Florida: Public school 7th grade Civics worksheet portrays Republicans negatively, Democrats positively

Below is a worksheet from a 7th grade civics class currently being taught in Martin County Public Schools. It describes the Democratic and Republican parties to public school students. The handout appears, on the surface, to portray Democrats in a positive light and Republicans negatively. There are several factual errors and omissions in the worksheet, noted by a relative of the student. The highlighted text was done by the student’s relative.

The worksheet portrays the Democrat party supporting “the ideas of equal rights” when in fact the Republican party voted in higher numbers for the Civil Rights Act and is the party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves. It explains that “Many support Democrats legislation to protect gays and lesbians against discrimination.” It does not explain what the consequences are to traditional marriage, or a persons health (HIV/AIDS), well-being and the community.

The worksheet states “Democrats believe that the environment needs protecting… with the help of government laws that prevent pollution, even if it means penalizing businesses that cause pollution”. It does not mention that the Environmental Protection Agency was created under Republican President Richard M. Nixon based upon the findings of the Ash Council in April of 1970. It also states Democrats believe in “a strong military”. Currently, President Obama, a Democrat, has reduced the US military strength to pre-WW II levels. The military was reduced after WW II by President Harry Truman, and again after the end of the Cold War by President Bill Clinton, both Democrats.

Republicans are portrayed as supporting “the rights of business owners large and small”, “that the government should have a limited role in daily life”, “oppose the right to abortion”, “oppose same-sex marriage”, and in general “support gun ownership rights.” All are true but not for every Republican and conversely not for every Democrat. The handout states Republicans “favor a strong military”, “support school choice” “charter schools”. It states that Republicans “do not support a universal heath care system like those found in Europe and Canada.” No context is provided to explain how Europeans and Canadians fair under a universal health care system, nor does it explain the current issues with the Affordable Healthcare Act.

A request for comment has been sent to Martin County Superintendent Laurie Gaylord. Any reply will be published as an update to this column.

Martin County 7th grade civics class political parties

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