TUCSON, Ariz. – Studies Weekly touts itself as “America’s new textbook” and thinks it’s a good thing that it has teachers in at least 30% of public and private schools in all fifty states subscribing to its weekly Common Core-aligned publications.
Parents who want their kids to accurately learn their freedoms as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution may have a different opinion, however.
According to Ednet online, the Studies Weekly periodical was first published by Studies Weekly president and founder Ed Rickers when he was a fourth grade teacher who did not have a traditional history textbook for his classroom in 1984.
Since then his Studies Weekly, written in a colorful newspaper format, has been expanded to include the subjects of social studies, science, health, character education, and math in both print and e-book versions and has a presence in over 30% of our nation’s public and private schools.
Studies Weekly touts itself as a kid-friendly replacement for the dull, expensive adopted textbooks gathering dust on a shelf in the classroom. Subscriptions are under $6 a year for each subject.
Studies Weekly also sells the fact that it is Common Core-aligned and it has Common Core-aligned assessments, both written and online, that time-strapped teachers can use in their classrooms. Why prepare for lessons and create tests, what teachers are paid to do, when you can buy the easy fix with Studies Weekly that does all that draining teacher duty stuff for you?
On the Social Studies Weekly website they claim:
“Studies Weekly… is a rigorous, exciting social studies curriculum that aligns to the state standards and the national Common Core State Standards…Studies Weekly includes writing prompts each week to assist teachers in meeting the new CCSS(Common Core State Standards) writing requirements of drawing evidence from texts and citing sources in grades 3-5.”
The fourth grade version of Social Studies Weekly, when explaining freedom of religion enumerated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, reads, “…you are free to practice any part of your religion so long as it doesn’t hurt other people.”
Take a look for yourself:
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Who will determine when practicing your religion reaches the level of “hurting other people”? According to Social Studies Weekly I guess if you hurt the feelings of an atheist by going to church that may just constitute hurting someone else.
With just a few words the 1st Amendment has been redefined for a fourth grader’s impressionable mind perhaps reading it for the first time.
The establishment of religion clause in the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution actually reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” What’s wrong with just using the original wording?
If the original wording would have been used then kids would have known they were being duped, even in fourth grade. Everything that kid learns about freedom of religion will be layered on this misleading first impression of the 1st Amendment.
The 2nd Amendment to our Constitution contained in the Bill of Rights reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
As you can see above, Social Studies Weekly couldn’t leave the clarity of our Founder’s words to chance. They reinterpreted it to read, “When our Constitution was written, the right to keep a weapon was protected. Today, some people think that this right refers only to a local militia or National Guard. Some people want to ban guns, hoping that will reduce crime.”
A fourth grader’s first experience with this politically twisted version of the 2nd Amendment would plant the seed that it is an antiquated idea written way back when the Constitution was written, you know, when there was a tyrant in charge of us abusing his power? It obviously doesn’t belong to current times it seems to suggest.
Social Studies Weekly also infers that “some people,” or more likely they want to impart the idea that “most people,” think the 2nd Amendment does not belong to individuals, but to a militia or National Guard.
Notice that Social Studies Weekly also attempts to implant the idea that crime surges when people have all that “right to bear arms” stuff, so let’s get rid of guns so crime will go down. That must mean that Chicago is the most peaceful, crime free city in the country since it has very restrictive gun laws. The facts bear out that just the opposite is true.
Again, this may be a fourth grader’s first experience with reading the 2nd Amendment and already they have major misconceptions imparted by the “expert” source.
A major facet of the new Common Core way of writing, reading, and therefore thinking is that students are mandated to “cite evidence” from the text written by the chosen “experts” and not offer their own thinking or opinions. A fourth grader would have to cite the erroneous intent of the 1st and 2nd Amendment in his writing and on his tests and his grade would hang in the balance.
The teacher will make sure the student cites the chosen experts in the Studies Weekly because this skill will be required to be performed with precision on the Common Core tests connected to teacher evaluations and pay.
Textbook adoptions are usually done by a committee at the state, district, or school level where the curriculum/standards experts decide which textbooks fit the needs of their students. Studies Weekly claims that a few states have approved the adoption of Studies Weekly but many have not.
Since Studies Weekly has a print and an e-version, which can be instantaneously updated, keeping up with the changes to the content in their newly adopted “textbooks” may prove difficult even if a state does officially adopt it.
Some teachers use Studies Weekly as a supplement to the textbook, while many others use it as a cheap textbook replacement. Studies Weekly, or a similar publication, may be the “expert text” that many kids will be required to cite from even though it was never approved to be used as a textbook.
Parents must check those cute, colorful little newspapers your kids are bringing home. The devil may be in the details, or on the page about our Constitution.