February 20, 2015

Conservatives want to brainwash kids

Conservatives are trying to indoctrinate our youth in many ways. Every argument about teaching evolution or school prayer or the Pledge of Allegiance is about this. So are the attempts to politicize the textbook selection process or to ban ethnic studies as "divisive."

Lately, conservatives are trying to brainwash kids by straight-up changing the curriculum to emphasize Christianity and capitalism. Or by eliminating education altogether.

The latest examples of this:

Will Right-Wing Extremist Documentary Be Required Viewing in Florida?

By Tanya H. LeeD’Souza answers the charge of genocide this way: “In the two centuries after Columbus, the Native American population declined by 80 percent. But it wasn’t due to warfare. Rather, as historian William McNeil points out, they contracted diseases—measles, typhus, smallpox, cholera and malaria, to which they had no immunities. Now this is tragedy on a grand scale, but it’s not genocide because genocide implies an intention to wipe out a people.”

ICTMN asked three university professors to respond. Dr. James Riding In, Pawnee, associate professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University, says:

“D’Souza does not understand what genocide is. There is a UN convention that was adopted in 1948 that defines genocide. What the declaration on genocide says is that it’s the killing of members of a group… or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group…[or] inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part… [or] imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group and forcibly transferring children to another group.

“All of these things happened to Indians. Yes, a lot of Indians died of disease and the population of the Americas declined over 90 percent after the arrival of Europeans. A big part of that population decline is attributed to disease, but there were survivors.

“Those survivors were trying to hold on to their culture, their beliefs, their way of life, their philosophies about life that had been developed in the distant past and were supposed to continue on indefinitely. What United States colonialism did was disrupt the future of Indigenous Peoples.”

Riding In notes, “U.S. policy was genocide. It was designed, to use the jargon of the time, to kill the savage and save the man. Well, there was a lot of killing of the man along the way. And women. And children.”

Oklahoma’s demented fight against AP history

A new bill would fight teaching "what's bad about America"

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
It may not be true that history is written by the victors, but in certain places, they’re making a hell of an effort to make sure it’s at least taught by them. In Oklahoma this week, a legislative committee took aim at Advanced Placement U.S. History classes in public schools.

House Bill 1380, introduced by Republican Rep. Dan Fisher, would “give sole control of curriculum and assessment to the state,” with particular regard to Advanced Placement classes offered for students to earn college credit. Fisher happens to be a member of the ominously named Black Robe Regiment, a group whose aims include “To educate all people and restore to its rightful place the Church in America (indeed, the entire earth)” and “To provide educational materials for use in the Church and for the American Public to restore our American History and the History of the American Church, so as to restore what has been lost by way of deception and historical revision.” Fisher claims the AP curriculum emphasizes “what is bad about America” and neglects the concept of “American exceptionalism.” College Board representative John Williamson, meanwhile, calls Fisher’s objections “mythology and not true.”

The simplistic notion that kids need to be taught “exceptionalism,” a pervasive and often flat out inaccurate, bathed-in-glory vision of American superiority, has led to multiple educational skirmishes over the past few years. In Colorado last year, a Board of Education member took issue with AP History’s “overly negative view” of slavery, noting, “Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today!” In North Carolina this past December, the State Board of Education held a debate over the AP US History course’s omission of exceptionalism in its 70 page framework. Similar battles over educational “ideological bias” and the “negative aspects” of history have waged in Georgia and South Carolina.

Ignorance is bad for everybody. It only lowers the collective IQ when lawmakers still push to teach “intelligent design.” It similarly should never be a matter of any dispute that the Inquisition and the Crusades were bad ideas, and to take offense over pointing that out is inane. Likewise, these targeted, strategic attempts to force students—students who are intellectually sophisticated enough to take on college level coursework—to accept a propaganda-based curriculum is detrimental to critical thought as a whole. It should be absurd to promote any educational agenda that pushes jingoism as a lesson plan. It should never have gotten this far. And the reality of life in the 21st century is that we are sharing this planet with the rest of its inhabitants. It’s not just dumb and wrong to teach kids that we’re better than the rest of the world, and to attempt to conspicuously leave our past misdeeds from lessons—it’s bad diplomacy and it’s bad business. That’s not teaching exceptionalism; it’s teaching entitlement—not a useful quality on the global playing field.

There’s a profound insecurity at the heart of any agenda that presumes that if kids aren’t spoon fed a black and white fairy tale of our national greatness, they’ll have no pride or loyalty. Arrogance isn’t patriotism, and education isn’t indoctrination. And anyone who doesn’t comprehend that difference doesn’t just need a history lesson, he needs a dictionary.
Fox Host: 'There Really Shouldn't Be Public Schools' Anymore

By Ahiza GarciaFox host Lisa "Kennedy" Montgomery suggested getting rid of the nation's public schools during a discussion on Thursday's "Outnumbered."

Kennedy's comments came during a segment about an Oklahoma bill, approved by a House committee, that seeks to eliminate AP US History. The bill asserts that the current iteration of the course doesn't show "American exceptionalism," instead highlighting "what is bad about America."

"There really shouldn't be public schools, should there?" Kennedy said. "I mean we should really go to a system where parents of every stripe have a choice, have a say in the kind of education their kids get because, when we have centralized, bureaucratic education doctrines and dogmas like this, that's exactly what happens."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Christian Curriculum Praises Trail of Tears, What Conservatives Consider Objective History, and Ethnic History Corrects American History.

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