A battle is brewing in schools across the country. The battle is over the truth being taught. As my colleague Andrew Pillow recently emphasized, there is too much misinformation about COVID-19 spreading. Pillow suggested that we have to take a look at the education system and acknowledge the role it has in misinformation being spread.
It is not just about the coronavirus. Students are not being given enough opportunities to develop critical thinking skills. Additionally, some of the information they are being taught does not provide a full perspective which makes the situation worse.
Yesterday, my friends shared that they were alarmed about their child’s conclusions about Native Americans. Their child believed they disappeared. Of course, they decided to read the information to determine how their child came to this conclusion. Unfortunately, a TpT resource was to blame. I do know there are some helpful resources, but teachers should thoroughly check any resource before using. An account called SunnyDaze, whose profile states she is a teacher, is selling a resource for $5.00 called “US Regions: Midwest Region (Print and Digital).” In this resource, the following is written:
“The native people had been living on the land for thousands of years. One interesting group of people living in the region were advanced mound builders. While we are not certain why their civilization vanished, many of their mounds remain and can be visited today.”
Furthermore, one of the questions students are supposed to answer is “what happened to those people?” Based on the passage above, what answer is a student supposed to give? There are no potential causes listed which is unfortunate especially since there are plenty of experts who have shared reasons.
Some would argue that this isn’t as bad as the TpT resource that said, “What If African slaves on the #MIDDLEPASSAGE had Instagram? What photos would they post to document their experiences and the horrors of their journey?”
The tragic experiences endured by Black and Indigenous people should be truthfully told. The teachers who spent $5.00 on this resource got ripped off. Instead they could have looked for more reputable resources about mound builders such as The National Park. The Chickasaw Nation also has short video clips about the mounds, and Scholastic even has a resource that explores this topic with suggestions for students about what might have happened to these builders. Students deserve to have a more in depth education about this topic with accurate information about what happened to Indigenous people when settlers arrived.
The people showing up and showing out at school board meetings over indoctrination would rather their children read a fairy tale version of history. At this rate history will become the ending of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (spoiler alert), and have children believing it was all just a dream.
Parents cannot sit idly by; they must be aware of what is happening in the classroom. One way is to do what my friends did. They looked at their child’s assignments. Parents should at least start there, and then they should start asking questions if the information is questionable.