.
He thought what he was seeing was an
example of the Fabian socialist principle, the "Doctrine of Inevitability of
Gradualism." Under that system of thought, socialists such as G. Bernard Shaw
advised against sparking a bloody revolution or coup to turn a country toward
communism. Instead, Shaw and others advised, socialists should start infiltrating
schools and other institutions to turn a country more gradually into accepting
socialism instead of democracy as its governing principle. Shaw advised using
"stealth, intrigue, subversions and the deception of never calling socialism by
its right name." Most often, the communists and socialists cloaked themselves
That's exactly what this textbook was
doing, the father realized.
He said he "HIT THE ROOF." But here's where
things get good:
Even though he is a conservative person and
the superintendent of schools in his daughter's district is a liberal, the two
of them were friends. They accepted their political differences and trusted one
another because of that social relationship.
So he asked the superintendent out for
coffee - among other reasons, to get him away from other district employees so
the superintendent wouldn't feel internal political pressure, and also to
protect his own daughter in case "inquiring minds" wanted to know why he was in
the superintendent's office.
After exchanging pleasantries, he handed
the textbook over to the offending section, and asked the superintendent to
read those definitions.
Would the superintendent get mad, call him
a censor, and stalk away?
Nooo. The superintendent put the book down,
looked him in the eye, and said calmly, "When would you like me to move forward
on removing this text from our curriculum?"
The superintendent added that he was a firm
believer in the importance of teaching children HOW to think, not WHAT to
By the following semester, that textbook
was GONE . . . replaced by one with far less bias.
Yes, a parent CAN influence curriculum, and
CAN partner with school administrators to do it . . . but the best way to do
that is if you have already proven yourself to be their friend.
It doesn't have to be all the way to the
superintendent, but if you can befriend your child's teacher or your child's
school principal, counselor, librarian or other educator, that's a great start.
Even if you do not develop an educator as a
personal friend, you can still have credibility with educators if you have
volunteered in the classroom or to raise money for the school . . . have
donated money yourself to provide extras or field trips and so forth . . . have
served on the Parent-Teacher Organization board or committees . . . and
especially if your own children are good students, well-behaved, who have
demonstrated leadership and good citizenship themselves.
With credibility, after having served them
and helped them, they are a lot more likely to listen and treat you fairly when
you come to them with your concerns.
There's nothing as powerful as a personal
relationship. So if you have one, and want to get rid of trashy curriculum, use
it! And if you DON'T have one . . . start building one, today!
my daughter's 6th grade social studies text and browsed. I got to the chapter
where the political parties are defined. The term "Liberal" was given
four lines. "Conservative" was given six lines. "Indepent"
was pathetically defined in two lines.
Homework: Here is a long, but complete, article explaining more about
how Fabians and other propagandists operate: