Photo by Getty Images
A Wisconsin dad is expressing his frustration after his son received a homework assignment that encouraged political bias.
Father-of-two Scott Radies, 46, appeared on TV show Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning to explain that his son Jarrett, an eighth-grader at Shattuck Middle School in Neenah, had recently come home with a controversial social studies assignment. The homework featured an illustration of a Democrat building a path of bricks and a Republican dismantling them. The image, entitled “The Pathway to Citizenship,” was originally published in the Tennessee newspaper the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Students were then prompted to answer the following questions about immigration:
Who are the men in the picture (What is their job? Look at what they are doing for a hint)
What are they building?
What do the symbols on their shirts represent?
What is action being done by each man?
What might this mean to us about immigration and citizenship?
Image courtesy of Chattanooga Times Free Press
“The day my son came home with the assignment, he told me his teacher asked the class why the U.S. doesn’t allow amnesty for illegal immigrants. My son answered, ‘Because those people are criminals by being here illegally.’ The homework was a follow-up to that discussion,” Radies tells Yahoo Parenting. He initially posted his experience on Facebook, and a few weeks ago — after reading about a similar incident in Wisconsin that involved students answering politically-charged questions — Radies decided to share his story with the Conservative news outlet the Independent Journal Review (IJR).
Following the assignment (which his son apparently aced), Radies met with the vice principal at his son’s school and spoke to teacher Grace Davies, who had assigned the homework. “She didn’t really understand where I was coming from,” says Radies. “My point was, eighth graders are impressionable and it’s not the school’s job to shape their political perspectives.”
Jim Strick, communications director for the Neenah Joint School District, sent Yahoo Parenting the following statement:
"The Neenah Joint School District is aware of concerns related to the use of a political cartoon in an eighth grade social studies class. A mistake was made in this class by using only one cartoon and not showing multiple positions through other examples. The goal of the lesson was to recognize the importance of varied opinions and viewpoints that we believe are essential in the development of our students and their critical thinking. Steps have been taken to ensure that all viewpoints are honored and respected throughout our District."
The incident is only the latest in a string of homework assignments that have made headlines. In February, a Michigan principal apologized to a father who complained that his ninth-grader was sent home with a biology assignment that asked students to decipher the identity of a baby’s father — the cable guy, the mailman, the cab driver, or “the guy at the club.” And in South Carolina, after a parent complained that the topic was an insult to Christmas, a teacher withdrew a homework assignment that referred to Santa Claus as an “illusion” that may be shattered when kids grow up.