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Teachable Moment in Wisconsin

Posted By Deborah Lambert On December 20, 2011 @ 11:36 am In Faculty Lounge | No Comments

Proving that it’s never too early to sign up new recruits for the cause, the NEA recently offered a $5,000 “Learning and Leadership Grant to two Wisconsin teachers. The purpose of the grant was to ‘help first and second grade students’ become ‘activists.’”

The Blaze reported that the description of the grant for the two teachers at Muskego Elementary School read as follows: “Ms. Burmesch and a team of colleagues will develop a critical literacy inquiry-based unit of study to help their first and second grade students understand the role that power plays in their lives.

“The teachers will learn how visual literacy and technology, particularly website and podcast development, can be used by students to create activist messages that make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.”

Among those outraged by this situation was local radio talk show host Mark Belling. After learning about the purpose of the grant, he contacted school superintendent Joe Schroeder, who decided that a course designed to teach seven- and eight-year-olds about “power” and “activist messages” under the umbrella of a union grant was not exactly what he had in mind for his young grade schoolers.

Although the grant information was removed from the NEA website, a passing glance at the site’s “Activist Library” featuring Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, and Roots to Power: A Manual for Grassroots Organizing, tells a visitor all that’s necessary to know about possible course objectives that would pass union muster.
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Deborah Lambert writes the Squeaky Chalk column for Accuracy in Academia [1].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [2].

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