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Oxford to Students Radicals: “Education is not Indoctrination.”

Cecil Rhodes Empire Builder

Cecil Rhodes Empire Builder

 

(Editor: www.thereportcard.org Lord Patten, Chancellor of 900 year old Oxford University, defended the statue and the heritage of Cecil Rhodes against calls by student radicals to tear it down. Cecil Rhodes, founder of the Rhodes Scholarship, builder of the Kimberley Diamond Mines, and East African British Colonial Empire builder is of a type that is no longer fashionable in the halls of academe. Like their counterparts in America, student radicals want to rewrite history more to their liking. Unlike university administrators in America, Lord Patten, former Governor of Hong Kong, has a spine. He said: “institutions where freedom of argument and debate should be unchallenged principles”.

He warned: “One thing we should never tolerate is intolerance. We do not want to turn our university into a drab, bland, suburb of the soul where the diet is intellectual porridge.”

 

Adding: “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudices.”

We wonder where such leadership exists within America’s halls of Ivy).

London Daily Telegraph

 

Lord Patten defends Oxford’s historical relationship with Cecil Rhodes saying that many of its scholars depended on activities now seen to be ‘unacceptable.’

 

Oxford University cannot rewrite history to pander to “contemporary views and prejudices”, its chancellor has warned.

Lord Patten, the former Conservative chairman, defended Oxford’s historical relationship with Cecil Rhodes saying that many of the university’s scholars depended on activities that would be “unacceptable” in the modern world.

Oxford has faced a growing campaign, led by a South African student, to remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College as part of a drive to distance the university and its curriculum from Britain’s colonial past.

 

The college has agreed to review the Rhodes statue leading to a wave of international criticism amid wider fears that universities are being undermined by political correctness.

In their first public comments on the furore both Lord Patten and the new vice-chancellor of Oxford University said that free speech was important but that history could not be rewritten.

Speaking as Professor Louise Richardson was installed as the 272nd vice-chancellor in Oxford’s history – the first woman to take the helm at the world’s second-oldest university – Lord Patten of Barnes said universities were “institutions where freedom of argument and debate should be unchallenged principles”.

He warned: “One thing we should never tolerate is intolerance. We do not want to turn our university into a drab, bland, suburb of the soul where the diet is intellectual porridge.”

 

Adding: “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudices.

“Because we value tolerance, we have to listen to people who shout – at a university, mark you – about speech crimes and ‘no platforming’. We have to listen to those who presume that they can re-write history within the confines of their own notion of what is politically, culturally and morally correct.”

Lord Patten, the former Governor of Hong Kong and chairman of the BBC Trust, pointed out that many Oxford scholars depended upon funding from activities that would be “unacceptable” in the modern world.

Many of the university’s “great buildings” were constructed using the “proceeds of activities that would be rightly condemned today”, he added.

Professor Richardson backed the view that university students should be exposed to uncomfortable views, and criticised attempts by student campaigners to censor free speech.

In her address she said: “How do we ensure that they appreciate the value of engaging with ideas they find objectionable, trying through reason to change another’s mind, while always being open to changing their own? How do we ensure that our students understand the true nature of freedom of inquiry and expression?”

 

Professor Richardson, the former vice-chancellor at St Andrews University, said universities should be places where students are encouraged to think “critically” in light of a push from students to create “safe spaces” at institutions.

She said: “If we can provide leaders for tomorrow who have been educated to think critically, to act ethically and always to question, these are the people who will prevent the next financial crisis; who will help us grapple with the fundamental questions prompted by the accelerating pace of technological change, as we confront profound ethical choices about the prolongation and even replication of life.”

 

Last month The Telegraph highlighted how many American universities are being ruled by political correctness. It was revealed that students at Harvard had asked for rape law to be dropped from lectures in case any students had been victims of sexual assault.

The issue of political correctness has since spread to the UK with a number of people, including Germaine Greer, and and objects such as pop songs and sombreros banned from campuses.

 

The issue of freedom of speech being curtailed has been raised by scholars and activists. Last month, leading British professors wrote to the the Daily Telegraph to condemned campus censorship of anything that causes the least offence.
The letter said a whole generation of students is being denied the “intellectual challenge of debating conflicting views” because self-censorship is turning campuses into over-sanitised “safe spaces”.

