WCPS Pushes Fishtank Learning Curriculum of Poor Reviews, Political Bias & Activism
Many parents and teachers have researched, reviewed, attended the parent events, and discussed the Fishtank Learning curriculum in great depth. The WCPS Director of Curriculum plans to sell this before the Wicomico County Board of Education. We have six main concerns, and hope that the board has thoroughly read through all the reports of this curriculum that has poor reviews, contains political bias, and centered on an agenda of political activism. The Fishtank curriculum is a social experiment that is unfit for Wicomico County and here is why.
1. Fishtank does not have all green approving reviews in any grade level.
Many programs do, as shown in reviews on EdReports and added below. The reasons why Fishtank received poor red ratings in teacher usability were concerning and showed how underdeveloped the Fishtank program seems to be.
Concerning words like these that were copied from Ed Reports on Fishtank Learning:
Does not meet expectations for use, is not present, presents a challenge
Materials lack (instead of a detailed lesson plan),
Limited, detailed planning is left up to the teachers,
Lessons within the framework need to be developed,
Publisher’s Document has an eight hour school day (which is not the norm)
Does not meet the criteria for student resources
All standards are not identified
No material provided for student consumption
Lack of explicit and lesson-specific support
Limited guidance for communications with families
This design could be challenging for new or inexperienced educators to navigate
Limited evidence of embedded technology
Specifically states that the intent is to provide a “skinny” framework that provides frameworks rather than detailed lesson plans, etc.
2. We are told that Wicomico County needs a new curriculum because the current programs have poor reviews and don't meet the criteria.
The current reading and writing programs have a red area just as Fishtank does. Our children did not learn to write with the Lucy Calkins Units of Study. When asked why their writing was so poor, teachers told us that students were encouraged to write whatever they wanted without actually being taught. The current reading supervisor brought Lucy Calkins to Wicomico County, but now says that program is inferior. If this is the rationale for needing a new program, why is the county settling for anything other than green approval ratings?
There are other curriculum companies that have green approval ratings. The reports that are being used as the reasoning in favor of Fishtank over Wicomico's current programs and other available programs does not make any sense.
3. Why aren't we hearing from any other school or district that has tried Fishtank?
This is concerning.
4. Is Fishtank the chosen program because it is a better reading program for our children or because the philosophies and goals of Fishtank are politically-motivated with focus on:
Activism, gender, identity, sexuality, LGBTQ+ students, social justice, racism, "Learning for Justice," racial stereotypes, "gender affirming care," the New York Time's 1619 Project version of history, being critical of race, and empathetic tolerance for illegal immigration.
Above is a feeling-based History unit on Ancient Egypt to "draw your own conclusions." It's interesting how certain areas of History are rewritten in the Fishtank curriculum, and then when it comes to other facts that don't support their narrative, the facts are left out. Doesn't look like there are any units on how the Egyptians enslaved the Jews to build their pyramids.
The unit above does not draw a distinction between legal and illegal immigration and victimizes the immigrant. Empathy is directed to challenge the "fairness" of the U.S. immigration system.
We found all of these on the Fishtank site. Our children's teachers can read about and receive training on all these political topics with links on the Fishtank site like these:
The message is that teachers will not be teaching these controversial topics in Wicomico County, since WCPS can remove those elements. Our concern is even if we eliminate the inappropriate or controversial teaching materials and units on these topics, that does not change what Fishtank is about, its foundational purpose, or what is on its website. Even though WCPS desires Fishtank for K-5, we reviewed the latter grades of 6-12 to better understand the foundational principles contained within the K-5 curriculum and it's very disturbing. If our county adopts this curriculum, then doesn't that send the message that Wicomico is adopting the beliefs and values of Fishtank as well?
5. Removal of inappropriate materials creates gaps in the curriculum.
Of course units lesson, units, and materials can be excluded from the curriculum. However, this creates gaps in the curriculum. It then takes internal manpower to fill those voids. When something is removed, something must be added back in its place. What will the replacement be? An unapproved resource? Last thing we need is a botched surgery. We have seen a pattern of WCPS being sneaky and using bait-and switch tactics to get something approved by the board and then using inappropriate materials of instruction anyway. Learning from history, WCPS will use the inappropriate and indoctrinating materials, because they are currently using such materials under the nose of the board.
6. Why is there only one option of curriculum presented to the board for approval?
The board should be asking for other curriculum companies to review and compare. Without the board questioning or looking at other options, then that would be negligent during this time of an academically-failing school system. The fact that only one option is being presented is an insult and an attempt to undermine the board's role. Who's driving the bus?
What is a Fish Tank in the real world?
A fish tank is a controlled environment where everyone is contained in one body that is the same size for all. Everyone's space is the same. Everyone eats the same food, breathes the same dirty water, and swims among each other in a defined world. Food flakes are rationed out over the surface of the population to share. Oxygen is pumped into the tank, and the fish are at the mercy of those who control the environment. It's anything but thinking outside of the box. It is a symbolic, systematic model of Socialism.
We hope that the Wicomico County Board of Education does not approve this $660,000 curriculum, but seriously looks at other options for a K-5 curriculum. We encourage our elected board members to responsibly take their time and require the exploration of all options.
Here are the WCBOE members, which you can contact regarding your concerns with the Fishtank Learning curriculum.
WCBOE Board Members
Gene Malone - email@example.com
Allen Brown - firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Hazel - email@example.com
Bonnie Ennis - firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Beauchamp - email@example.com
David Plotts - firstname.lastname@example.org
John Palmer - email@example.com
Fellows & Editors
April 7, 2023 - Copyright DelmarvaPTC.org
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