Common-Core Lesson on Gun Debate Under Fire

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Critics of Common Core say those who back the education system are sneaking their social and political agenda into the curriculum of schools across the country, giving a biased perspective of the gun debate, reports

The controversy stems from a teaching guide entitled "Educator Guide: The Battle Over Gun Control" published by KQED Education, the introduction of which says, "An attempt to enact moderate new gun control measures this spring was voted down in the Senate, due in part to the powerful political influence of gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association." The line is included in a summary of the gun-control debate, which the guide frames as having existed only since the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

You can view the guide here, which is meant to be a lesson in writing rather than guns or politics. The document was published by a northern Californian affiliate of National Public Radio and the nonprofit, taxpayer-subsidized National Writing Project, according to the Fox story.

Though the controversial Common Core system isn't technically a curriculum, lessons are often tailored to it because students must take a standard, nationalized test based on what it covers.

Some say this guide is an example of Common Core teaching students ideals rather than facts.

"This guide shows that the Common Core philosophy if education is coming to all schools," Alice Linahan, founder of Voices Empower, a grassroots organization that opposes Common Core, told "It's a shift from teaching fact to teaching attitudes, belief, and behavior."

Critics say the guide purports to give a balanced view of both sides of the argument, but that it clearly leans toward stricter gun control as the right choice. It asks "guiding questions" for students like: "Are rules and guidelines that were created over 200 years ago still applicable today?"; "When a greater number of people in our society own guns, are we safer or more at risk?"; and "How accurate is this statement: 'The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

It also uses language some say is meant to sway readers, like using the phrase "moderate gun control" instead of a neutral, unbiased term like "proposed gun control legislation," says this story from Likewise, one included infographic is titled "Armed to the Teeth: Gun Ownership in America."

The story says those responsible for the guide see nothing wrong with it.

"(T)he National Writing Project and KQED both feel it is important for students to engage in fact-based conversations about issues that matter to them, their families, and their communities," said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, executive director of NWP, in the story.

The Fox story says it is unknown how many schools have received this guide, but that it has been distributed nationally.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative was devised by an association of the nation's governors and backed by the Obama administration in 2009, with the goal of setting a uniform standard for grades K-12 nationwide. Forty-five states, drawn by federal grants, have signed on. Students are being tested in grades three through eight and once in high school.