Their intervention emerged as Oriel College considered removing a historic statue of Cecil Rhodes, one of its alumni and benefactors, because he is regarded as the founding father of colonial South Africa.

A senior source at Historic England, which will be consulted if the college decides to remove the statue, has suggested its removal would be nearly impossible because of the intricate relationship with the architecture and history of the listed building where it sits.

 

Professor Richardson, the first woman to hold the post of Vice-Chancellor at Oxford, spoke as she was admitted to office at a ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre, in front of Congregation, the University’s parliament.

The Chancellor of Oxford University has said that “ill-considered actions” in the name of social mobility “may cast doubt on the ability of some who study” at elite universities “to gain a place… on their own merits”.

He said: “We know we have a role to play in enhancing social inclusion in Britain.

“We know that we have to be even more resourceful and generous in promoting diversity in social background, gender, race and ethnicity.

“But we should not be harried into ill-considered actions that threaten the quality of what and how we teach; actions moreover which may cast doubt on the ability of some who study here to gain a place at this university on their own merits.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Common Core Publisher Makes Money When Kids Fail

 

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(Editor: www.thereportcard.org Pearson, the notorious Common Core textbook publisher and Common Core testing developer is forcing students to re-take tests for profit. According to Alan Singer of Hofstra University Pearson’s profits are all from student exam fees, which means Pearson makes its money when students fail. According to UUP Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler “This means Pearson has little incentive to fix flawed exams, since they profit when students take and retake them. With four new teacher certification exams in New York State administered by Pearson, students can spend up to $1,000 or more to take and retake tests.” Pearson, their flawed biased textbook, unethical sales practices and damaging testing processes should be barred as a supplier to public schools).

 

By Alan Singer Hofstra University

 

New York State, in partnership with Pearson Education, is making it increasingly harder and more expensive to become a teacher without evidence that their demands and tests will improve education in the state. Last April Governor Cuomo smuggled a requirement into the state budget without discussion or input from professional educators arbitrarily mandating that students admitted to Schools of Education have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate grade point average and take a nationally normed test. No one demonstrated that a 3.1 GPA makes you a better teacher than someone with a 2.9 GPA or how the tests align with performance as a teacher.

In addition, New York State requires that certification candidates complete four other exams either created or administered by Pearson. Three are written exams and one involves a complex portfolio submission. New York State has already been cited twice by a federal court for racial bias in its teacher certification requirements because of the “unlawful disparate impact” of its teacher certification exams.

The portfolio part of the teacher certification requirement is known as the edTPA. edTPA was created at Stanford University by a sub-division called SCALE and is administered and graded by Pearson. Essentially SCALE, Pearson, and New York State decided to replace student teacher evaluations by university field supervisors and cooperating teachers with an electronic portfolio, supposedly to ensure higher standards. The SCALE/Pearson edTPA electronic portfolio includes lesson planning, a discussion of student teaching placement sites, videos of candidates interacting with K-12 students, their personal assessment of the lesson, and documentation of student learning. While each piece by itself makes sense, the package, which focuses on just three lessons and can be sixty pages long, takes so much time to complete that it detracts from the ability of student teachers to learn what they are supposed to learn, which is how to be effective beginning teachers who connect with students and help students achieve.

 

New York State United University Professions, the union that represents faculty at the State University of New York, has been trying to understand the reasoning behind these exams. They submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the State Education Department so they could evaluate the state’s teaching certification exam contract with Pearson. The original response from the state was a useless document, heavily redacted. It was nearly 75% blacked-out including 25 entire pages. UUP appealed and finally received a copy of the Pearson contract with most of the information visible.

Now we know what New York State and Pearson were trying to hide.

New York does not pay Pearson to develop and administer the teacher certification exams. Pearson’s profits are all from student exam fees, which means Pearson makes its money when students fail. According to UUP Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler “This means Pearson has little incentive to fix flawed exams, since they profit when students take and retake them. With four new teacher certification exams in New York State administered by Pearson, students can spend up to $1,000 or more to take and retake tests.”

