The pundits may have thought that Barack Obama’s efforts to exploit the Sandy Hook School tragedy on December 14, 2012, where a mentally ill young man killed 20 elementary school students and 6 teachers, had been tabled for lack of support. Now we learn that Obama’s Organizing for Action super pac is exploiting the one-year anniversary with fake memorials in order to resume the push for gun control.
Along with the efforts to reach adults are those to reach children in schools. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of Obama’s education initiative called Common Core (recently admitted to be an “Obama initiative” by David Axelrod) is aiding in the effort to eviscerate the Second Amendment by emotionally manipulating and indoctrinating students.
An Education Week article touts free “anti-violence” lesson plans for students in grades 4-12 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shooting. Education Week is full of handy “tips” and “news” for teachers, but is really a Gates Foundation-subsidized Common Core propaganda outlet, as I noted in my report on Common Core for Accuracy in Media. Education Week articles are frequently linked in the U.S. Department of Education’s newsletter, The Teachers Edition.
The “anti-violence” Common Core-aligned lesson plan that Education Week is promoting could hardly be more propagandistic. It is written by shooting victim Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Congresswoman, and Nicole Hockley who lost her son Dylan at Sandy Hook. It claims the ostensible purpose of “turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation” and “To be open to all possibilities.” It says students should be “Open to those with the most opposing views.”
But the only views teachers are told to give are those that advance an anti-gun rights agenda.
To prime students emotionally, teachers are asked to show a School Tube video from Roma High School to demonstrate how a student-led vigil can “show how people can come together after tragic events to make the world a better place.” (No empirical evidence is given about the cause and effect.)
There is very little reading required in the lesson, but what there is a USA Today article by Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, chiding “special interests,” like the NRA, which they claim is “advancing the interests of an ideological fringe” and “cow[ing] Congress” into refusing to take action on “common sense reforms.” The other is an article linked to Giffords’s and Kelly’s lobby group called Americans for Responsible Solutions. (There is an attachment for additional reading from Slate Magazine for “older students” that unscientifically aggregates the number of gun deaths by asking readers to send in news about gun deaths in their towns.) Teachers are advised to have students read the “Sandy Hook Promise” from the website and discuss “why they feel the promise was created.”
Teachers are told that the first two paragraphs of the promise are “most helpful.”
These are the first two paragraphs:
“Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, non-profit organization led by community members and several parents and spouses who lost loved ones in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. . . .
Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.”
Teachers are told to have students “brainstorm” on the question, “How can we work together to make the United States a safer place?”
Teachers are offered the suggestion of having students trace their hands on construction paper and then making cut-outs.
On these they should write one-sentence statements, beginning with the words, “I hope.”
As models, photographs of the lesson plan writers’ own construction paper hands are presented: ”I hope for a country that can work together to prevent gun violence,” wrote Gabby Giffords on her hand. “I hope parents can come together to build a future for our children safe from gun violence,” wrote Nicole Hockley on hers.
Show students the other postings on UClass [a “global lesson exchange” for teachers]. Have them comment positively on other students’ hands that have been posted on UClass. Urge them to do at least one thing to make the United States a better place.
Teachers are assured that the lesson plan follows the new Common Core education standards.
For grades 3-8, the “Correlating Common Core Standards” are:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
It gets a little more rigorous for high school students:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
In case the difference in these two academic standards is not obvious, students in upper grades are asked to “create a plan for their own anti-violence campaign” (words in bold in original). In other words, high school students should become activists.
The promoters of Common Core have repeated sales points about “high standards,” “rigor,” “close reading,” and including “critical thinking.” Really? Do you remember tracing your hand on construction paper in high school?
The lesson on Sandy Hook is typical of those now being produced and advertised as meeting Common Core requirements.
Of course, we know that many teachers have been using classrooms to indoctrinate students for decades now. What is different under Common Core is that the lessons are even more ideological. They profit the multinational publishing companies as they rewrite materials to adhere to Common Core. And they advance the agendas of left-wing non-profits and the federal government.
The construction paper hands being produced in grades 4 through 12 to commemorate Sandy Hook show how Obama’s Common Core initiative is working (pardon the pun) hand in glove with his political pac.