We want to equip parents with the information that allows them to see the actual dumbing down that is taking place in classrooms across the country.

In this latest example from a 6th grade Social Studies class, the parent who posted this social studies assignment asked: From 6th grade social studies… what is an alternative family?

Social Studies Dumbed Down

Most parents expect assignments to focus on academics. This is the time when children build a foundation of knowledge. Once that happens, they can then draw upon that knowledge to form educated opinions and make decisions.

Our goal is to promote literacy in education and these kinds of assignments fail our children.

Parents need to save this link to the Core Knowledge Scope and Sequence for grades k-8: http://www.coreknowledge.org/mimik/mimik_uploads/documents/480/CKFSequence_Rev.pdf

Below is the scope and sequence for 6th grade History and Geography. Compare what Core Knowledge identifies as “academic content” for 6th graders versus this social studies assignment above.

Schools are now focusing on changing attitudes and values in students versus giving them a foundation in academics. That is promoting ILLITERACY versus LITERACY and your children are at risk if you do not speak up and step in.

One additional note: Core Knowledge gives their scope and sequence away for FREE. You can take the scope and sequence to your local school and ask your board members to incorporate it into the k-8 framework.


The World history guidelines for sixth grade begin with a study of ancient civilizations introduced in earlier grades in the Core knowledge Sequence. Topics include Judaism, Christianity,
and the civilizations of ancient Greece and rome. The focus in sixth grade should be on the legacy
of enduring ideas from these civilizations—ideas about democracy and government, for example, or about right and wrong. After this study of lasting ideas from ancient civilizations, the World history guidelines pick up the chronological thread from earlier grades with a study of the Enlightenment. you are encouraged to use timelines and engage students in a brief review of some major intervening events in order to help students make a smooth transition across the gap in centuries between the ancient civilizations and the Enlightenment.
In sixth grade, the World history guidelines catch up chronologically with the American history guidelines. The World history guidelines take students up to the consequences of industrialization in the mid-nineteenth century, and this is where the American history guidelines begin.

World History and Geography:

I. World Geography
Teachers: By sixth grade, children should have a good working knowledge of map-reading skills, as well as geographic terms and features introduced in earlier grades. The study of geography embraces many topics throughout the Core knowledge Sequence, including topics in history and science. Geographic knowledge includes a spatial sense of the world, an awareness of the physical processes that shape life, a sense of the interactions between humans and their environment, an understanding of the relations between place and culture, and an awareness of the characteristics of specific regions and cultures. many geographic topics are listed below in connection with historical topics.
A. SpATIAL SENSE (Working with maps, Globes, and other Geographic Tools)
Teachers: Asnecessary,reviewandreinforcetopicsfromearliergrades,including:
• Continents and major oceans
• How to read maps and globes using longitude and latitude, coordinates, degrees
• Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn: relation to seasons and temperature
• Climate zones: Arctic, Tropic, Temperate
• Time zones (review from Grade 4): Prime Meridian (O degrees); Greenwich, England;
180° Line (International Date Line)
• Arctic Circle (imaginary lines and boundaries) and Antarctic Circle
• What is a desert? Hot and cold deserts • Major deserts in
Africa: Sahara, Kalahari
Australia: a mostly desert continent
Asia: Gobi; much of Arabian Peninsula
North America: Mojave, Chihuahuan, Sonoran South America: Atacama Desert

II. Lasting Ideas from Ancient Civilizations
Teachers: Since religion is a shaping force in the story of civilization, the Core knowledge Sequence introduces children in the early grades to major world religions, beginning with a focus on geography and major symbols and figures. here in the sixth grade the focus is on history, geography, and ideas. The purpose is not to explore matters of theology but to understand the place of religion and religious ideas in history. The goal is to familiarize, not proselytize; to be descriptive, not prescriptive. The tone should be one of respect and balance: no religion should be disparaged by implying that it is a thing of the past.
A review of major religions introduced in earlier grades in the Core knowledge Sequence is recommended: Judaism/Christianity/Islam (grade 1), hinduism/Buddhism (grade 2), Islam
(grade 4), and Buddhism/Shintoism (grade 5).
• Basic ideas in common
The nature of God and of humanity
Hebrew Bible and Old Testament of Christian Bible
• Judaism: central ideas and moral teachings
Torah, monotheism
The idea of a “covenant” between God and man
Concepts of law, justice, and social responsibility: the Ten Commandments
• Christianity: central ideas and moral teachings New Testament
The Sermon on the Mount and the two “great commandments” (Matthew 22: 37-40) • Geography of the Middle East
Birthplace of major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam Anatolian Peninsula, Arabian Peninsula
Mesopotamia, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
Atlas Mountains, Taurus Mountains
Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Black Sea, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf The “silk road”
Climate and terrain: vast deserts (Sahara, Arabian)
Teachers: Briefly review from grade 2: religion, art, architecture, daily life of ancient Greece.
• The Greek polis (city-state) and patriotism
• Beginnings of democratic government: Modern American democratic government has its
roots in Athenian democracy (despite the obvious limitations on democracy in ancient Greece, for example, slavery, vote denied to women)
The Assembly
Suffrage, majority vote
• The “classical” ideal of human life and works
The ideal of the well-rounded individual and worthy citizen Pericles and the “Golden Age”
Architecture: the Parthenon
Games: The Olympics
• Greek wars: victory and hubris, defeat and shame Persian Wars: Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis The Peloponnesian War: Sparta defeats Athens
• Socrates and Plato
Socrates was Plato’s teacher; we know of him through Plato’s writings. For Socrates, wisdom is knowing that you do not know.
The trial of Socrates