UUP wants to stop Pearson and other for-profit testing companies from making money off of students by charging and recharging to take mandatory exams. Instead, the State Education Department should pay companies to develop tests and collect the administration fees from students.

Judge Kimba Wood of the Federal District Court in Manhattan through out earlier New York State teacher certification exams developed by a Pearson subsidy as “racially discriminatory.” I do not know the legal grounds she can use, but teachers and students need her to act again. Pearson! Pearson! Pearson! Pearson! Why does anybody have anything to do with this company?

I thank Diane Ravitch for bring this to my attention. Anyone ambitious enough can read the actual New York State Pearson contract. I am sending this post to Pearson officials. Let’s see if they respond.

 

 

 

 

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Support Florida SB 1018-Stop Rotten Textbooks

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By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org

In 2014, Gov. Scott signed SB 864 into law. It was an excellent bill that took power away from Tallahassee educrats and placed it in the hands of local parents and citizens. It was supposed to:

  • Assign each school board the constitutional responsibility to select and provide adequate instructional materials.
  • Require each district to create a transparent review policy/process allowing parents to review instructional materials and raise objections if the material was not accurate or was objectionable.
  • Allow School districts to implement their own selection and purchase programs as an alternative to buying from the State approved lists.

Florida State Rep. Marlene O’Toole watered down the bill so local school boards could operate in secret. She continues to fight SB 1018 because she apparently favors the textbook companies. It is NO secret that there are many textbooks that are dishonest about American History, pornographic and have a pro-Islam, anti Christian bias. Keith Flaugh of Florida Citizens Alliance has provide some examples of rotten textbooks that are currently in the classroom:

At Gulf Coast High School in AP English, the syllabus requires the kids to read:

Angela’s Ashes, which includes alcoholism, marital infidelity, abandonment, promiscuity, and masturbation.

They are required to read the article “Shitty First Drafts”.

They read “Bullet in the Brain”, a story about a man’s last thoughts as a bullet enters his brain.

They also read “Body Rituals among the Nacirema” (Indians) which discusses sadism, masochism, defecating in front of others, obsessing about breast size, and customs concerning intercourse.

Here is an example of 6th grade summer school reading from Collier County. Warning: it contains foul language and pornography:

Beautiful Bastard, Author: Christina Lauren
“He leaned close enough to bite my shoulder, whispering, ‘You fucking tease.” Unable to get close enough, I quickened my pace on his zipper, shoving his pants and his boxers to the floor. I gave his cock a hard squeeze, feeling him pulse against my palm. He forced my skirt up my thighs and pushed me back on the conference table. Before I could utter a single word, he took hold of my ankles, grabbed his cock, and took a step forward, thrusting deep inside me. I couldn’t even be horrified by the loud moan I let out – he felt better than anything. ‘What’s that?’ he hissed through his clenched teeth, his hips slapping against my thighs, driving him deep inside. ‘Never been fucked like this before, have you? You wouldn’t be such a tease if you were being properly fucked.

 

Out of Many: Authors: Faragher, Buhle, Czitrom, Armitage   Publisher: Pearson Lee County

The book has 4 authors so we don’t know who wrote any of it. One author, Buhle, has a background showing extreme left bias. She authored “Women and American Socialism,” “Feminism and its Discontents, “ “A Century of Struggle with Psychoanalysis” and is the co-editor of the “Encyclopedia of the American Left.” Armitage also has that bias. They all seem to focus on the negative aspects of American history, class struggles, oppression and prejudice, rather than the hope, opportunity and justice of America.

This is confirmed by the review of this book in the College Board Web Site itself, which says, ‘Teachers considering the purchase of Out of Many should be aware that the book has become part of the textbook culture wars. Traditionalists who want democracy and free enterprise presented more favorably are bothered by what they see at left-leaning texts that pay too much attention to the dark side of American history. These individuals put Out of Many in this category.”

SB 1018, co sponsored by Sen. Gaetz will plug the loopholes and ensure that school district give parents the opportunity to vet textbooks before they are placed in front of out kids.

