The Madison County Record Dec. 14, 2015, 4:15pm


To the Editor:

Setting the stage for Islam in the classroom dates back to 2001. A situation arose in the Byron (Calif.) Union School District after the school district instituted a three-week unit on Islam for 7th graders. Students picked Muslim names, recited Islamic prayers and celebrated Ramadan.

When parents sued the school on the grounds that the course was "officially endorsing a religion," the U.S. Supreme Court rejected their appeal, leaving intact an earlier ruling by the liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling claimed that the Islamic unit did not violate the Constitution as it had an "instructional purpose.” The unpopular decision left its opponents asking how it was possible to know intents and ignore ultimate results.

Another reason Islam is now being taught far more often, while religions like Christianity are not given the same attention, can be traced to the federal government and the Obama Administration which initiated and championed Common Core. The new highly controversial education system was quietly accepted, sight unseen, by most states in 2010. Opponents continue to lament that states were bribed to do so, largely with the promise states could drop the unpopular “No Child Left Behind” contract and its strict stipulations tied to student and teacher performance.

Most parents would be both surprised and concerned to learn that their child’s education is influenced by a non-American public company (Pearson Education). The company, owned in large part by alleged terrorism financiers, orchestrated the development and implementation of Common Core. It helped define the standards and evaluates teacher and student performance, instead of state or federal agencies. As a result, it could be said that the American government essentially handed over our public school education to foreign interests. The Libyan Investment Authority (with investments from Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia) funded Pearson Education’s implementation of Common Core.

The public should be aware that major financial donations from billionaire Bill Gates promoted Common Core and thus was a factor in how the controversial system caused one of the swiftest and most remarkable shifts in education policy in U.S. history. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of the Common Core State Standards, with more than $200 million, their foundation also built political support across the country, advertising and persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes to accommodate it.

Jeb Bush's ties to Common Core

Why is Jeb Bush such a staunch supporter of Common Core? Jeb has championed Common Core and claimed its implementation has improved the education standards in his state of Florida. While that may be true, it is not the standards that has caused the national controversy. It is the federal government’s involvement in creating, promoting, and “bribing” states to accept a national education system, when the Constitution opposes such federal interference. Bush's ties to Common Core were through his creation of the Foundation for Excellence in Education in 2008, following his two terms as Governor of Florida. The foundation forged an unusual role mixing politics and policy by drafting legislation and paying travel expenses for state officials and lobbying lawmakers, and by connecting public officials with industry executives seeking government contracts.

Many conservatives have become skeptical of national efforts to improve education following the "No Child Left Behind Act" championed by Jeb Bush's brother, then President George W. Bush. Jeb's foundation is viewed as another example of powerful interests taking classroom decisions away from local control and ultimately the parents. Consider also that Bush's Foundation has secured $5.2 million since 2010 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Substantial amounts of money played a huge part in the design and implementation of Common Core, as teacher unions and public officials were wooed by its promoters. There was little or no input/ involvement from teachers, parents or the public.

Common Core requirements for teaching of Islam

There have been many known abuses of Islam presented in our public classrooms throughout America since the implementation of Common Core. The following are examples of such abuses:

- Attend public school-sponsored trips to mosques, which also required non-Muslim girls to wear head scarves;

- Questioned whether the Holocaust was actually a political scheme created to influence public emotion;

- Learn Islamic indoctrination points via vocabulary lessons and world history from an Islamic perspective;

- Pledge allegiance to the flag in Arabic;

- Have school days off for "Muslim holy days;"

- Proselytize to younger school children by creating a pamphlet about Islam to "introduce Islam to 3rd graders" by describing Allah as the same God of Christians and Jews;

- Recite in class the Shahada ("There is no God but Allah") and kneel and learn to pray the Muslim call to prayer.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with children learning about Islam. Devoting more time to learning about Islam while reducing or even excluding Christianity has huge numbers of parents complaining. Tennessee Representative Andy Holt was one of several officials who agree that Common Core has a “strong bias in favor of Islam and needs to be removed." He went on to say, “Many of our children are not being taught the Ten Commandments in school, but instead the Five Pillars of Islam and the 'Prophet' Muhammad as a sovereign to Jesus Christ.” Sadly, complaints from concerned parents have not been given sufficient attention, and the objectionable Common Core curriculum continues to be taught in classrooms across this nation.

