Grandiose words get a workout these days. Even the most discerning ears become inured to the overuse of “awesome” and “amazing.” Nevertheless, their equally tired adjective partner “outrageous” works to describe this headshaker:
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union, offered a $5,000 Learning and Leadership Grant to two Wisconsin teachers who intended to use the funds to “help first and second grade students” become “activists.”
The description of the grant for teachers Andrea Burmesch and Tara Krueger of Muskego Elementary, a public K – 4 school read: Ms. Burmesch and a team of colleagues will develop a critical literacy inquiry based unit of study to help their first and second grade students understand the role that power plays in their lives. The teachers will learn how visual literacy and technology, particularly website and podcast development, can be used by students to create activist messages that make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others. The students will create their messages around issues important to their lives.
Then Mark Belling, the afternoon drive time host on News/Talk 1130 WISN-AM inMilwaukee took up the issue, questioning the use of grant funds to turn seven-and-eight-year-olds into activists for the NEA.
Muskego-Norway Superintendent Joe Schroeder responded to an inquiry from Belling, and noted “upon inspection, I found a description of the grant that, while rooted in the development of critical thinkers and positive community members, was described with some very concerning language,” the Muskego Patch reports.
Schroeder said he had specific concerns over “helping first and second grade students ‘understand the role that power plays in their lives’ in effort to ‘create activist messages’ is language that, especially under the umbrella of a national union’s grant foundation, can understandably raise concern.”
This is that “national union” — the NEA:
Here is a sampling of “activists“: