A Washington mother is raising the alarm over an Advanced Placement U.S. History lesson at her son’s high school that illustrates a pattern of bias against conservatives in public schools.
The woman, identified only as Kimberley, shared the 11th grade AP history handout with KIRO, and discussed why she’s speaking up about it.
“I would say there has been a pervasive issue throughout our time in the district,” Kimberley said of the Edmonds School District. “We’ve been overall very happy with the school district, but there’s been kind of a pervasive political bias that I’ve noticed, all the way back to elementary school.”
“I think a lot of times, this is not even a conscious or intentional bias,” she said.
The most recent issue came in the form of a lesson designed to help students understand where they stand on the political spectrum, based on two different worksheets explaining the differences.
On one, left-wing Democrats and liberals tote signs that read “gun control” and “universal healthcare,” while those representing Republicans and conservatives supposedly want “less funding for social programs” and the “right to bare (sic) arms.” Further down the page, a political spectrum of world leaders depicts Karl Marx at the left wing extreme, and Adolf Hitler representing the right wing.
“You have a genocidal maniac identified as the right wing, and a philosopher/economist as the far left wing,” Kimberley said. “It just seems like, if you have kids trying to figure out where they fall on that spectrum, that’s an unfair example.”
Hitler was a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and espoused socialist and anti-capitalist policies.
The error-filled sheet spelled the president’s name “Donlad Trump,” and Hillary Clinton’s first name with only one L.
A second worksheet goes into more detail with other inaccurate generalizations about the “right” that clearly paint conservatives in an unfavorable light. The conservative perspective “looks to the past” with a focus on creating a society and culture that’s “exclusive,” “established,” and “nationalistic,” according to the handout. Liberals, meanwhile, are depicted as focused on the future and work to build a world that’s “inclusive,” “multicultural,” and “evolving.”
Under “beliefs,” liberals view criminals as “social and economic victims,” while conservatives supposedly believe criminals “choose to be criminals.” For the homeless, liberals view them as “downtrodden, victims of the system,” but conservatives think they simply have “no work ethic, no sense of shame,” according to the worksheet.
Kimberley contends the assignment’s perspective of liberal and conservative families was one of the issues that bothered her the most.
“A Left-wing family is shown as having nurturing parents and relationships with their children that are built on respect and trust,” she said. “Whereas the Right-wing family is depicted as — the mom is actually wagging her finger — and Right-wing parents are shown as strict, they have relationships built on respect and fear, rather than respect and trust.”
Other issues included conservatives described as voting for “aggression” and “militancy” – depicted as hawks – while dove-loving liberals support “diplomacy” and “pacifism.”
Kimberley told she thinks it’s important to help youngsters develop their own perspective on politics and social issues, and the misleading and offensive worksheets aren’t helping.
“I really try with the kids to always point out the valid concern that is at the root of opposing views, without disparaging it or belittling that concern, because I think that’s important, for kids to be able to develop their own opinions, but respect the root of what is behind the other side’s arguments,” she said.
“I feel frustrated that that is not being reflected in the schools, and so my efforts to try and create a balanced perspective for my kids are, I feel like, being undermined,” she said. “I don’t know how we can have any diversity of thought moving forward.”
Kimberley’s complaints are becoming increasingly common as public schools across the country continue to embrace political perspectives tied to one of the biggest special interests in American education – the national teachers unions.
The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers almost exclusively support Democrats, and resources, classroom materials, and other union initiatives are always aligned with liberal progressive politics.
During the NEA’s recent Read Across America initiative last month, for example, NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia teamed with LGBTQ advocates to read books to kindergartners about transgender ideology.
The intent, according to the union, was to help the 5-year-olds “promote and celebrate” transgender folks, EAGnews reports.
In Edmond School District, officials acknowledged that the worksheets provided to AP history students was unfair to conservatives, but it was only by accident.
Communications director Kelly Franson said the worksheets were “supplemental materials” to help students understand “both sides have the end goal of a stable, functioning, productive society; it’s how they want to get there that’s different.”
“The graphic is introduced with the precedent that these are broad generalizations,” she told KIRO. “And the students are asked to critique .. to point out the things that, that could be a misrepresentation of people’s world views.”
Edmonds assistant superintendent Greg Schwab also defended the biased assignment.
“There’s no declaration of personal judgement or personal information where you should land,” he claimed, “it’s really just a launching point for a much broader discussion in an AP course.”