By Steve Gunn
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At first glance, “Share My Lesson,” a website created by the American Federation of Teachers, seems like a great idea.
Union teachers are encouraged to post “tried and true ideas, lessons and teaching tools” for their peers to use, in an effort to “improve the quality of teaching in America.”
How neat. Young teachers can log on and discover more effective methods to teach math, reading, science, English and other subjects. They can find tips on better ways to communicate with and motivate students, and how to make their topics seem more interesting for youngsters.
That would be the obvious point of such a website, right?
But ShareMyLesson.com, launched last July, has also become a clearinghouse for lessons rooted in radical socialist political philosophy. One purpose of the website is obviously to convince more teachers that it’s their responsibility to indoctrinate young students into the pro-union, anti-capitalist, anti-American political movement.
This is nothing new. There is a growing movement nationwide to get teachers to convince students to reject free enterprise, private ownership, personal accomplishment and the accumulation of wealth, along with the concepts of hard work, personal responsibility and social mobility.
The goal is to create a collectivist America, and Marxist educators see their opportunity to spread the seed through the impressionable minds of K-12 students. We’ve seen many examples of this growing effort in recent months and years.
Last year teachers unions in Oakland and Chicago made headlines by formally embracing the anti-capitalist Occupy movement. As we speak there’s a movement among leftist educators in Minnesota to rewrite the state’s K-12 history curriculum so it presents a much darker view of the American experience.
Teachers union leaders like Bob Peterson in Milwaukee are openly calling for instructors to use their classrooms to spread the gospel of “social justice.” And in Texas, state officials were recently alarmed to hear that sixth-graders were being assigned to design flags for a fictitious socialist nation.
And now, on top of all that, we can point to some of the almost unbelievable lessons posted by teachers on “Share My Lesson.”
The Karl Marx powerpoint
The description of the lesson says, “This powerpoint shows students harms caused by industrialization and capitalism while introducing them to Karl Marx’s ideas of class struggles, the primitive accumulation of capital, and socialism.”
The lesson includes a drawing of people standing around a layered cake-like structure, with each layer representing a different class of American society.
The top tier, featuring a king and some men dressed in business suits, is labeled “We rule you.” The second tier has religious figures and is labeled “We fool you.” The third tier has soldiers and says “We shoot at you.” The fourth tier has people sitting around a nice dinner table and says “We eat for you.”
Then, of course, the ground level has ordinary people struggling to hold up the entire cake, with the words “We work for all.”
There is a page with the header “negative results of industrialization,” followed by many more pages with photos of children, men and women working in filthy, unappealing conditions years ago.
There is a page that says “history is a conflict between the haves and the have-nots,” and suggests a direct link between ancient monarchies, feudalism, slavery and modern capitalism.
Is this simply a lesson about socialism, or a lesson endorsing socialism?
No such guess work is needed for another lesson, titled “Class Debate: Capitalism and Communism,” which is described as a “really engaging lesson where students actually come up with the idea of Communism themselves.”
Celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday
We came across a few other dandies that leftist educators want to spread to classrooms around the nation.
One lesson is called “Capitalism and its Effects,” which, you might guess, is hardly an endorsement of the free market system.
It teaches that capitalism requires cheap natural resources, which leads to imperialism. It teaches that imperialism leads to the abuse of native populations, all in the name of profit. And that abuse eventually leads to social revolution and the establishment of shining modern states like China, Cuba and North Korea.
There is also a guide for school celebrations of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
The description calls for “an assembly for middle and high school students to mark Milad ul-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. There’s a game, a short story and a short film to show how Muhammad’s legacy is continuing in the lives of young people.”
We have no idea why Marxist educators (many of whom are atheists) are interested in this Islamic holy figure, except for the fact that Islamic extremists hate America and many Americans fear the Islamic faith.
If nothing else, this is a middle finger the radical teachers can give to the Christian conservatives they hate so much. But we wonder if the ACLU would object to such a celebration, based on the constitutional separation of church and state? And what would liberals say about a similar assembly celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ?
Another entry is called “Lessons on Collective Action,” which “takes students through a discussion of collective action versus selfishness, shows examples of collective action movements, and the needs of society.”
At the end of the lesson, the teacher explains to students “that the history of America is the struggle of self-interest and community interest. While people in business are struggling to fulfill their own self-interests and pursuit of happiness, the government and people in social justice have been combating this by struggling for community interests.”
Thank goodness for a government that stands up to all those dirty business owners who create all those jobs that allow all those people to feed themselves and their families. Oops. I don’t think we were supposed to include that last part.
Hollywood-based lessons, of course
Everyone knows that liberals love Hollywood, and vice versa. So it makes perfect sense that leftist educators are using biased garbage produced by the entertainment industry to shape lesson plans.
One such example found on ShareMyLesson.com was a “Worksheet to go with the movie Sicko.” The 2007 movie, you recall, was radical director Michael Moore’s attack on America’s private health care system.
The worksheets give students an opportunity to compare the American health care system (dominated by greedy insurance companies, of course) with government-dominated health care systems in Canada, Great Britain and France.
Teachers unions are full backers of socialized health care. So which country, do you suppose, comes out on the short end of this comparative investigation? What “truth” will students be pressured into accepting?
Another lesson plan posted on the site attempts to teach students the art of “satire,” and it closely studies one episode of the Fox television network’s “Family Guy.”
There’s no doubt that the show is packed full of mind-bending satire, but it is also very adult in nature. Is it necessary to use an extremely vulgar, sexually-oriented television show to teach young kids about satire? Is it possible to create satire without being grossly insensitive to just about everyone and everything (which is a “Family Guy” specialty)? Are teachers who use this lesson endorsing vulgarity?
Finally, we have a lesson called “Ren and Stimpy Industrialization,” based on a popular cartoon featuring two extremely moronic animal/human characters with horrible manners. The lesson involves students watching an episode of the cartoon, then cross-applying its message with that of the famous book “The Wealth of Nations” by the historic proponent of capitalism, Adam Smith.
After watching the cartoon, students are assigned to fill out a worksheet with questions like this:
“What idea from the Wealth of Nations about successful capitalism does Ren’s job show?
“What harms caused by industrialization are illustrated by Stimpy pulling the lever when the red light was on?”
What a clever strategy, using silly characters that children find appealing to sneak in a lesson about the evils of capitalism. But wouldn’t such a lesson be more profound if it were based on real people in real circumstances?