Stephanie Pearce: The American Dream, Part 3 — examining Common Core |

Stephanie Pearce: The American Dream, Part 3 — examining Common Core

Stephanie Pearce
Stephanie Pearce

Last week I explained how, in my opinion, a lesson plan on capitalism helped to sway the children to think that capitalism is bad. This week, we will touch on what is taught through this lesson plan on socialism and communism, and how this sways sympathy toward these political theories.

The lesson plans introduce a paper on Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. It tells how Engels worked for his father in business. When he went to work in England to run his father’s cotton mill, he was shocked about the poverty that the workers lived in. He began writing and sending articles regarding this to a newspaper in Paris, where Marx was the editor. This is where their friendship began.

According to the lesson, they were kicked out of several countries for writing their beliefs and publishing them; including “The Communist Manifesto,” which starts out by saying “The history of all existing society is the history of class struggles.” The lesson states, “the document advocated the overthrow of capitalism.” While it did touch on how they wanted a new society without classes and without private property, it didn’t talk about how they were willing to get it. These two wanted a revolution. The two survived on money received for their writings and from private donations. After being banished from several countries, they returned to England where Marx would stay until his death. Engels went back to work in Germany for his father so that he could support Marx and his family. He did this for the next 20 years. Engels also finished putting together more of Marx’s writings after his death.

So, the story of Engels and Marx could touch the heart of the average American child. Work conditions were deplorable and these men stood up for them, right? They were banished from countries for their beliefs and we, as Americans, value our freedom of the press and free speech. Poor Marx only had his writings to sustain his family and if he couldn’t get paid, thank goodness for his wonderful friend to take care of him, right? If only someone would jump up and say wrong! Maybe if Marx would have continued to work as much as he promoted communism, he could have shared his wealth with those around him, much like his friend Engels ended up doing.

The lesson uses another handout to explain the differences between socialism and communism. It says the teacher should explain the difference as being Christian and Catholic. All Catholics are Christian, but not all Christians are Catholic. Just as Catholics believe that Jesus is the savior, they have certain beliefs that set them apart from Christians, such as confessing to priests. Communists believe the same as socialists, but also take unquestionable positions on key issues such as property ownership, total governmental power over its people through media, economy, industry and education, and the means in which to gain this power. I also find this funny that they would use religion as a tool to define the difference between socialism and communism when “The Communist Manifesto” was so against religion and even calls it “spiritual oppression” and “opium for the people.”

This touched on the main parts of the lesson that should last six weeks. Kids are left to make decisions for themselves with a lack of information swayed toward socialism.

Next week, I will wrap up my series by showing you how this has been a struggle for some time and by showing you some of our history, how we can move forward positively with capitalism.

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