"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Friday, October 8, 2010

Flocabulary: The Sad State Of U.S. Education System (Caution: Do Not Read If You Get Easily Depressed!)

How many of you are aware of Flocabulary, a music-based educational tool that uses raps, rhythms and rhymes to help students learn and memorize everything from vocabulary and English to math and social studies?  Did you know that, by some estimates, upwards of ten thousand schools in the U.S. has adopted this none sense?  I did not, at least until I read about Oklahoma City decision to suspend the program.

Now, I have nothing against using some innovative tactics to teach subjects like math and history to our kids as long as they do not undermine the fundamentals of the subject matter.  Flocabulary, outrageously enough, is not one of those methods.  It is enough to make your blood boil if you are fed up with the teacher unions and their constant undermining of our kids' education.

Concern over a new hip-hop curriculum that refers to the founding fathers as "old dead white men" has delayed the program's roll out for at-risk students, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer said.  At risk students?  How about the rest of them?

It is the U.S. history curriculum that has raised concern.

One of the rap songs — "Old Dead White Men" — chronicles the shortcomings of the early leaders in the United States.  Just watch:

Of President James Monroe's tenure, the rap says: "White men getting richer than Enron./ They stepping on Indians, women and blacks./ Era of Good Feeling doesn't come with the facts."

That's followed up by an assessment of President Andrew Jackson's checkered dealings with American Indians.

"Andrew Jackson, thinks he's a tough guy./ Killing more Indians than there are stars in the sky./ Evil wars of Florida killing the Seminoles./ Saying hello, putting Creek in the hell holes./ Like Adolf Hitler he had the final solution./ 'No, Indians, I don't want you to live here anymore.'"

Among many other clearly objectionable lyrics of the song, they also manage to find a proper use for Dick Cheney, but I digress.

And that is only the rap about the Founding Fathers.  As if that is not enough, should you want to sample more of this none sense, try the grammatically embarrassing, at best controversial lyrics about MLK, or The Bill of Rights, or  This Ain't Working among many. 

What is next?  Ebonics in school curriculum? (at this rate, I would not be surprised if the answer is yes)

Flocabulary CEO and co-founder Alex Rappaport said the lyrics are made intentionally provocative and sometimes humorous to create student engagement among some of the toughest-to-reach students in the nation.

"In general, the purpose of our program is to motivate students, and we often say the enemy here is student apathy," Rappaport said. "We want students to ask questions and challenge assumptions that are made and think critically about historical themes."

Excuse me but, critical thinking is not a familiar concept to any liberal. 
I can only hope that likes of Governor Christie don't waste anytime overturning their predecessors foolishness.

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