Dr. Ken Sider's third grade class at Valleyview Elementary School in Oneonta, NY had quite the surprise last week when the CBS Evening News came to film an interview with Sider and his students on an endeavor they undertook back in October of 2018.

The students noticed that a Math in Focus workbook they were using, published by Marshall Cavendish Education, had incorrect information pertaining to Christopher Columbus in it and they wrote a letter to the publishing company to request that the information be corrected.

After being ignored by the company, the students then circulated a petition to send to the company in the hopes that they would get results from that endeavor.  Below was the accompanying letter to the petition:

We sent them a letter on October 10, 2018, and they sent us a form letter back that said: “Our representative will be reviewing your request and sending you a response within 2 working days.” When we didn't hear from them, we wrote again on November 6, 2018, to remind them. They sent another form letter that said: “We have since forwarded your class’s letter to the relevant team. We will urge the relevant team to respond to you and your class.” We wrote again on November 28, and told them they are putting false information in their book and that we want to hear from them. We offered to fix the page for them and asked them to please answer us. They still have not answered us. We have been waiting for five months. We think they are ignoring us because we are kids.

Kids deserve to know the truth about history and Columbus. Adults who make books for kids should know the facts and get them right. On the cover of the Math in Focus workbook, it says Marshall Cavendish Education is a “world class program” and a “consistent top performer in international studies.” We can’t believe this is right because of the mistake on page 52. Don’t they know Columbus never landed in America?

 

We want Marshall Cavendish Education to fix the mistake! We hope you will help us get this mistake fixed. Please sign our petition if you agree with us. Thank you.

After putting up a website with the petition, it became noticed by news agencies and eventually came to the attention of CBS Evening News!  The Oneonta School District has reported how filming went on their website.  Needless to say, the students were nervous to be seen on national television but very excited at the same time.  I daresay that this experience for Dr. Sider's students may have taught them a valuable lesson in empowerment and creating positive change in the world.  A job well done Mr. Sider!

If you would like to watch the news segment on this story, it is expected to air on CBS Evening News some time over the next few weeks. If we get more specific information, we'll be sure to pass it along to you.

Check out photos of the filming courtesy of The Oneonta School District below...

Credit: Jake Palmateer
Credit: Jake Palmateer
Credit: Jake Palmateer
Credit: Jake Palmateer