 

 

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The Real Thanksgiving Story

 

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(Editor: www.thereportcard Nathaniel Morton recorded the account of William Bradford of the journey of the Pilgrims, our courageous founders. Although they are much maligned on campus, and in the mainstream media, they gave true meaning and texture to what became the First Amendment. One cannot read these words and fail to understand what makes us exceptional and the hope of the world.  The Wall Street Journal has printed this chronicle and editorial since 1961, and everyone, particularly young Americans should learn it by heart).

 

The Desolate Wilderness

 

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other’s heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

 

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

 

And The Fair Land

 

Any one whose labors take him into the far reaches of the country, as ours lately have done, is bound to mark how the years have made the land grow fruitful.

This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.

And a traveler cannot but be struck on his journey by the thought that this country, one day, can be even greater. America, though many know it not, is one of the great underdeveloped countries of the world; what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

So the visitor returns thankful for much of what he has seen, and, in spite of everything, an optimist about what his country might be. Yet the visitor, if he is to make an honest report, must also note the air of unease that hangs everywhere.

For the traveler, as travelers have been always, is as much questioned as questioning. And for all the abundance he sees, he finds the questions put to him ask where men may repair for succor from the troubles that beset them.

His countrymen cannot forget the savage face of war. Too often they have been asked to fight in strange and distant places, for no clear purpose they could see and for no accomplishment they can measure. Their spirits are not quieted by the thought that the good and pleasant bounty that surrounds them can be destroyed in an instant by a single bomb. Yet they find no escape, for their survival and comfort now depend on unpredictable strangers in far-off corners of the globe.

How can they turn from melancholy when at home they see young arrayed against old, black against white, neighbor against neighbor, so that they stand in peril of social discord. Or not despair when they see that the cities and countryside are in need of repair, yet find themselves threatened by scarcities of the resources that sustain their way of life. Or when, in the face of these challenges, they turn for leadership to men in high places—only to find those men as frail as any others.

 

So sometimes the traveler is asked whence will come their succor. What is to preserve their abundance, or even their civility? How can they pass on to their children a nation as strong and free as the one they inherited from their forefathers? How is their country to endure these cruel storms that beset it from without and from within?

Of course the stranger cannot quiet their spirits. For it is true that everywhere men turn their eyes today much of the world has a truly wild and savage hue. No man, if he be truthful, can say that the specter of war is banished. Nor can he say that when men or communities are put upon their own resources they are sure of solace; nor be sure that men of diverse kinds and diverse views can live peaceably together in a time of troubles.

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere—in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.

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U of M Students: “Ban Jefferson Statue, He’s Racist”

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(Editor: www.thereportcard.org students at the University of Missouri in the latest politically correct outrage  have called on administrators to remove a statue of founding father Thomas Jefferson, suggesting in a petition and during a recent protest that the campus sculpture is offensive, oppressive, and celebrates a “racist rapist.” Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and third president of the United States, is considered one of the most brilliant of American statesman. He was a slaveholder, but considered slavery an evil and was conflicted on how to end it. However, the moral purists that seem to dominate campuses these days, cannot bear to look upon any flaws in American historical leader. Thus today Columbus Day, Christopher Columbus is the target of campus derision for polluting the purity of native American’s lifestyle. Jefferson was an advocate for liberty in an age when slavery was a universal condition in the world. If we continue to purge history of any American who had human flaws, there will be few people to discuss).

 

 

The College Fix

Removing statue ‘will help cure the emotional and psychological strain of history.’

Some students at the University of Missouri have called on administrators to remove a statue of founding father Thomas Jefferson, suggesting in a petition and during a recent protest that the campus sculpture is offensive, oppressive, and celebrates a “racist rapist.”

“Thomas Jefferson’s statue sends a clear nonverbal message that his values and beliefs are supported by the University of Missouri. Jefferson’s statue perpetuates a sexist-racist atmosphere that continues to reside on campus,” states the Change.org petition. “…Removing Jefferson’s statue alone will not eliminate the racial problems we face in America today, but it will help cure the emotional and psychological strain of history.”

The petition was launched two months ago by student Maxwell Little, who told the Missourian he and his peers were inspired in part by the success of the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue from the University of Texas.

To drum up support for their effort, the students last week held a protest of

sorts under the hashtag #postyourstateofmind that targeted the statue, and “throughout the day, students covered the Jefferson statue … with sticky notes displaying messages such as, ‘racist,’ ‘rapist,’ ‘slave owner’ and ‘misogynist,’” the Missourian reports.

