Fox News reports that some folks are up in arms over a rap song being used in some schools called “Old Dead White Men.” The rap song teaches about Monroe and Andrew Jackson. The rap music is being used with at-risk kids in Oklahoma City Public Schools and is a product of an educational company called Flocabulary.
In particular, the song lyrics include the following about Jackson:
“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.”
Sooooo…what here is inaccurate? It appears that the accuracy isn’t in question, just the wisdom of using such inflammatory language around already troubled youths.
The CEO of Flocabulary defended his program and another group questioned its wisdom:
Flocabulary CEO and co-founder Alex Rappaport says that the lyrics are meant to keep students engaged and promote discussion. According to the Flocabulary website, its programs are being used in more than 10,000 schools nationwide and are “proven to increase student motivation.”
“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,” Rappaport told FoxNews.com.
Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation, says in some cases those lyrics may do more harm than good.
“I just don’t think we were real careful where we deployed it,” Allen told NewsOK.com. “Not all parts of it are real affective for the more troubled youth.”
Rappaport says Flocabulary isn’t meant to be offensive; it’s meant to get students thinking and initiate meaningful discussion.
Interestingly enough, Oklahoma City American Federation is the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, the local teachers union. In a time when everything that is teachers’ union is seen as bad, this seems like a mighty carefully thought out response.
The school district will hold off using these materials until further evaluation is done.