Common Core Social Studies advances Islam

Maury County, Tennessee, is in the heart of the Bible Belt. When local church ladies discovered that school children had been forced to declare, "There is no God but Allah," they naturally became upset. Seventh grade students at the Spring Hill Middle School had just spent three weeks covering Islam in a Social Studies class which enraged some parents who claimed the lessons crossed the line and became more like indoctrination and proselytization.

Parents in High Mount School in Swansea were outraged that a public school would paint a positive picture of Islam by teaching impressionable young students that Islam bears no responsibility for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Such teaching does reflect the growing trend in American education to portray Islam as a Religion of Peace, how Islam is a misunderstood force for good, or that Islam is just another world religion that is no better or worse than other religions.

In the neighboring state of Wisconsin, Union Grove High School students were asked to pretend that they were Muslims for a 10th grade World History writing assignment. Teacher Beth Urban asked students to write a five paragraph essay in which they were to pretend they are a Muslim male or female in the U.S. Per instructions: "Give three examples of what you do daily for your religion and any struggles you face," Urban instructed. Parents questioned how this assignment related to a World History class and whether similar assignments were given for other religions.

"World History" is a Common Core approved high school history textbook that is used in many states. In Volusia County, Florida, hundreds protested against the book's obvious ode to Islam. And rightly so, as an entire chapter is dedicated to the virtues of Islam and not one chapter to Christianity. A major promoter of the Common Core Islam curriculum is the Islamic Society of North America (a Muslim Brotherhood front group) along with Hamas CAIR. It behooves every parent to check whether "World History" is an approved textbook in their school districts.

Another incident taking place in Florida which involved the controversial "World History" textbook occurred at Lyman High School. Parent Ron Wagner was outraged when he read from part of his son's world history book, "There is no god, but God. Muhamad is the messenger of God." Ron Wagner had reason to be upset, as he was not reading the "Five Pillars of Islam" from the Quran, but rather from his son's 10th-grade world history book. As Wagner claimed: "Students were instructed to recite this prayer as the first Pillar of Islam, as it was written on the board and at the teacher's instruction."

A Tennessee high school decided to revise its field trip policy after a group of freshmen were taken to an Islamic mosque where they were given copies of the Quran. A student who opted out of the trip was given a worksheet that alleged Muslims treated their conquered people better than the United States treated minorities. The students were in an honors world studies class at Hendersonville High School and the field trips to the mosque, as well as a Hindu temple, were part of a three-week course on world religions. Parents objected to the trips and wondered why the school would tour a mosque but not a Christian church or a Jewish synagogue.

Although not related to Islam indoctrination as was noted above via Common Core Social Studies curriculum, parents in Farmville, North Carolina want to know why their children were given a Common Core vocabulary worksheet assignment in a senior English class that promoted the Prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith. As stated by a Farmville Central High School student, "It really caught me off guard.” Another student asked: "If we are not allowed to talk about any other religions in school, how is this appropriate?”

It would be unreasonable to deny that Islam is being presented to impressionable students as a religion of peace, while avoiding the fact that Islam extremists are murdering innocent people throughout the World today.

An excellent article was written in 2007 by Ronald R. Cherry for the American Thinker: "The Judeo-Christian Values of America." Everyone would benefit from reviewing these Judeo-Christian values which played a foundational role in America, beginning with the "Declaration of Independence.” These principles and truths are what led to America's exceptionalism, and for us to remain a great country, they must be repeatedly taught to our children at all levels of their education. That is what will assure America remains the amazing country for which our forefathers fought and died. Anything less must not be tolerated by parents, educators or the public.

Nancy J. Thorner

Lake Bluff, Ill.

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