American History Curriculum

Donald Trump’s Attack On Truth, Facts, Knowledge Leads To An Alternative History And Science, Detrimental To America And Its Future!

Donald Trump has mounted an attack on truth, facts, knowledge, and in so doing, it has led to an alternative history and science, detrimental to America and its future.

His ignorance on both history and science undermines the future of American education, as we see distortion of both areas of knowledge being advocated as reality, when it is just the opposite. The fact that Betsy DeVos is Secretary of Education only undermines true education in history and science, as well as in other areas of the curriculum.

We also see a large number of Trump supporters in the Republican Party and the conservative movement attacking the nature of, and need for, higher education.

This is all part of a plan to promote ignorance, propaganda, and disdain for educated people, and that kind of trend endangers the long term future of the nation, as other countries surpass us in the competition for educated people to deal with the future of the world economy.

The attack on how American history is taught is an alarm bell, reviving the old focus on only white male accomplishments in government and the economy. We have been enriched by teaching and analyzing about the role of minorities, women, and working people in our American history curriculum, on both the public school and college and university level.

The attack on science promotes Christian doctrine, and denies evolution, climate science, environmental protection as important, instead promoting preposterous theories on the age of the earth, and the concept that there is no need to protect the earth and its natural wonders for the long term future, only focusing on profit and capitalism for the present, and ignoring the long term implications. The fact that Ryan Zinke is our Secretary of the Interior, and Scott Pruitt is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency is tragic in so many dimensions.

The struggle to fight the Donald Trump emphasis on alternative truth, which are simply lies, must be continued, no matter how arduous the battle!

What We Should Celebrate About Thomas Jefferson On His 267th Birthday!

Today, April 13, is the 267th Birthday of Thomas Jefferson, our most brilliant President, and one of the greatest of all the Founding Fathers!

This is the man who wrote the primary draft of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which promoted his basic principle of separation of church and state.

This is the man who helped to found a political party opposition, the Democratic Republicans, in the 1790s.

This is the man who promoted a philosophy called “liberal” at the time, but is now seen as “conservatism”–limited national government and strict interpretation of the Constitution. However, as President, he abandoned much of this concept and endorsed Alexander Hamilton’s stronger national government and broad interpretation of the Constitution!

This is the man who served as Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to France, Secretary of State, Vice President, and President (1801-1809), and doubled our land via the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 from Napoleon’s France.

This is the man who kept us at peace when he realized that we could not defeat the nation he had long despised, Great Britain. I am referring to the Chesapeake Affair.

This is also the man who owned slaves, and was always a maze of contradictions, which has made interpreting him extremely difficult. One can both agree and disagree with what he said and did.

But what one cannot do, legitimately, is decide to write Thomas Jefferson out of the textbooks of history, or to knock him down to a minor role in American history, which unfortunately, is what the Texas Board of Education has been doing in its once a decade review of what should be taught and emphasized in the publication of new textbooks for students. It is a disgraceful distortion of history, and really promoting lies and myths, to deny the greatness of our third President!

We must continue to honor the man whose memorial stands proudly on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC! While not perfect by any means, there is no debate that Thomas Jefferson was a GREAT man who deserves our respect and consideration as a major factor in American history!

The Texas State Board Of Education And Distortion Of American History!

The Texas State Board of Education is attempting to distort the story of American History and to establish a right wing version, and just at a time when membership of the Board is changing! Textbook decisions that affect not just Texas, but the whole nation, due to the large number of students in the Lone Star State, which encourages textbook publishers to tend to follow Texas standards of what should be taught in the publication of nationwide textbooks, endangers history education as we know it!

The conservatives want to emphasize the free enterprise system; organized religion; the conservative resurgence in politics in the 1980s and 1990s; and the role of pressure groups such as the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.

They also want to deemphasize the New Deal and Great Society; the civil rights movement; treatment of American foreign policy as imperialistic; and take such people as Ralph Nader and Ross Perot out of the curriculum and promote the significance of Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson on an even keel with Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant!

The role of racial and religious minorities would be toned down, and the concept of American as a Christian nation would be promoted. The concept that the federal government regulation and intervention is evil would also be emphasized, and the significance of the new Tea Party Movement would be taught.

This attempt by the Right in Texas is a plan to propagandize their version of history, a totally distorted view that any American historian, and really any educated, open minded person outside of the history field, would condemn! This is an attempt at brainwashing to promote the views of an elite that already has distorted science, and will not stop until people of principle step up and fight for freedom of thought, rather than distorted views of the history of our nation!

Yes, we can mention a lot of what the Texas State Board of Education has proposed in the curriculum, but NOT at the expense of alternative views and free inquiry! The historical associations (the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians), and local and regional historical associations, and universities, museums and historical societies, need to unite against this attempt to destroy and distort history education and knowledge by these right wing extremist activists in Texas!

New Right Wing Mind Control Attempt: Not Just Evolution But Now American History!

It is well known that right wing conservatives have been working for a long time to promote religion over science, as is most evident in their denial of evolution and promotion of “intelligent design”, which is a new title for “creationism”. This has permeated many educational systems across the country, most notably in the state of Kansas.

But a new move by these right wing extremists is to attempt to change the story of American history–that is to promote that America is a perfect nation with no weaknesses nor faults nor mistakes in its past, and that it is far superior to all other nations on the globe. Also, that all children should learn about significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, but no equivalent liberal groups or persons. This perception of the American past was attempted years ago in Lake County, Florida, until fortunately the school board that had decided on this propagandistic approach, was defeated, and sanity returned to that county’s educational curriculum.

This right wing promotion is a denial of the massacre of native Americans, the racism and degradation of African Americans during the era of slavery and since, the discrimination visited against various immigrant groups in American history, the mistreatment by corporations of the American working force, the second class citizenship for a long time of American womanhood, the denial of civil liberties on a regular basis in America’s past, the manipulation of public opinion which has often led us into many wars and overseas adventures, and the role of dissenters in taking a moral stand against many injustices throughout our nation’s history.

It is not the issue of “badmouthing” America’s past, as there is much to applaud and praise in the experiment of our American republic. But students need to learn the entire “truth”, good and bad, rather than a sanitized version.

This conservative attempt to propagandize their version of American history is taking place in Texas, the state of Rick Perry, the governor who spoke about “secession” this past spring. The problem is that Texas, along with California, have the most students, and so if the state educational curriculum is slanted in favor of textbooks that promote a right wing view of history, most publishers will be forced, by pure percentage of students in that state, to divert their resources to a view of the past that will sell their textbooks to public and private schools across America, to avoid loss of profits.

The realization of what is about to happen early in 2010 must be brought to light and fought intensely, as the future threat of propagandizing America’s students is facing us, just at a time when the Obama Presidency offers new hope of a different internal and external vision of America after the tragedy of the Bush years!