 

The petition lists a parade of grievances against Jefferson, including that he “urged freedom for all and TALKED about the abolition of slavery, but never practiced democracy a day in his life,” that he “believed that both black and white individuals, equally free, could not live under the same government,” and that he “raped 16 year old Sally Hemings, a young innocent house slave.”

As of Sunday night, the petition had 70 signatures, but not all students support the statue’s removal. “Multiple people tried to remove the sticky notes from the statue,” the Missourian noted.

And in a statement to The College Fix, the president of Mizzou’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, Ian Paris, said he and his group feel the call to remove the statue represents “misplaced anger.”

“To begin, we find it fallacious to require that all historical figures to be judged by contemporary standards,” Paris, a political science major, said in an email to The Fix. “By this we mean that the fact that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves does not discredit him as an advocate for liberty in early America.”

RELATED: Southern author: Banishing Confederate relics ‘a danger to the preservation and study of history’

Paris also noted Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence equated slavery to a “cruel war against human nature.”

“While this may not excuse him from his actions, we feel it is important to fully understand the depth of Jefferson’s character before students demand we rewrite history in a style that is less upsetting to some,” Paris said.

Paris added the statue simply represents an “attempt to remember the history of our nation in its entirety, rather than at the discretion of the most easily offended.”

“Any attempt to change that would be a disservice, not only to the memory of one of the greatest men in the history of our nation, but to the University of Missouri as well,” he said.

The statue has been on campus since 2001, commissioned and paid for by the MU Jefferson Club, the Maneater campus newspaper reports.

 

“He was a strong believer in democracy, and he had a wonderful mind,” then-Chancellor Richard Wallace said of Jefferson during the sculpture’s unveiling. “It holds up scholarship and freedom, the things that are critically important to our institution.”

The Jefferson Club is a group of elite donors and alumni to the University of Missouri, according to the group’s website, which notes “as the first public university west of the Mississippi River, MU identifies strongly with President Thomas Jefferson, founder of the nation’s first public university. Thus, the Jefferson Club is named for President Jefferson.”

 

 

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“Stealth Jihad” Textbook Resurfaces in Brevard, Fl

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(Editor: www.thereportcard.org The notorious Islam-biased “Word History” textbook published by Pearson Prentice Hall has resurfaced in Brevard County Schools. Like vampires of legend, “Word History” refuses to die, except that the textbook is real and not a legend. Described in Citizens for National Security’s study “Islam Biased Textbooks in Florida” the textbook contains 3 paragraphs on Judaism, 4 paragraphs in Christianity, and a full 36-page chapter in Islam. The chapter not only praises Islam, but it is chock full of verses from the Koran, but not a sentence from the Bible. Furthermore, while the book references Mohammed as “God’s messenger” it says that “some believed Jesus to be the Messiah.” The section on Islam is pure indoctrination and should not be allowed in any American school. Anyone wishing a copy of Citizens for National Security’s study on Islam Biased Textbooks in Florida, can visit cfns.us and download it).

 

 

By Todd Starnes

 

The Prentice World History textbook being used in Brevard Public Schools includes a 36-page chapter on Islam but no chapters on Christianity or Judaism.

According to a copy obtained by Fox News, The ninth grade textbook declares that Muhammad is the “Messenger of God” and instructs students that jihad is a duty that Muslims must follow.

“Jihad may be interpreted as a holy war to defend Islam and the Muslim community, much like the Crusades to defend Christianity,” the book states.

The textbook published large passages from the Koran, but failed to include any Scripture from the Bible. And while the book  makes declarations about Muhammad being God’s messenger, it does not make declarations about Jesus being God’s son.

“Some believed he was the messiah,” the textbook noted in an entry about Jesus. The book noted that He was later executed, but failed to mention His resurrection.

Brevard Public Schools defended the textbook and said it provided a balanced view of world religions.

“An analysis of one textbook cannot provide a balanced understanding as to what the students in Brevard Public Schools are learning throughout their academic careers,” spokeswoman Michelle Irwin said in a statement.

