Yesterday Fox News posted an article about a paper a Harold McCormick Elementary School in Elizabethton, Tennessee student brought home.
The article reports:
The handout asked “What does it take to be on Mount Rushmore?“
The handout then explains that George Washington hailed from Virginia, a “prime breeder of black people.” Of Theodore Roosevelt, it was alleged he called Africans “ape-like.” There were also disparaging remarks made of Thomas Jefferson (he enslaved 200 Africans) and Abraham Lincoln.
Obviously this sort of handout does not encourage racial harmony in the classroom.
The article continues the story:
She (Sommer Bauer) said her jaw dropped when she followed the link to a website that was listed on the handout. Imagine her surprise when up popped the Nation of Islam home page.
The Nation of Islam believes there is no God but Allah. They also aren’t all that keen on white folks or Jewish folks.
“It raised a number of red flags,” she said. “They are basically saying our Founding Fathers are racists.”
Sommer told me she reached out to the teacher for an explanation – hoping it was an honest mistake.
“At first, she did not recall which paper it was,” she said. “Later in the day, she found the paper and told me she didn’t like what it said – and said she must have printed it by mistake.”
The teacher also told Sommer that her son was not supposed to take the Nation of Islam handout home. It was supposed to stay in the classroom. That bit of news caused her great alarm.
Mrs. Bauer had the common sense to reassure her son that he could bring any papers home from school to his parents because they have his best interests at heart.
The story continues:
The school’s version of events is somewhat different.
Alexander (Superintendent EC Alexander) told me the handout was never meant for public distribution. He said the child took the handout from the teacher’s work station without her permission. He said the teacher had been preparing for a presentation on Mount Rushmore and had discarded the controversial handout.
“It was not an authorized handout,” Alexander said.
Julie West is the president of Parents For Truth in Education, a Tennessee-based group that is opposed to Common Core.
At this point there is no indication the Nation of Islam assignment was connected to Common Core. However, West said she is alarmed by whatever happened at Harold McCormick Elementary School.
“The fact that students were cautioned against allowing their parents to see anything is deeply troubling,” West told me. “The only reasonable explanation is they don’t want parents to know what it is their children are learning.”
I certainly don’t mean to be an apologist for the school – but what if it was just an honest-to-goodness mistake?
“Whatever the reason it came into the classroom, it’s not okay,” she said. “These are not advanced high school students. This is third grade. They should be learning the basics of our country.”
What in the world was a handout from the Nation of Islam doing in an American elementary school classroom?