WAR ON ANTI-SEMITISM IN FLORIDA TEXTBOOKS
April 23, 2019 (Orlando, FL) Laurie Cardoza Moore, President and Founder of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations (PJTN) is in Orlando to call on the Orange County Schools Superintendent and School Board Members to launch a full and thorough investigation into the anti-Semitic content being used in Florida’s Pearson Publisher’s Common Core – CPALMS curriculum. This anti-Semitic curriculum is being taught to students in area schools and promoting an anti-Semitic bias against Israel in general and Jews specifically.
The problematic assignment excerpts were taken from “A Balcony over the Fakihaniby” by Liyana Badr, a short story in the book of novellas titled A Land of Rock and Thyme. The assignment is part of Pearson Publisher’s CPALMS Common Core Curriculum standards to prepare the 9th graders for the Florida Reading FSA on inference of cultural experiences. The source book and the story are fictional, but the excerpts are read as true biographical experiences.
Several examples cited from the story refer to a teenage boy and his friends who talk about going through a checkpoint on their way to the beach and hiding their identity to ‘them’ by telling ‘them’ (inferring IDF soldiers at the checkpoint) that they are Lebanese (not Palestinian). But one of the friends decides to disclose his identity as a Palestinian and is immediately shot in the head, by ‘them’. Another example of this fictitious “checkpoint experience” was told by one boy relating that “Nada, a friend of mine, was killed by a sniper, and she was a volunteer nurse.”
“This is outrageous and misleading,” stated Cardoza Moore. “We say we want our children to ‘learn how to think critically’ and yet we are feeding them propaganda? This type of blatant anti-Semitic propaganda and disinformation has no place in our public discourse and it certainly should not be taught to our future leaders. Not only does the curriculum promote violence against Jewish students, but it is also full of factually inaccurate information with regards to the reality of the so-called ‘siege’ in Gaza.”
The situation arose last month when a Jewish student at an Orlando Science Charter School was given a Pearson Publisher’s CPALMS assignment on “inference”. Upon reading the excerpts, the student became extremely uncomfortable and fearful. The student shared his experience with his parents
after school that day. The parents met with the faculty to present the concerns articulated in the curriculum and requested that the school take action.
Unfortunately, the parents were directed to the Orlando Science Charter School Board instead of launching an investigation into the Pearson Common Core curriculum that students in the Orange County school system are being exposed to every day. Furthermore, this incident warrants an investigation by the Department of Justice and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as Orange County Schools could be in violation of section VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as it pertains to ensuring that Jewish students feel safe on campus.
Tonight, PJTN will join with parents and citizens in Central Florida to launch a community-wide effort, demanding a full and thorough investigation into the Pearson published content to remove any curriculum from county schools that promotes anti-Semitic views against the Jewish community. All interested parents and students are encouraged to attend in the School Board Meeting Room on the 1st floor of the Ronald Blocker Educational Leadership Center, 445 West Amelia Street, in downtown Orlando at 4:30pm today to learn more about the curriculum in question.
Ms. Cardoza Moore further stated that, “Pearson’s Common Core, anti-Semitic curriculum is not new to PJTN. PJTN led the charge in 2013 to remove a Pearson published anti-Semitic textbook from Williamson County Schools
curriculum in Tennessee. The content in, The Cultural Landscape Curriculum – An Introduction to Human Geography, was discovered in a section titled, ‘Why Has Terrorism Increased?’ The author stated, ‘If a Palestinian suicide bomber kills several dozen Israeli teenagers in a Jerusalem restaurant, is that an act of terrorism or wartime retaliation against Israeli government policies and army actions?’ Pearson is a British-based textbook publishing company whose shareholders include the governments of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Libya. If Americans are wondering why we are losing the next generation – look to Pearson! Pearson brags about owning 80% of the textbook companies in the U.S. Does Pearson have a monopoly on our children’s education? You bet! And their shareholders do not hold the same values as We the people . . . .”
“I also want to encourage parents to discuss this type of curriculum bias with their children. It is this type of disinformation that historically leads to violence against Jews. It is why we see a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents on K-12 campuses throughout the nation. The Holocaust did not happen in a vacuum. In the words of the late Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, ‘Indifference to evil is evil.’”
Ms. Cardoza Moore is calling on the Orange County School Board to implement stricter guidelines with regards to the selection of curriculum in adherence to the highest achievement standards that parents expect for their students in Orange County. Citizens do not pay taxes for School Board Members to purchase ‘anti-Semitic’ curriculum. Cardoza Moore explains that, “we want to make sure that our Jewish community feels safe in Orange County and that we are able to make sure those values are upheld for future generations by what is taught to our children in our schools.”