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Old Dead White Men': Okla. Reconsiders Edgy Curriculum Paid for With Federal Funds


"ODWM, we talkin' 'bout some old dead white men."

If we told you that some schools were considering using music to teach history to at-risk students, you might think that's a good idea. But what if the lyrics went something like this:

White men getting richer than Enron. They stepping on Indians, women and blacks. Era of Good Feeling doesn't come with the facts.

And this:

Andrew Jackson thinks he's a tough guy. Killing more Indians than there are stars in the sky. Evil wars of Florida killing the Seminoles. Saying hello, putting Creek in the hell holes. Like Adolf Hitler he had the final solution. 'No, Indians, I don't want you to live here anymore.

The history program is called Flocabulary, and it compares Andrew Jackson to Adolf Hitler and refers to Founder James Madison as an "old dead white guy." It has made its way into the Oklahoma City public school district, where it was at lest partially paid for using federal funds. And now, after numerous complaints from teachers over the curriculum's language, the district is reconsidering using the rap and hip-hop program to teach history to at-risk students.

“Without engagement and motivation it’s very difficult to learn, so our main purpose is to create materials that will motivate the students that are least likely to succeed with traditional methods,” Flocabulary's CEO and co-founder Alex Rappaport told FoxNews.com.

Rappaport said that the lyrics are meant to be thought-provoking and incite discussion. He also said the curriculum is used in more than 10,000 schools nationwide and are "proven to increase student motivation."

"Kids learn differently. One thing we definitely want to do as a school district is use different techniques," Oklahoma City School Board Chairperson Angela Monson told News 9 in Oklahoma City.

But others aren't convinced it's a good idea.

"Our founding fathers deserve a little more respect than that," said one concerned educator to News 9. "I just don't think it's appropriate. I don't think any parent would want their child looking at that material," added another teacher, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

Adding to the controversy is the fact that the program is being paid for using tax dollars. According to and editorial in NewsOK.com, the school board authorized using $100,000 in federal funds for the controversial program and about $10,000 has been spent so far.

That same NewsOK editorial calls on the school board to keep better track of where its money is going:

With dozens of schools using dozens of programs to teach core subjects, the district has a responsibility to students and taxpayers to ensure money's not wasted on inappropriate programs and that the programs in use are working to improve student achievement.

Glenn Beck weighed in on the issue on "Fox and Friends" on Tuesday, admitting that Andrew Jackson's actions were an "abomination," but expressed concern that the language mirrors that of the 1920's progressive movement:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/QZI3ArsDI2A?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]

Since the story broke, at least one of the Oklahoma schools, Seeworth Academy, is planning on ditching or trimming down the program:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/2tlkLHZK5fk?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]

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