Located 7 miles from downtown Boston, Newton is part of a patchwork quilt of Massachusetts communities that trace their origin to the earliest days of the 13 original colonies.
Allegations of "stonewalling" by school administrators and selectively edited public records are at the heart of a lawsuit involving the Newton school district filed in August. According to local Newton news site newton.wickedlocal.com, the controversy began seven years ago when Newton resident Tony Pagliuso's teenage daughter brought home a social studies assignment that alleged "hundreds" of Palestinian women had been tortured and killed by Israeli defense forces.
The text Pagliuso's daughter had been assigned, the "Arab World Studies Notebook," was a "supplemental" textbook of the kind that are sold directly to teachers at seminars and workshops, bypassing public scrutiny. Title VI of the Higher Education Act requires federally subsidized Middle Eastern studies centers to engage in "outreach programs." Outreach coordinators at federally funded universities design lesson plans for K-12 teachers. Teachers from various public school systems in Massachusetts have trustingly turned to Harvard's outreach program for help in creating lesson plans for their students.
The leader of Harvard's outreach center on Middle Eastern studies at the time was Paul Beran, an alleged supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
In an interview with the Washington Free Beacon, Karen Hurvitz, an attorney representing the Newton taxpayers who brought the suit, stated: "For months now, dozens of Newton citizens have come before the school committee to complain about the non-objective, anti-Jewish, and Islamic religious lessons, as well as about Superintendent David Fleishman, who has refused to stop it being taught. Yet the names of all these citizens and summaries of what they said were deliberately omitted from the school committee meeting minutes month after month."
A press release issued by Education Without Indoctrination accuses Newton schools of using "unvetted educational materials" funded by the Saudi oil company ARAMCO and Qatar. "As a result, Newton public school students are propagandized with materials that slander Israel and the Jewish people, and that falsify history to promote the Islamic religion in public schools," the release states.
Washington Times columnist Bethany Blankley reported in 2015 that Qatar, Libya and Saudi Arabia have funding ties to Common Core. Blankley reports university teacher training materials were developed by Pearson Education, which was funded largely by the Libyan Investment Authority.