• Plato and Aristotle
Plato was Aristotle’s teacher.
They agreed that reason and philosophy should rule our lives, not emotion
and rhetoric.
They disagreed about where true “reality” is: Plato says it is beyond physical things in
ideas (cf. the “allegory of the cave”); Aristotle says reality is only in physical things. • Alexander the Great and the spread of Greek (“Hellenistic”) culture: the library
at Alexandria
Teachers: Briefly review from grade 3: romulus and remus, roman gods, legends, daily life, etc.
• The Roman Republic
Builds upon Greek and classical ideals
Class and status: patricians and plebeians, slaves Roman government: consuls, tribunes, and senators
• The Punic Wars: Rome vs. Carthage • Julius Caesar
• Augustus Caesar
Pax Romana
Roman law and the administration of a vast, diverse empire Virgil, The Aeneid: epic on the legendary origins of Rome
• Christianity under the Roman Empire
Jesus’s instruction to “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God
the things that are God’s” [Matthew 22:21] Roman persecution of Christians
Constantine: first Christian Roman emperor
• The “decline and fall” of the Roman Empire
Causes debated by historians for many hundreds of years (outer forces such as
shrinking trade, attacks and invasions vs. inner forces such as disease, jobless masses, taxes, corruption and violence, rival religions and ethnic groups, weak emperors)
Rome’s “decline and fall” perceived as an “object lesson” for later generations and societies
III. The Enlightenment
Teachers: you are encouraged to use timelines and engage students in a brief review of some major intervening events in order to help students make a smooth transition across the gap in centuries between the ancient civilizations and the Enlightenment. place the Enlightenment (17th and 18th centuries) in chronological context, in relation to eras and movements studied in earlier grades (middle Ages, Age of Exploration & renaissance, American revolution, etc.).
• Faith in science and human reason, as exemplified by Isaac Newton and the laws of nature
Descartes: “cogito ergo sum”
• Two ideas of “human nature”: Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
Hobbes: the need for a strong governing authority as a check on “the condition of
man . . . [which] is a condition of war of everyone against everyone” Locke: the idea of man as a “tabula rasa” and the optimistic belief in education;
argues against doctrine of divine right of kings and for government by consent of
the governed
• Influence of the Enlightenment on the beginnings of the United States
Thomas Jefferson: the idea of “natural rights” in the Declaration of Independence Montesquieu and the idea of separation of powers in government

IV. TheFrenchrevolution
Teachers: While the focus here is on the French revolution, make connections with what students already know about the American revolution, and place the American and French revolutions in the larger global context of ideas and movements.
• The influence of Enlightenment ideas and of the English Revolution on revolutionary movements in America and France
• The American Revolution: the French alliance and its effect on both sides • The Old Regime in France (L’Ancien Régime)
The social classes: the three Estates
Louis XIV, the “Sun King”: Versailles
Louis XV: “Après moi, le déluge”
Louis XVI: the end of the Old Regime
Marie Antoinette: the famous legend of “Let them eat cake”
• 1789: from the Three Estates to the National Assembly July 14, Bastille Day
Declaration of the Rights of Man
October 5, Women’s March on Versailles
“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”
• Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to the guillotine
• Reign of Terror: Robespierre, the Jacobins, and the “Committee of Public Safety” • Revolutionary arts and the new classicism
• Napoleon Bonaparte and the First French Empire
Napoleon as military genius
Crowned Emperor Napoleon I: reinventing the Roman Empire The invasion of Russia
Exile to Elba
Wellington and Waterloo
V. romanticism
• Beginning in early nineteenth century Europe, Romanticism refers to the cultural movement characterized by:
The rejection of classicism and classical values
An emphasis instead on emotion and imagination (instead of reason)
An emphasis on nature and the private self (instead of society and man in society)
• The influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s celebration of man in a state of nature (as opposed to man in society): “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”; the idea of the “noble savage”
• Romanticism in literature, the visual arts, and music
VI. Industrialism, Capitalism, and Socialism
• Beginnings in Great Britain
Revolution in transportation: canals, railroads, new highways Steam power: James Watt
• Revolution in textiles: Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, factory production • Iron and steel mills
• The early factory system
Families move from farm villages to factory towns Unsafe, oppressive working conditions in mills and mines Women and child laborers
Low wages, poverty, slums, disease in factory towns Violent resistance: Luddites

