Saturday, November 30, 2013

Common Core... An Education Debaucle

Fourth grade students in Dupo Illinois are reading a new biography of Barack Obama that's not setting well with some parents.  The book, which is a part of the school's Common Core curriculum, says that negative behaviors by the President as a teen, such as smoking and swearing, were caused by exposure to television. It also says that white voters in America were hesitant to vote for a black President and that Barack Obama purposely pushed the race issue to "bring the nation together."

"When Barry looked in the mirror, he saw a young black man.  But he didn't know how to be black.  And no one was there to teach him. He decided to act like the black characters he saw on TV.  He started acting tough.  He cursed.  What that what it meant to be black? As he got older, he started smoking and drinking.  He tried drugs.  Was that what it meant to be black?"

Does anyone but me understand how racist that paragraph is?  Barack Obama learned to be black (acting tough, swearing, drinking, smoking and using drugs) from the black characters on TV?  Funny - I don't remember Dianne Carol, Jimmy Walker, Bill Cosby and the gang, Redd Foxx (on his TV show, that is) Demond Wilson, or even Flip Wilson, swearing, drinking, smoking, using drugs, etc., on their shows.  Or maybe she means some of the black characters in movies?  But that's not what the book says.

"Barack Obama," is written by Jane Sutcliffe and published by Lerner. Jane Sutcliffe is a white author from New England who has written biographies about Helen Keller, Walt Disney and Milton Hershey. The biography of Obama is part of Scholastic's "Reading Counts" program and is accepted as part of Common Core.

The book talks about the election of the first African-American President.  

"But some people said Americans weren't ready for that much change. Sure Barack was a nice fellow, they said. But white voters would never vote for a black president. Other angry voices were raised. Barack's former pastor called the country a failure. God would damn the United States for mistreating its black citizens, he said."

Common Core, the new, government sponsored school curriculum, seems to be doing what Michelle Obama said a few years ago - rewriting history.  Let's take a look at some numbers provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and dispel some myths that Common Core and Ms. Sutcliffe seem to be promulgating about the election of Barack Obama..

Population, 2012 estimate                                    313,914,040
Black or African American -                 13.1% or   41,000,000 *
White                                                  63% or     190,700,000 *
Hispanic/Latino                                    16.9% or   52,054,000 *
Asian/Native American                           7%  or       2,097,400 *
* = approximate numbers                                         

President Obama got 51%, or roughly 98 million, of all votes cast in the 2008 and 2012 elections. According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are just over 41 million African-Americans in the country today. So even if all 41 million African-Americans voted for Obama, (and we know they didn't because some voted for Romney and most didn't vote at all) the President still got 57 million votes from whites, Hispanics and others.  

We now know that only 13% of African-Americans voted in the 2008 election and 96% of those voted for Obama.  And let's not pretend it was because of 'voter suppression' because statistically only 11% of African-Americans regularly vote in elections.) That means of the 5.3 million votes cast by African-American voters in 2008, 5.1 million were for Obama.  So of his total number of 98 million votes, nearly 93 million were cast by whites, Hispanics, Asians and others.  

If 100% of all others (Asians, Native Americans, etc.) voted for Obama it would have added up to about 2.1 million, and if 100% of Hispanics voted for Obama that would add up to 16.5 million, (it was, in actuality, only 63% of Hispanic voters which, again, is only a percentage of 16.5 million) so that's roughly 18.6 million. That leaves over 74 million votes that had to have been cast by whites and/or people of mixed races/ethnicities. The white vote alone was over 42 million, (as many votes as African-American citizens) making it by far the largest group of Americans to vote for Obama and only 20% behind the white vote for McCain. 

Just for the fun of statistics, Obama won 43% of the white vote in 2008.  Bill Clinton, in 1992, also won 43% of the white vote. As much as this Common Core book would have you believe otherwise, Obama got the same percentage of the white vote in his first election as did Bill Clinton. Some may think that insignificant however, Bill Clinton was enormously popular with white women so the fact that Obama tied him (actually got more votes due to population growth over the 18 year time span) completely disproves the insinuation in the book.  In 2012, Obama won about 40% and in 1996, Clinton won 46% of the white vote. Clinton's numbers went up and Obama's went down in the second election.  In a country that seems more racially divided than ever that could be a significant change.  Or it could simply be that Romney was far more popular among whites than McCain - not unimaginable.  But that's a topic for another day.

My point is not about race or white verses black votes but about the accuracy of the information that is being spoon fed to our children by the new, government backed Common Core curriculum.  They're teaching our children "historical facts" that simply aren't accurate.  Let's look at another example:

In an article I read this morning, the government’s new Common Core education standards instruct teachers that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address must be taught without mentioning the Civil War and without explaining why President Lincoln was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Wait....  huh??

The Student Achievement Partners instructions tell teachers to, “Refrain from giving background context or substantial instructional guidance at the outset.  This close reading approach forces students to rely exclusively on the text… and levels the playing field for all students as they seek to comprehend Lincoln’s address.”  

I think, in a round about way, maybe they're saying students should do their own research about the Gettysburg Address and discover for themselves why it was delivered.  But since when do grade school students do that?  And where are students supposed to do their research - in other Common Core books that don't give an accurate account of history?  The President himself left out the words "under God" when he read that famous address last week.  So if students read (or hear) an inaccurate version of the Gettysburg Address and then research it among inaccurate textbooks will they somehow, miraculously, find an accurate reason for the address itself?  It's highly doubtful.  Any student who reads the Gettysburg Address needs to have a full comprehension of the cause of the address - beforehand - so he/she can comprehend what Lincoln was saying.

Beware of Common Core and its progressive efforts to re-write history.  Edmund Burke, conservative Irish statesman and member of the British Parliament, once said "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."  In this age of rapidly spreading progressivism, this statement is even more important.  If we allow progressives to re-write history and go unchallenged, it won't be long until our children aren't really learning history anymore but simply "his story."

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