Common Core critics are furious with a new study guide called “The Battle over Gun Control” which not only gives kids a slanted perspective of the topic but also hints that the Common Core has a political agenda. The study guide/lesson plan was authored in part by the nonprofit and taxpayer-funded National Writing Project, which states that “moderate gun control” policies introduced after the Sandy Hook school shooting were destroyed by the “powerful political influence” of the National Rifle Association.
The lesson plan’s wording, according to Second Amendment advocates, frames the gun control debate in a one-sided way aimed to influence young minds: “The issue took center stage in December, when a long gunman entered an elementary school…one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history,” reads the guide’s intro. “Yet, month’s down the line, the issue remains highly controversial: An attempt to enact moderate new gun control measures this spring was voted down in the Senate, due in part to the powerful political influence of gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association.”
“Guiding questions” in the study guide include:
1. When a greater number of people in our society own guns, are we safer or more at risk?
2. Are rules and guidelines that were created over 200 years ago still applicable today?
3. How accurate is this statement: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
One of the Core’s biggest enemies is the grassroots organization Voices Empower. The group’s founder, Alice Linahan, told Fox News that “it’s a shift from teaching fact to teaching attitudes, belief, and behavior.” Linahan isn’t really concerned about gun control views, but she does worry that such methods of teaching may leave children unprepared for the real world. “Does a child get a job because they can read well, write, and have competent math skills, or do they get a job for supporting gay marriage and gun control?” she asks.
While the Core is not a curriculum, it has a big effect on clsasroom lessons due to its standardized tests. Curriculum providers often advertise their material as aligning with Common Core exams. Although it is not clear how widely this particular lesson has been distributed, many schools throughout the country utilize lessons created by the National Writing Project, an organization funded by the Department of Education that receives over $25 million each year in grant money.
According to Linahan, lessons like “The Battle over Gun Control” will continue to be used in schools across the country if the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is re-authorized. “What will be mandated in the act, if it’s renewed, will continue a shift in our education system and makes it federal law,” she said. Voices Empower plans to campaign against the re-authorization.
The Common Core Initiative was jointly constructed by governors and state education chiefs from 48 states. The goal was to create a uniform standard of career and college-ready knowledge for grades K-12. Critics argue that it is not the federal government’s job to develop or enforce educational standards.
Backed by the Obama Administration in 2009, the Common Core has been adopted by nearly every state – in many cases after the incentive of federal grants.