• Adam Smith and the idea of laissez faire vs. government intervention in economic and social matters
• Law of supply and demand
• Growing gaps between social classes: Disraeli’s image of “two nations” (the rich and
the poor)
• An idea that took many forms, all of which had in common their attempt to offer an alternative to capitalism
For the public ownership of large industries, transport, banks, etc., and the more equal distribution of wealth
• Marxism: the Communist form of Socialism
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto: “Workers of the
world, unite!”
Class struggle: bourgeoisie and proletariat
Communists, in contrast to Socialists, opposed all forms of private property.
VII. Latin American Independence movements
A. hISTory
• The name “Latin America” comes from the Latin origin of the languages now most widely spoken (Spanish and Portuguese).
• Haitian revolution
Toussaint L’Ouverture Abolition of West Indian slavery
• Mexican revolutions Miguel Hidalgo
José María Morelos
Santa Anna vs. the United States Benito Juárez
Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata
• Liberators Simon Bolivar
José de San Martín
Bernardo O’Higgins
• New nations in Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua
• Brazilian independence from Portugal
• Mexico: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico City
• Panama: isthmus, Panama Canal
• Central America and South America: locate major cities and countries including
Caracas (Venezuela) Bogota (Colombia) Quito (Ecuador) Lima (Peru) Santiago (Chile)
La Paz (Bolivia)
• Andes Mountains
• Brazil: largest country in South America, rain forests, Rio de Janeiro, Amazon River • Argentina: Rio de la Plata, Buenos Aires, Pampas
I. Immigration, Industrialization, and Urbanization
• Waves of new immigrants from about 1830 onward
Great migrations from Ireland (potato famine) and Germany
From about 1880 on, many immigrants arrive from southern and eastern Europe. Immigrants from Asian countries, especially China
Ellis Island, “The New Colossus” (poem on the Statue of Liberty, written by
Emma Lazarus)
Large populations of immigrants settle in major cities, including New York, Chicago,
Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland, Boston, San Francisco • The tension between ideals and realities
The metaphor of America as a “melting pot”
America perceived as “land of opportunity” vs. resistance, discrimination,
and “nativism”
Resistance to Catholics and Jews Chinese Exclusion Act
• The post-Civil War industrial boom
The “Gilded Age”
The growing gap between social classes
Horatio Alger and the “rags to riches” story
Growth of industrial cities: Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
Many thousands of African-Americans move north.
Urban corruption, “machine” politics: “Boss” Tweed in New York City, Tammany Hall
• The condition of labor
Factory conditions: “sweat shops,” long work hours, low wages, women and
child laborers
Unions: American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers
Strikes and retaliation: Haymarket Square; Homestead, Pennsylvania Labor Day
• The growing influence of big business: industrialists and capitalists
“Captains of industry” and “robber barons”: Andrew Carnegie, J. P. Morgan,
Cornelius Vanderbilt
John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company as an example of the growing power
of monopolies and trusts
Capitalists as philanthropists (funding museums, libraries, universities, etc.)
• “Free enterprise” vs. government regulation of business: Interstate Commerce Act and Sherman Antitrust Act attempt to limit power of monopolies
II. reform
• Populism
Discontent and unrest among farmers The gold standard vs. “free silver” William Jennings Bryan
• The Progressive Era
“Muckraking”: Ida Tarbell on the Standard Oil Company; Upton Sinclair, The Jungle,
on the meat packing industry Jane Addams: settlement houses
Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives: tenements and ghettos in the modern city
President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt: conservation and trust-busting • Reform for African-Americans
Ida B. Wells: campaign against lynching
Booker T. Washington: Tuskegee Institute, Atlanta Exposition Address,
“Cast down your bucket where you are”
W. E. B. DuBois: founding of NAACP, “The problem of the twentieth century is the
problem of the color line,” The Souls of Black Folk • Women’s suffrage
Susan B. Anthony
Nineteenth Amendment (1920)
• The Socialist critique of America: Eugene V. Debs