A school superintendent in upstate New York couldn’t believe her own eyes.
As part of the state’s new Common Core curriculum, first-grade teachers in her district were being asked to teach students about Mesopotamia, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Yes, the ancient region in the eastern Mediterranean.
“I’d heard this whole talk of Mesopotamia being taught in first grade, and I went, ‘You gotta be kidding,'” superintendent Diane Fox said to the district’s Board of Education last week, the Daily Enterprise reported.
“So I thought I’d take a look, because I haven’t really spent much time digging in the elementary modules,” she continued. “The state of New York has put out modules for teachers to use as a resource. They align directly to the Common Core state standards.”
Fox read aloud to the school board the language of a first-grade English language arts “domain” focused on early world civilizations:
By the end of the domain, the students will be able to, one, locate the area known as Mesopotamia on a world map or globe and identify it as part of Asia. Number two. Explain the importance of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the use of canals to support farming and the development of the city of Babylon.
“I’m not making this up,” Fox said, unable to restrain her laughter. She then read another first grade module that focuses on monotheistic religions.
“Looks like, if our first graders understand all of this, they’ll be candidates for Jeopardy,” board member Miles Van Nortwick deadpanned.
Fox pointed out that “this is all a guide,” and stressed that teachers can use their own judgement on what to use.
“But it’s not surprising to me that we as a state or a country are not able to have a meaningful conversation about Common Core, because even those of us who are living it really do not understand it,” she concluded.
Yet, politicians can’t understand why parents continue to reject Common Core.
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