 

She said the Prentice Hall World History textbook incorporated a review of the origin of Christianity and Judaism – subjects covered indepth in sixth grade classrooms.

She also pointed out the book was among those approved by the state of Florida and that parents as well as community members were given the opportunity to review the textbook before it was adopted.

The book has been used in the classroom for the past three years without any complaints – until now.

Susan Aspey, a spokeswoman for the book’s publisher, told Fox News the textbook is balanced.

“Pearson and its authors adhere to the highest editorial standards when creating course materials, which undergo a rigorous review process,” she said. “A review of the book shows there is balanced attention given to the beliefs of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

William Saxton, the chairman of Citizens For National Security, testified before the Brevard, Fla. School Board, warning them that the book rewrites Islamic history and presents a biased and incorrect version of the Muslim faith.

“They promote Islam at the expense of Christianity and Judaism,” Saxton told Fox News. “It blew my mind to see the kind of propaganda, the pro-Islam information that’s in this book – at the expense of Christianity and Judaism.”

Saxton said he believes the inclusion is deliberate and he placed the blame an organization that was once called Council on Islamic Education. The group works with education officials and publishers to produce chapters on Islam for American textbooks.

But today, the Council on Islamic Education is known as the Institute on Religious and Civic Values. It’s founder, Shabbir Mansuri, is listed as an academic reviewer on the textbook used in Brevard County.

In 2001 the OC Weekly newspaper in California interviewed Mansuri about comments former Second Lady Lynne Cheney made lamenting the amount of time schools were spending teaching cultures that were not American. Mansuri took her comments as a personal attack.

“For the past 11 years, Mansuri has waged what he calls a ‘bloodless’ revolution: promoting an increased emphasis on world cultures and faiths – including Islam – inside American junior high and high school campuses,” the newspaper reported.

Saxton said he is highly suspicious of Mansuri’s organization and questioned why they changed their name.

“These people are dedicated to getting this language into the textbooks,” he said, noting their new name is “benign and does not sound “threatening or Islamic. “But the same people are running it.”

Saxton said they are hearing from concerned parents across the country – and the complaints have generally been the same: public school textbooks that favor Islam over other world religions.

“It’s a form of stealth jihad,” he said. “(Jihad) is not just blowing up buildings. It’s more subtle. I began to understand that one of the ways the bad guys are trying to threaten our way of life is through our children. The Islamists want to get to the hearts and minds of our kids.”

Saxton’s all-volunteer organization launched a nationwide study in 2009 to root out what they believed to be Islamic bias in American school textbooks. He said they found as many as 80 textbooks that overtly promoted Islam.

Last year, the Citizens For National Security was able to get a similar book removed from the classroom in Palm Beach County.

“In short, you are using an Islam-biased, flawed textbook that has neither partially nor fully been corrected,” he told Brevard County school leaders.

A spokesman for IRCV told Fox News they would agree to an interview but never returned repeated calls.

In 2009 Mansuri found himself facing similar accusations of promoting and glorifying Islam – accusations he strongly denied in an Orange County Register interview.

“IRCV is recognized within the education community for our expertise in teaching about world religions,” he told the newspaper. “This expertise stands from our long-standing interest in religious liberty, religious pluralism and the practice of faith within a civic social framework.”

He blamed the criticism on “children of 9-11,” who were miseducated, the newspaper reported.

Saxton said the Prentice Hall textbook is riddled with errors. He especially took issue with their definition of jihad. The book called it a personal duty for Muslims and a way to defend their faith.

“Violent Islamic groups have used jihad for centuries,” he said. “The 9-11 attacks were an example of jihad as terrorism, not self-defense. Declarations of jihad have been made for purposes of violence against Christians, Jews, Americans, British and fellow Muslims hundreds of times.”

The textbook also alleges that “Muslims consider Jews and Christians to be ‘People of the Book.’”

Saxton said in practice, Jews and Christians have been subjected historically to violence and murder by Muslims.

“Christians and Jews are permitted very few of the rights and freedoms that the Muslim majority is allowed,” he said.

The textbook said under Islamic law women are spiritually equal, although they may have different roles and rights.

