Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Parent Alert: "Giving Tuesday" Curriculum Warning

Most parents want their children to grow up to be kind, compassionate, charitable adults. So when schools sponsor activities which foster giving, most parents are supportive.

In the past few years, a new “giving program” has been developed called “Giving Tuesday.” The group’s website states:
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
Sounds good. After all, the Christmas Season has always been known in America as our most charitable time of year.

Giving Tuesday” even provides k-12 school curriculum free on their website to help teachers and schools develop “giving” programs and “encourage” everyone – students, staff, parents and the community – to participate.



Sounds like something most Texas parents could support.

But when President Obama issued a “Giving Tuesday” message and Harris County Department of Education (HCDE -the federal government’s back door into Texas public schools) pushed “Giving Tuesday” and linked to the “Giving Tuesday” website for schools to “get ideas,” I decided to look deeper. After all, it wasn’t just a coincidence that Arne Duncan visited HCDE in person. 



(Note: HCDE is a leftover government entity from 1889 and a past era of Texas education when counties operated our public schools. It still exists only because of a loophole democrats passed back in 1995. HCDE does not answer to the Texas Education Agency, the Commissioner of Education, or the County Commissioners so they have made themselves the federal government’s liaison into Texas public schools. They by-pass TEA and push the federal “cradle to grave” programs across the state.)






HCDE not only posted the link to the “Giving Tuesday” website, they encouraged Texas public schools to participate saying:









  • Giving Tuesday” Get Your Campus Involved
  • Teachers will want to know about #GivingTuesday, a global   day for giving back….
  • As a teacher, you can encourage your students and parents to take action
  • Organize an event on your campus
  • Announce a new fundraising initiative for your school that day
  • Please don’t forget about #Giving Tuesday Dec. 2
  • Share your #Unselfie.

But a closer look shows the “Giving Tuesday” free curriculum teaches “lessons” that would not be acceptable to many parents, and certainly not to any conservative ones. 

What is this curriculum teaching? 

Here are some quotes from the lessons: 


Investigate the idea of Privilege in order to raise awareness about the way that both you and others DO and DO NOT experience Privilege in your communities.

Text: “I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.” – McIntosh, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

1. What does McIntosh mean by “white privilege”? Why is it invisible?
2. What might be in that “invisible package”? Create a list.
3. Why does McIntosh state that white privilege is “meant” to be something that one does not recognize?

ANSWER: “Charity is just writing checks and not being engaged. Philanthropy, to me, is being engaged, not only with your resources but getting people involved and doing things that haven’t been done before.” -- Eli Broad


In contrast to 19th century “charity,” which had been destined for the needy (it was a form of social welfare), philanthropy of the 20th century was “for mankind.” The shift from charity to philanthropy occurred when the Rich partnered with progressive elites of the academic world, local governments, and professional associations. They all worked together to generate progress in science, education, human rights and public health…The “foundation” was created at the beginning of the 20th century as a way to channel big money to important social causes designed to promote human progress…Our nation has come to view philanthropy as both a quintessential part of being American and another means of achieving major objectives. American citizens embrace the idea that with rights come duties; we have the duty to work for social justice as members of a larger community.

Do research on the Internet to find out how BIG philanthropy has helped and will continue to help everyone—even those who donate the money. You may want to begin with the following names: Johns Hopkins, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, 
George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet.

Prior to the airing of a BBC documentary in October 1984, Americans had heard very little about the Ethiopian famine. Since the Reagan administration was reluctant to send provisions directly to this socialist regime, it actually cut its food assistance - to zero - in 1984…After it aired, the BBC film shocked the world: 10 to 12 million people were starving or on the verge of starvation in Ethiopia….The LIVE AID rock concerts in London and Philadelphia in July 1985 sought to raise money for the starving of Ethiopia. An estimated global audience of 1.9 billion, across 150 nations, watched the live broadcast. Famous singers such as Elton John, Madonna, and Phil Collins participated…Mass fundraising efforts led to the distribution of 20,000 tons of food to two million people each month…After the concerts, the Reagan administration changed course and approved $45 million for USAID to buy and transport 80,000 metric tons of food…This event led to the passing of the African Relief and Recovery Act (1985), whereby aid for “rehabilitation” was deemed by Congress to be legal – even in socialist countries. Funding for irrigation projects, seeds and tools, and training in health skills became possible…
Using the following historical notes, teach students about the backlash against President Johnson’s approach to eradicating poverty in the United States.

“In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched a War on Poverty: his goal was to create better schools, health, homes, and job opportunities. To attain this goal, the federal government created programs like Head Start, Legal Services, the Job Corps, Medicaid and improvements in Social Security. It was the responsibility of the government to lend a helping hand to the poor. Yet ever since this War on Poverty, conservatives have championed the idea that the poor are responsible themselves for their own poverty with bad attitudes and faulty lifestyles.”

How can you persuade others that your ideas are valid, relevant, and infused with a sense of purpose - without coming across as pushy and without offending your audience?



“Giving Tuesday” states that the purpose of teachers using their curriculum is NOT to foster charity in the hearts of school children, it is to use the students to FUND RAISE. 

Quotes from the curriculum guide:

1. The primary goal of this curriculum is to generate a genuine and authentic commitment to service in your school community by energizing students about fundraising for a specific cause in preparation for #Giving Tuesday….

(You can read the entire curriculum here.)


My Observations


Besides being extremely biased, left leaning material, which may be objectionable to many Texas parents, it is questionable if this curriculum is even legal in Texas.

Texas Education Code Sec. 29.906 
outlines character education restrictions for Texas public schools. “Charity” (not philanthropy) is a character trait listed in the statute and requires curriculum be approved by a school district committee before being used in the classroom. This committee must consist of:

  • parents of district students;
  • educators; and
  • other members of the community, including community leaders.

Statute also includes the following statement:

This section does not … authorize proselytizing or indoctrinating concerning any specific … political belief.

Texas Education Agency makes no mention of the  “Giving Tuesday” curriculum.

But “Giving Tuesday” was still encouraged by Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) – with a link to the website offering the free curriculum. 

In a quick search, I found two other Texas School districts which mention “Giving Tuesday”:




Humble ISD
participated through their Education Foundation and offered the link to the “Giving Tuesday” curriculum on their website 



    An
    Austin ISD press release states, "Schools put philanthropy curriculum into action…”








    If your school district participated in “Giving Tuesday,” you can file a request for public information to find out:
    • Which curriculum was used
    • If the curriculum was pre-approved by your school district committee and
    • Who serves on your district's committee
    You can get more involved by volunteering to serve on your district’s Character Education Committee in the future.


    A final note: Texas Representative Debbie Riddle has been trying to close the loophole which allows HCDE to continue to operate. Last Session she authored HB945  (with Fletcher/Miller, Rick/ Elkins/Tothbut the Texas House Public Education Committee blocked her efforts.

    You may contact the Texas House and Senate Education Committees as well as your own representatives and let them know Texas conservatives want the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) closed.


    Colleen Ve
    ra
    www.TexasTrashTalk.com

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