Anyone who's ever put a child through school is familiar with Scholastic Books. But did you know that they are providing extensive "study resources" and teaching guides for Path to 9/11? And that the resources are demonstrably false, misleading, and reinforce the GOP's attempt to rewrite history?
This is important...jump down below the fold for details and action points.
The Path to 9/11 offers your students and their families important information regarding the causes of and events leading to that tragic day. Encourage your students and their families to watch The Path to 9/11 and use the accompanying Resources and Discussion Guide pages to:
* Track the historical time line of events before, during, and after 9/11
* Lead critical discussions about these events
* Use critical-thinking skills and analysis in classroom debate
It is important to look back over the past five years and consider the events that have occurred, what led to those events, and how they impact the future of our nation and the world.
* To encourage students to gain a global understanding of communities and cultures
* To engage critical-thinking and critical-viewing skills
* To encourage student political awareness and involvement through discussion and debate
* To promote media literacy to remind students to view what they absorb from the media with a critical eye
Sounds benign, doesn't it? However, in my opinion the resources that follow this introduction are hardly benign, and are closer to propaganda reinforcement tools than objective study material. I encourage everyone to take the time to read the downloadable resources and discussion points. Keep in mind that the information provided is targeted toward grades 9 through 12.
If you reach the same conclusions that I did (for instance, the implication in the first resource that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had a connection to 9/11), there are some actions worth considering:
- Contact Scholastic Books' customer service organization directly through their website. Demand that if they are determined to provide a resource such as this for a fictional movie, that it be unbiased and grounded in fact rather than wingnut talking points.
- Consider discussing your displeasure with the fundraising coordinator at your child's school. There are other book companies besides Scholastic that provide similar services to schools. It's a very cut-throat business, and threatening to withhold business through a local Scholastic representative would be a great way to force parental feedback up the corporate ladder.
- Contact your local board of education. Inquire as to whether the Scholastic material will be used in any classroom setting in your school district. Don't take "we don't know" for an answer. It's their job to know what curriculum is being taught to your children. If the Scholastic material is being considered for use, demand that it be withdrawn because (as with science) you wish your child to be taught the facts of the situation, not conservative talking points.
- If you meet with no success with the board of Education, insist that your child be excused from participating in any such curriculum. It's your right to request your child opt out, without penalty.
- Engage other like-minded parents to consider similar action. As Arlo Guthrie famously said, if five people, I mean five people march in singing a bar of Alice's Restaurant, then they'll think it's a movement. In this case, it's a movement for truth at the local level. There can be no more powerful statement.
Scholastic Books needs to be brought on the carpet fast. I don't have the time at the moment to dig into the background / finances of Scholastic Books to understand their connection to the GOP, and why they would take this extraordinary step to catapult the propaganda in school. Perhaps someone would have the opportunity today to do a bit of research into the Scholastic Books connection. Basically, what this study guide sets up is a captive audience for the show should any school district actually use the material provided.
That's why it would be good to take some preemptive actions today at the local school district level.
UPDATE Thanks to everyone for the great comments and suggestions in the thread below. A common theme has emerged: be gentle with Scholastic. I'm not so sure I agree with the theme, because regardless of how "blue" Scholastic might be, they've sold out their company's good name to push this propaganda reinforcement. And if they didn't know about it, they should, so "they don't know" doesn't wash.
It was brought to my attention via email that Scholastic has also, in recent years and months, hooked up with such notable organizations as The American Petroleum Institute and defense contractor Northrop Grummon to catapult propaganda of other stripes.
Scholastic's customer service can be contacted at 1-800-724-6527. Scholastic's CEO, Richard Robinson can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Jeffrey Mathews, Vice President, Investor Relations or Tonia Bellamy at 212-343-6741 or via email at email@example.com