SAN FRANCISCO—A lesson plan for the San Francisco Unified School District has been proposed to teachers to help navigate classroom discussions about president-elect Donald Trump. The opening letter to teachers describes Trump as a racist, sexist man that won the election by “pandering to a huge racist and sexist base.” The plan was initially written by a SF teacher after the election to help teachers to answer questions of their students following the election results. It has since been sent via email to more than 6,000 school district members by the United Educators of San Francisco (UESF).
Fakhra Shah, a social studies teacher at Mission High School wrote the lesson plan at 2:00 a.m. following the election. She indicated that she had no intentions of the lesson plan spreading throughout the city and that it was the teacher’s union that was responsible for the distribution.
“We’re calling him out,” states Shah, “if he’s our president, I have the right to hold him accountable and ask him to take a stance that is anti-hate and anti-racist.” In the lesson plan, she states that teacher’s have the jurisdictions to set their own “norms” and to prohibit their students from “swearing.”
Some of the objectives in the lesson plan include:
- Students expressing their personal experiences with discrimination
- A deeper understanding behind the motivation of Trump supporters
- An American context of racial violence, sexism, etc.
Shah includes resources, lesson plans with sources such as a documentary by Michael Moore, and the focus of creating a learning environment where the youth are not penalized for the way they express themselves in terms of discrimination.
Since the release of this lesson plan, other union members have come forward to express their viewpoints on the matter. Vice President of the Board of Education Shamann Walton is concerned with history repeating itself stating: “In order for us to avoid all of that darkness in all of our too recent history, we cannot sit idly by and pretend that this is not hurtful.”
Republicans have revealed antipodal opinions on the matter. Republican National Committee Harmeet Dhillon defined the lesson plan as, “inappropriate propaganda that unfairly demonizes not only the campaign that Donald Trump, the winner, ran, but also all of the people who voted for him.”
The UESF posted an explanation of the lesson plan on their website on Friday, November 18 stating: “Following a bitter and divisive presidential campaign, during which our President-elect made a series of racist, sexist, and xenophobic remarks, many of our students have expressed feelings of fear, intimidation, and uncertainty.”
In addition to that statement, the UESF also provided support for those who were in favor of Trump writing that students “should be protected from intimidation and fear and their voice should be included in all discussions about the presidential race and the future.”
The UESF plans on creating a committee of “rank-and-file educators” to ensure age-appropriate lesson plans synchronously with current events.