A lesson plan on a website registered to the Virginia Department of Education has third graders learn that police hate black men and watch a video that appears to glorify communism.
The typo-ridden lesson plan, provided for use by any teacher in the state, is credited to five teachers, including Chesapeake Public Schools teachers Candice Anthony-Cazenave and Jamie Marquitz, and has children watch a video of someone reading the book “A Is For Activist.”
The book calls for students to become “abolitionists” and blends indoctrination with learning to read. “C is for Co-Op. Cooperating Cultures. Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures. Oh, and cats. Can you find the cats?” it says.
Allusions to communism continue throughout the book. “‘Radical Reds!’ the headlines said,” one page mocks. “M stands for May Day,” it says, referring to the holiday created by the Marxist International Socialist Congress.
It appears to criticize the Democratic Party as too tame and liken Republicans to dictators, showing a picture of a red elephant and a blue donkey and saying: “Dictators Detest it. Donkeys Don’t get it.”
“U is for Union. Union yes!” and “Z is for Zapitista of course,” referring to the Zapatista National Liberation Front, a group of violent, masked socialist rebels in Mexico.
It tells children that the purpose of education is to “agitate,” not to learn to do well on tests: “Open minds Operate best. Critical thinking Over tests. Wisdom can’t be memorized. Educate! Agitate! Organize!”
The lesson is part of GoOpenVA, a website registered to the Virginia Department of Education that “encourages all Virginia educators and learners to create, share, and use digital resources with the end goals of providing equitable access to great learning materials throughout the state, and supporting new approaches to learning and teaching for all Virginians.”
Those seeking to indoctrinate children often pump content into such free-for-the-taking “lesson plan repositories,” seemingly because some teachers will use them without much vetting to avoid doing the work of creating their own.
The lesson plan also has children watch a video of the book “Something Happened In Our Town.”
In the book, a white police officer kills a black man, and a young black boy asks his family about it. “He won’t go to jail,” his father says. When the boy asks why, he is told it is because “They don’t like Black men.”
“We can’t always count on them to do what’s right,” his mother adds.
A white girl, meanwhile, is told by her mother: “Slaves had to do whatever White people told them to do. Even after slavery ended, White people didn’t let Black people live where they wanted.”
“Did our family do those bad things a long time ago?” asks Emma.
“Yes,” answers her mother.
A boy named Malcolm explains: “I could get stopped by the police just because I’m Black, even if I don’t do anything wrong.”
“What if it was a White man in the car?” his brother asks.
The father advises, “They probably wouldn’t have even stopped the car.”
The anti-police book was promoted even in the military town of Virginia Beach, where school board member Jessica Owens praised it on Facebook as “positive” and “age-appropriate,” adding: “Our children are mini sponges.”
To make it enticing to teachers looking to check off boxes, each lesson on the GoOpenVA platform is marketed as fulfilling certain state educational standards. By instructing students to liken Black Lives Matter to Martin Luther King (after learning about him from a tumblr account), the lesson says teachers can take credit for fulfilling the “Learning Domain: History and Social Science” Standard: “The student will compare and contrast ideas and perspectives to better understand people or events in world cultures.”
Though also ostensibly designed to teach art, that part appears tacked on as an afterthought. Students should spend 30 minutes “using technology – digital design, or 3D sculpture, or a photo collage, or a painting, or any response that represents the students [sic] feeling/thoughts what [sic] a march represents,” the lesson plan says.
“The artist (group or individual) needs to have the audience and purpose in mind and how it will represent their [sic] views of social justice,” it says, continuing:
Using 3rd grade objectives, listed above, the student will be assessed on at the end of the project
1. The student will be able to collaboratively discuss and example [sic] the social injustices as discussed/show in one of the images in the book A is for Activist with their peers.
2. The student will observe/discuss the similarities and differences between the MLK March and the BLM March and create a visual response to a March [sic]. (What do they both have in common/connections? How could the 3rd grade students create a response to the BLM March?)
GoOpenVA’s website offers the disclaimer, “The VDOE has not evaluated these resources for content nor accessibility but they have generally been reviewed by educational peers.”
But it also says the state Department of Education aims to expand the platform.
“A statewide learning management system (LMS) is being developed to be the one-stop-shop for digital learning, offering vetted digital resources and online courses, facilitated by either local teachers or state-certified online teachers. This learning space will incorporate components of Virtual Virginia and eMediaVA. #GoOpenVA will provide the creative space where educators in all areas of the state educational ecosystem can share and develop resources,” it says.