Common Core/Next Gen Assignment: “Who Is The Baby Daddy”

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Allison Martinez

The Common Core initiative involves a set of English and math standards. However, the English standards in the common core detail literacy in content areas in science and social studies.  This story from Romero High School  in Macomb County, Michigan about 30 miles north of Detroit.  At least one  parent who  furious with a science question. I don’t blame them, and I am surprised there isn’t a bigger furor over the question.

Common Core Next Gen Assignment “Who Is The Baby Daddy”

In an assignment on genetic traits in 9th grade biology, students were asked to identify the “baby daddy.” The mother didn’t know who the baby daddy was, and the state took blood samples from the baby and suspected males. The students were asked to match the baby to the baby daddy given the mother’ blood type and the baby’s blood type. The choices included: the cable guy, the mailman, the cab driver, the bartender and the guy at the club.

The question also asks the students why the baby was taken way by the state after the blood test, and it reflects bad science.

The implication is that the woman slept around so much she didn’t know who the baby’s father was and needed the state to identify the child’s father. The state also takes custody of the baby in the question, presumably because of the baby’s blood type. There is a lot wrong with this question. The parent wrote on the assignment,

“My family does not feel these questions are appropriate. Please dismiss this question from Audri’s grade. We teach our children not to sleep around. “

Superintendent Nancy Campbell’s response, in some measure, reflects a serious problem. First, her own problem with the assignment is the wording, not the lack of morality and bad science. Then the superintendent blames the teacher, rather than accepting responsibility for the standards and curriculum.

“The goal is that the students are understanding blood types and DNA and possibilities based on the makeup of the two parents. But, again, this painted a picture, I think, that was not appropriate. My first thought when I saw it was that it certainly been worded better. Teachers use all kinds of different resources that are available to them. [This incident] brings in awareness for all of our staff to, you know, be more thoughtful and reflective about the items they use when they put them on a homework assignment.”

The Superintendent’s response also highlights her own lack of leadership skills. The underlying idea of this assignment is that sleeping around is common place. It also implies it is the role of the state to track down the baby daddy. It sanctions the state taking custody of a child on the basis of the genetic lottery.  That is not what most people expect to be taught in high school biology.

Further, the assignment is poor science. If the state of Michigan is actually takes away children on this basis, they need to evaluate their practices, return some children, and the legislature needs to investigate.  A mother with type O blood can have an AB child under several circumstances depending on the H antigen. If two type O people with AO and BO ancestors marry, they could, in theory produce AB children if they have the H phenotype for the antigen is present. Some type O carriers have the A and B placeholders in their genetic material, and some don’t.

In fact, there are two type As and two type Bs, and the question doesn’t even recognize that. The Bombay Phenotype, because it was confirmed there, but it is not confined to those from Bombay, and Europeans, Asians, and Africans all have populations of people who display the characteristic. It has been known about since the 1950s and taught in schools at least since the 1970s.

If this is the science that is the basis for the state taking children in Michigan, someone better be teaching what rights they would have in Michigan if the state comes to take your baby. Hopefully, some parents rights group will get involved in this and use this as a basis for getting involved in education matters.

Interestingly, the question parallels a series of episodes on General Hospital over a characters “baby daddy.” That series actually did showed with accuracy how blood types work. Perhaps the person who wrote the assignment is a fan of the show and wrote the question before the episode determined that Monica’s baby was indeed her husband’s baby? Hardly the basis for high school biology.

This is the new science in common core. While those who favor Common Core say it is only English and math, but it is more than simply standards in math and English.   When coupled with the radical Next Gen science standards, you get a some questionable or outdated information taught as fact, or immoral behavior embedded  in assignments taught to America’s children.

CBS, Bombay Phenotype, NCBI

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