Students in the 11th grade at Farmington High School in Minnesota were asked to choose topics from lists of progressive causes for two of their assignments. The mother of one student, whose identity will be concealed for safety, sent American Pigeon two guides that her son received from his teacher.
For one project, students were asked to write a research paper on the “American experience.”
“One guiding question for this project is ‘How can we define the American experience?’ For this assignment, we want you to flip that question and ask yourself: ‘What would I like the American experience to be for future generations?”
The guide continues:
“We encourage you to identify and research something that is meaningful to you, is a real need, and, ultimately, ask you to challenge your audience to change, participate, or contribute in some way.
After choosing a topic, finding sources, reading and taking notes, you will be ready to write your thesis statement, but with a twist: your thesis statement needs to be a claim of value.”
Note the final direction that the student’s thesis must be a “claim of value.” A claim of value is an opinionated form of argument about what one thinks should or should not be valued. It is contrary to a “claim of fact” insofar as it is not based on factual information and cannot be resolved factually.
The list of potential topics were divided into three main categories: “vaccination efforts, justice systems, social justice movements/legislative change.” Other topics included free college, climate change, slow food, renewable energy, gender equality, animal rights, importance of vaccination, voting rights/reform, guaranteed access to health care.
Under the social justice heading additional topics included, “Defund the police/policing reform,” “LGBTQ Rights,” Black Lives Matter,” “#MeToo,” and others.
(READ MORE: Oregon DOE Releases Guide Encouraging Schools to Hide Students’ Gender Identity from Parents)
The second project is titled “Ideas Worth Fighting For—Part 1: Ideas Into Action.”
“Throughout history, revolutions have taken place as people have fought for what they believe in,” the project states. “What would you be willing to “fight” for?”
The goals and objectives include asking students to “determine your opinion and take a stand” and “to call others to take action.” The potential topics to choose from included defunding the police, bottled water ban, lowering the voting age, illegal immigration, historic statue removal, climate change, cancel culture, impact of social media, free college, reparations for slavery, vaccines for kids, and banned books.
American Pigeon reached out to both the school’s principal and district’s superintendent but has not received a comment for over two weeks prior to publication.
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