Wednesday, November 07, 2007

If history provides a foundation of knowledge...

... then some of today's kids are going to be building their opinions on cracked bricks if we and they aren't careful, it seems to me. That's if the contents of this email I got from Terri S. Leo are any guide:

Rewriting History – An Erosion of Our Standards
By Mike Pearce

The great Roman historian Tacitus once penned, “This I regard as history's highest function, to let no worthy action be uncommemorated, and to hold out the reprobation of posterity as a terror to evil words and deeds.” In short, we owe it to ourselves to respect and honor our history.

But today in Texas schools, the study of our history is under assault by academic elites and education bureaucrats under the guise of multiculturalism and political correctness. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has developed college readiness standards for the high school curriculum. These proposed standards abandon the instruction of traditional history and replace it with vague feel-good “diverse human perspectives and experiences.” Texas parents must take a stand against this erosion and demand that our history be taught as it really happened.

America’s greatest generation, our World War II veterans are dying at a rate of 1,000 per day. But you won’t find mention of them or their heroic deeds in the proposed social science standards. What you will find is a recommendation that our students explain the impact of World War II on the African-American and Mexican-American Civil Rights Movements, how the policies changed our economy, and whether the decision to drop the atomic bombs was correct. Our high school students will now study the impact of WW II, but not the War itself.

There are no recommendations on how industrialization led to the betterment of mankind. Instead, students must evaluate the impact of the Industrial Revolution and rapid urbanization “on the environment”. Where is the standard that asks one to evaluate the quality of life in America before and after industrialization? Our scholars in high school will be figuring out much deeper problems, like “how climate change might affect the US economy.” So, the Industrial Revolution is out and global warming is in.

Not yet convinced? The standards have no mention of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, or the Magna Carta. But what did make the list was a recommendation that students listen to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and summarize 5 main points. While King’s historic speech is very worthy of study, so are many other monumental events.

What the standards do is to provide an “approach” to questions under the guise of trying to make the students believe that they are developing their own conclusions. It is the belief of the academic elite that the “broad” should be substituted for the “narrow”; and they set the parameters of academic importance. You will not find a standard that asks students to learn about the beautiful melting pot that is America; but our students will study “xenophobia and its impact on immigration policies in the United States.” Our students will not be learning about the Judeo-Christian values that were the foundation of our nation; but our students will “analyze how conflicting religious values create social conflict in local communities.” Students will not learn about how the United States has stood as a beacon of liberty for the world, but they will learn about various important civil rights cases, including Lawrence v. Texas which mandated an end to anti-sodomy laws.

There were few things I enjoyed more about teaching American history than covering the Declaration of Independence. From the philosophy of John Locke to the poetic words of Thomas Jefferson; from the faith in the idea that men had divine rights rather than mere secular ones, to the notion that liberty was an institution for which all men yearned. Now, under these proposed standards, our children will no longer hear any of that. Instead, they will “analyze the Declaration of Independence from the perspective of men and women, and people of Native American, European, and African descent.” In other words, The Declaration of Independence was merely a document wrought with chauvinism, racism, and could just as easily be viewed as a “declaration of treason” by the British.

Texas parents must stand up to this erosion of our historical standards now. The Higher Education Coordinating Board is accepting public comments online now through December 10th at In the words of Tacitus, “Noble character is best appreciated in those ages in which it can most readily develop.” We must teach our students integrity, leadership and character and use the heroic figures in our history as models. If we allow the purveyors of political correctness to re-write our history, we sentence our greatest patriots to death through their expulsion from our history books.

Michael Pearce taught history and social studies for 10 years in Texas schools. He is the founder of MVP Education Products, a computer-based education curriculum for history students.

Terri Leo

State Board of Education District #6

...[ed. note: she included her address and phone number here]...

Now, I'm a firm believer in the ability of kids to eventually overcome a bad education, especially if they learn to read enough books that wouldn't pass muster with the PC police, and otherwise discover the joys of feeding their mind with quality ideas, pertinent facts, and plain, old-fashioned inspiration. But, of course, I'd rather they have a good education in the first place.

I do have hope, folks, if for no other reason than I've seen a fair number of teens and twenty-somethings buying history books and classics and non-PC books in our bookstore. They know they've been shortchanged, if nothing else. They're starved for their heritage. Their real heritage. Some of them know they've been handed counterfeit. I wish there were more of them, but I assure you there are some smart and savvy young folks out there who are determined not to be conned or led around by the nose by the 'multiculturalism' crowd. It's a start.

Not to put you on the spot, or anything like that (she types, knowing full well she hopes to put you on the spot ;), what have you done lately to help someone else learn enough history or perspective to have a fighting chance of recognizing nonsense or propaganda when it's handed to him or her as something else?

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