Parents in New York, Arizona, Georgia, and Colorado have something in common with parents in Ohio: they love their children and seek to raise them with a foundation of sound moral values. They want their children to learn timeless truths, and to develop an American ethic of personal responsibility and high achievement, all while retaining the age-appropriate innocence beneficial to the young mind and heart.
So parents in all these locales were outraged when they discovered the pornographic material being taught to their children under new Common Core English language lessons.
Common Core School Standards were adopted in 45 states, sight unseen, tied to big bucks from the federal government. Standardized national testing based on the experimental standards is to be rolled out this year and next. Ohio is one of the states that took the bait, and parents are now finding out what that means: students will be subjected to a whole array of leftist indoctrination efforts—and then tested on them—unless Ohioans and their elected officials act quickly to make a change.
[RELATED on OCR: “Why I Proposed H.B. 237 To Repeal Common Core in Ohio”]
And the X-rated books are just what we know of now. Sex education standards under Common Core haven’t been nailed down, but they are likely to be those already developed to fit Common Core by a Who’s Who consortium of condom-and abortion-promoting groups, including SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States), Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). No conservative, pro-life groups or educators for authentic abstinence were involved.
So how did schools come up with the objectionable books? Under the Common Core standards for ELA (English Language Arts), an appendix lists books called “exemplar texts.” Now, to be fair, the list includes many titles considered classics, yet the lesson plans for many of these leaves a lot to be desired. Consider the treatment given Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where students read a minimal excerpt supplemented by a Saturday Night Live skit and, somehow, the whole lesson becomes a tutorial on “right wing extremists.”
[RELATED on OCR: “Confrontational Politics and the Common Core”]
But then among the exemplar texts were these other novels.
In Georgia, parents learned that a book called In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez, was being taught to 9th and 10th graders. It has graphic sexual themes and also mocks Christianity while holding up Fidel Castro as a hero. Progressives love it when seduction and Marxism can be packaged together.
Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell, is a supposedly “award-winning book,” which parents in Newburgh, New York found outrageous. It’s vulgar throughout, and at one point, the thirteen-year-old boy main character observes and describes a sex act between a couple, and in another section, he describes his father’s genitalia in detail. Parental respect, anyone?
A book called Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff, was studied by an eighth grade classroom in New York City. Parents were very upset about this book with its, again, explicit sex themes and depictions of drug use.
[RELATED on OCR: “Common Core Means Common Failure For States”]
In Arizona, Dreaming in Cuban, a book by Cristina Garcia, was required reading under Common Core for 9th grade students until parents cried foul about its obscene, sado-masochistic passages, so the books purchased by the school are being returned.
And in Colorado, The Bluest Eye, an award-winning book by Toni Morrison, angered parents of 11th graders because it portrays a girl befriended by a pedophile after being impregnated by her father. Incredibly vulgar sexual passages pepper the book, but even worse, the point of view is often that of the abuser, depicted in a sympathetic light. And the pedophile believes he is doing the will of God. Oh, I get it: we’ll teach them irony, misdirection, mistrust of the protagonist—hallmarks of literary education reaching back thousands of years. If only books besides The Bluest Eye existed to teach such devices….
Oh, and since the narrative is based in Ohio, it’s likely The Bluest Eye will show up in Common Core lessons here.
[RELATED on OCR: “National Education Standards Will Be a Costly Failure”]
Why would responsible educators push graphic sexual material at kids, as if this does any good whatsoever and no harm? These mindless and academically unchallenging novels bring textual pornography before young teens, normalizing early sexual activity in the minds of kids. These behaviors are associated with teen pregnancy, HIV, sexual abuse, lowered school performance or dropping out, drug and alcohol use, and mental health issues.
If the group called Future of Sex Education becomes the source for Common Core sex education standards, authentic abstinence educators will be out of business. The National Sexuality Education Standards has 6th graders learning exactly how to use condoms and how to obtain emergency contraception. They are taught to view people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. But that is a repeat lesson, one begun in 3rd grade.
But destroying youth innocence isn’t enough for bureaucrats. Impressionable children must be tutored in suspicion toward Western civilization and wealth re-distribution. Common Core lessons are rife with globalism, leftist activism and opportunities to challenge authority. And the agendas of gender and race are a constant theme.
Textbook publishers have already developed texts to fit the standards and the devil is truly in these details. For example, Common Core-aligned texts published by Prentice-Hall are heavily slanted toward Islam with scant information about Christianity or Judaism.
And the requirements for data collection on each child and his/her family are detailed and intrusive. What will school districts do with information like religious preference, the family’s political affiliation, the child’s declared “sexual orientation”? Such Common Core nonsense prompted parental anger in Maryland.
In Illinois, a Common Core curriculum presented students with decidedly liberal statements, asking them to check those with which they agreed. Here are several: “Unregulated free enterprise benefits the rich at the expense of the poor.” Or this: “The federal government should guarantee the rights of homosexuals.” And, “The government has an obligation to regulate businesses in order to preserve the environment for future generations.”
We need to get Common Core out of Ohio. There’s a bill in the Ohio Statehouse, House Bill 237, sponsored by Rep. Andy Thompson. Go to www.ohiohouse.gov to learn more.
[RELATED on OCR: “Why I Proposed H.B. 237 To Repeal Common Core in Ohio”]
Linda Harvey is president and founder of Mission America and host of a radio talk show 880 AM WRFD (Columbus). She holds a B.A. in English from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and has done graduate work at Miami, Ohio State University, and Trinity Lutheran Seminary. She is the wife of Tom Harvey and the mother of two children. They live in Columbus, Ohio.
All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.
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