“This content is confusing at best and intellectually dishonest at worst,” he said. In Egypt and other Arab countries, women may not be employed in the private sector because they belong in the home. Women are stoned to death under Sharia law in Iran for adultery.”

School Board member Amy Kneessy told Fox News she had a chance to read the textbook and she was especially troubled by the section about how Muslims treat women.

“I was really disheartened,” she said. “To see such a blatant misportrayal of how women are treated in Muslim countries, I found disconcerting.”

Kneessy said there seems to be a double-standard and found evidence of bias in a number of passages – especially when it came to religious wars.

“When wars were involving Jewish people or Christians, some very hard adjectives were used – like ‘massacre,’” she said. “Whereas when it was a Muslim group, it was ‘occupy’ or a very innocuous term.”

She said the school has an obligation to be fair and balanced when teaching history.

“War is never clean and tidy,” she said. “Wars are bloody. People die and bad things happen. The facts need to be reported fairly from all perspectives.”

Kneessy said she plans on asking the entire school board to reevaluate the textbook.

“I am concerned it is more ammunition that continues to water down what this country was founded on,” she said. “This country was founded with Christian values. God was very much a part of our government. When you take the religious context out of it, then you take away the very heart of what this country was founded

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New Report: Problems Remain in College Board US History Framework

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(Editor: www.thereportcard.org The College Board’s first Advanced Placement US History framework brought well deserved brickbats from scholars and citizens who saw the entire portrayal of the history of the US as an anti-American screed. The outcry was so great, that The College Board was forced to revise it. Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars reviewed the new version. He says that improvements are real, but the new version still contains serious errors of omission and accuracy. The new APUSH continues to have a watered-down, tepid explanation of American Exceptionalism and the new version continues to emphasize the value of so-called “social justice issues.” APUSH is not trivial, all history book will be written to be in conformity with APUSH, so perhaps an alternative is needed. You know, competition).

 

 

By Peter Wood National Association of Scholars

 

At its July 2012 national conference, the College Board announced with fanfare the roll out a new Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) “course and exam revisions.”  A 52-page PowerPoint directed to AP teachers extolled the achievement and laid out the schedule.  The “curriculum framework” would be available in October 2012; “workshop consultant training” would begin in spring 2013; and the course would be taught for the first time in fall 2014.

The heralding of a new APUSH was not subtle yet outside the circle of Advanced Placement history teachers, it attracted little notice.  This changed in March 2014 when a retired APUSH teacher, along with a lawyer affiliated with a think tank, the American Principles Project, posted a short article, “New Advanced Placement Framework Distorts America’s History.”  The rhetoric was heated:  “A dramatic, unilateral change is taking place in the content of the College Board’s Advanced Placement U.S. history course.”  And the details were sketchy:

The new Framework inculcates a consistently negative view of the nation’s past. For example, the units on colonial America stress the development of a “rigid racial hierarchy” and a “strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority.” The Framework ignores the United States’ founding principles and their influence in inspiring the spread of democracy and galvanizing the movement to abolish slavery.

I read the article skeptically, but as the head of an organization devoted to academic standards, I felt obliged to weigh the allegations against the actual standards.

The old (pre-2014) standards fit nicely onto five pages and left most of the work of devising a course to the AP teacher.  The 2014 “Course and Exam Description,” by contrast, ran 134 pages, including the detailed explanations of how the new examination would work.  I dug in and found to my surprise that the AP teacher and the lawyer had a point.  But it struck me that the situation was more complicated than their warning flare had suggested.

 

For one thing the 2014 revisions (which for shorthand I will call APUSH 1.0 to distinguish them from the 2015 revisions, APUSH 2.0) conveyed more than “a consistently negative view of the nation’s past.”  That negative view was apparent, but so were two other things.  First, APUSH 1.0 set out an approach to teaching American history that radically downplayed historical content in favor of what its authors called “historical thinking skills.” Second, APUSH 1.0 set out a strong narrative of U.S. history as a story of oppressors and exploiters dominating the oppressed and the exploited.  “Consistently negative” yes; but also tightly organized around teaching a particular interpretation of American history.

