What’s black and white and red all over? A Virginia elementary school lesson plan.
Third graders learn that cops dislike black men and see a film that purports to promote communism, according to a lesson plan on a website registered to the Virginia Department of Education and it has a link to A is for Activist – a book for children that promotes communist ideals while criticizing our democratic government.
According to the book, “C is for Co-Op. Cooperating Cultures. Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures. Oh, and cats. Can you find the cats?” and it blends indoctrination with learning to read, which calls for students to become “abolitionists.”
“‘Radical Reds!’ mocks one page,” the headlines read. Allusions to communism continue throughout the book, with “M” standing for May Day, a holiday instituted by the Marxist International Socialist Congress.
“Dictators Detest it. Donkeys Don’t get it,” a picture of a cartoon featuring a red elephant and a blue donkey that appears to attack the Democratic Party for being too tame and liken Republicans to dictators.
They also refer to the term “Zapatista” from a group of violent, masked socialist rebels in Mexico, Zapatista National Liberation Front, “U is for Union. Union yes!” and “Z is for Zapitista of course.”
“Open minds Operate best. Critical thinking Over tests. Wisdom can’t be memorized. Educate! Agitate! Organize!” The purpose of education is to “agitate,” not to learn to do well on tests, this is how children have been taught.
The lesson plan also tackles police shootings with the book Something Happened in Our Town. After a white police officer kills a black man, a young black boy asks his family about it. The dad’s response: “He won’t go to jail” and “They Don’t Like Black men.”
His mother adds, “We can’t always count on them to do what’s right.”
“Slaves had to do whatever White people told them to do. Even after slavery ended, White people didn’t let Black people live where they wanted.” A white girl, meanwhile, is told by her mother.
Emma asks, “Did our family do those bad things a long time ago?”
Her mother answers “Yes”
“I could get stopped by the police just because I’m Black, even if I don’t do anything wrong,” A boy named Malcolm explained.
His brother asks, “What if it was a White man in the car?”
“They probably wouldn’t have even stopped the car,” The father advises.
To make it enticing to teachers looking to check off boxes, each lesson on the GoOpenVA platform is marketed as fulfilling certain state educational standards. By instructing students to liken Black Lives Matter to Martin Luther King (after learning about him from a Tumblr account),.
The lesson says teachers can take credit for fulfilling the “Learning Domain: History and Social Science” Standard: “The student will compare and contrast ideas and perspectives to better understand people or events in world cultures.” Though also ostensibly designed to teach art, that part appears tacked on as an afterthought.
Students should spend 30 minutes “using technology – digital design, or 3D sculpture, or a photo collage, or a painting, or any response that represents the students [sic] feeling/thoughts what [sic] a march represents,” the lesson plan says.
“The artist (group or individual) needs to have the audience and purpose in mind and how it will represent their [sic] views of social justice,” it says, continuing:
Using 3rd-grade objectives, listed above, the student will be assessed on at the end of the project
1. The student will be able to collaboratively discuss and example [sic] the social injustices as discussed/show in one of the images in the book A is for Activist with their peers.
2. The student will observe/discuss the similarities and differences between the MLK March and the BLM March and create a visual response to a March [sic]. (What do they both have in common/connections? How could the 3rd grade students create a response to the BLM March?)
“The VDOE has not evaluated these resources for content nor accessibility but they have generally been reviewed by educational peer,.” GoOpenVA’s website offers the disclaimer.
But it also says the state Department of Education aims to expand the platform.
It says,“A statewide learning management system (LMS) is being developed to be the one-stop-shop for digital learning, offering vetted digital resources and online courses, facilitated by either local teachers or state-certified online teachers. This learning space will incorporate components of Virtual Virginia and eMediaVA. #GoOpenVA will provide the creative space where educators in all areas of the state educational ecosystem can share and develop resources.”