Notes on Kyrene 6-8 curriculum

I do not presently have any children in the Kyrene school district but I was nevertheless able to view some of their curriculum in the summer of 2020. You can, too. The main difficulty is that the courses do not have traditional textbooks. You have to make an appointment at the district headquarters and read the material the same way the kids do, on iPads. A member of staff — in my case, the head of curriculum — accompanied me and answered my questions. She was patient with me but the time is necessarily limited. I chose to skim a National Geographic interactive text on geography.

None of my notes on the content will surprise you. The material is designed to be inclusive of all cultures. Hammurabi, not Moses, is the principal lawgiver, and there is no mention of the fact that he legislated classes of society, including slaves. According to these authors, there are four cultural “hearths:” the Egypt and the Tigris in Middle East, the Yellow River in China, and Oaxaca in Mexico. A listing of the civilizations in the Middle East does not include the Jews.

As you would expect in an interactive text, there are loads of pictures and buttons to press. You can self-test. I did not see any text longer than a couple of paragraphs. If you did not have ADD before reading this material, it would induce it.

Here is a photograph of the fiction assigned in grades 6-8. Notice what is missing: no Mark Twain, no Victor Hugo, no Charles Dickens.

The Kyrene website guided me to this book, Civics & Economics. I was able to purchase it and read it on my own time:

This book is by McGraw-Hill. No author would put his name on it. We learn that English settlers in America were just another group of immigrants in search of a better life. There is a consistent misrepresentation of our civics: no mention of consent of the governed, of separation of powers. Rather than citing sources, the authors rely on the phrases “others say” and “people say.” The section on economics does not mention division of labor. American economic success is due to cheap raw materials. Kids are encouraged to imagine what rights they are entitled to, and to demonstrate for them.

No state law banning CRT is going to improve this. Textbooks are designed by the big global publishers, heavily influenced by the NEA. District schools simply buy them, no matter who is on the school board. (See the neighboring posts on proposition 208.) We need more charter and private schools and we need to support them using the Arizona Tax Credit.