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The Interesting American History Lesson With a 'Common Core Twist
Sen. Angela Burks Hill calls for the legislature to end Mississippi's participation in Common Core, the State Standards Initiative that established a single set of educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. Opponents of Common Core hope to convince legislators into ending the initiative. Lawmakers return to the Capitol Tuesday for a three-month session this year. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

The Interesting American History Lesson With a 'Common Core Twist

Speaking to about 500 juniors at Enochs High School in California, social studies teacher Janeen Zambo read from a breakup note to the students about how the writer needed space and that it was best to part ways.

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Zambo then told students, “We’re going to study the best breakup letter in the history of the world,” the Modesto Bee reported.

She was referring to the Declaration of Independence, framing the revolution of 13 colonies against Britain as a breakup – with the idea that would seem more relevant to the drama-filled lives of high school students.

The Bee called it a “Common Core twist” to teaching American history.

“The difference is, we used to tell them the answers,” Enochs High School principal Deb Rowe said. “Now they’re having to struggle, come up with their own answers. That’s the critical thinking.”

Zambo compared the revolution to a time when students decide to move away from home and go to work or college.

“You start seeing yourself as separate,” Zambo told the students, according to the Bee. “It’s part of growing up. Maybe the colonies were growing up.”

She further cited the culture and activists of the time, particularly the Boston Massacre, which played a big role in fomenting rage among colonists.

“People were throwing snowballs with rocks in them,” Zambo told the student. “Less than a dozen people were killed, but what did they call this?”

She said activists called it the Boston Massacre, which she compared to something that might go viral today.

“Can rumor become ‘common knowledge,’ even if it’s not true?” she asked the class.

“If you read it on the Internet, it must be true,” Zambo said to some laughter from the students. “Good – you laughed. That gives me hope.”

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia initially adopted the Common Core State Standards for K-12 students developed by the National Governors Association and the Council on Chief State School Officers. But since that time several states have either repealed the standards, considering repeal, or changing implementation.

Follow Fred Lucas (@FredVLucas3) on Twitter

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