My discipline is social anthropology, not history, and while there are parts of APUSH 1.0, such as its treatment of Native Americans, that I could evaluate from an informed scholarly perspective, there were many other parts that I thought should be examined carefully by subject experts.  So I did two things.  I wrote and published a long essay, “The New AP History: A Preliminary Report.”  And I wrote to a fair number of professors of American history asking them to look at APUSH 1.0 for themselves and let me know what they thought.

Here is a condensed account of what happened next.  My “Preliminary Report” and my emails to professors helped to touch off a firestorm of criticism of APUSH 1.0.  The activists, heartened by the show of interest, took their criticisms to a broader audience, which included the Republican National Committee, some local school boards, the Texas State Board of Education, and legislators in several other states.  Stanley Kurtz at the Ethics and Public Policy Center began to publish on National Review Online a series of well-researched articles about the background to the College Board’s decision to release APUSH 1.0.  All of this took place in the late summer and early fall of 2014.  Meanwhile, I began to publish on the NAS website critiques of specific parts of APUSH 1.0 written by the historians I had contacted.

The College Board responded to this firestorm by deriding the critics people who favored jingoistic, flag-waving pseudo-history.  It was a low blow.  We critics were taking history seriously and expected that the College Board, entrusted with maintaining the standards for a high school course taken by nearly 500,000 students each year, would too. The critics had examined the new standards patiently and systematically.  And none of us had called for replacing them with simplistic pieties about the American past. The summit of our criticisms was a public letter to the College Board signed by 122 historians and posted to the National Association of Scholars website, June 2.

 

The College Board found various academic historians to carry its water.  The critics were attacked from such heights as the op-ed pages of The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and such hedgerows as the History News Network.  But after months of this, the College Board abruptly shifted tactics.  It announced that the critics had made some good points and that the College Board would pause, gather comment, and revise APUSH 1.0.  The result—APUSH 2.0—was released July 30, 2015.  It incorporates numerous changes, some of them substantial.

The questions of the hour are:  How substantial?  Should the critics stand down?  What next?

The answers are:  Less substantial than they first appear.  The critics should persist.  And what lies ahead are two roads.  One is the continuing effort to persuade the College Board to improve APUSH.  The other is the effort to develop a viable alternative to APUSH outside the purview of the College Board.

Why should the broader public care about APUSH 1.0 or 2.0?

The half million students who take it include many of our best, brightest, and most ambitious young people.  It is supposed to be a “college level” course and typically substitutes for one.  The ranks of the students who take it include many of the nation’s future leaders.  We should want something better for them than a glib and superficial view of the nation’s past seen through the lens of contemporary identity politics and resentments.  APUSH 2.0 delicately erases the most explicit expressions of this bias in APUSH 1.0.  But APUSH 2.0 is still written from within APUSH 1.0’s Weltanschauung.

What happens in APUSH 2.0 doesn’t stay in APUSH 2.0.  The course itself directly influences how other high school history courses are taught.  The APUSH-aligned textbooks are often used in other courses too.  The College Board’s ambitious reconceptualization of AP history is part of a larger effort.  Already it has issued AP European History standards that are cut from the same cloth as APUSH 1.0, and an AP Government course is soon to come.

The United States is negligently backing into national history standards by way of APUSH.  The College Board and its supporters are perfectly aware of what they are doing.  The creator of the Common Core K-12 State Standards, David Coleman, became the president of the College Board in 2012, promising to align the SATs and the AP courses with Common Core.  Common Core gave us a national curriculum of sorts in mathematics and English.  APUSH extends that project to American history.

Finally, APUSH is less and less a course reserved for the talented few.  The College Board and others have been pushing for laxer enrollment standards. Why should the broader public care? APUSH will soon be the only brand of history on the store shelf.

 

What’s so bad about APUSH 2.0?  Didn’t the College Board make improvements after listening to its critics?

The improvements are real.  APUSH 2.0 includes important individuals (e.g. James Madison) omitted from APUSH 1.0.  It significantly reduces the overexpression of progressive bias (e.g. World War II is no longer presented through the lens of “the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb,” and  President Reagan is no longer characterized as a purveyor of “bellicose rhetoric.”)  And greater attention is given to American inventiveness.

But the problems that remain are deep and systematic.

For example, the term “American exceptionalism,” absent from APUSH 1.0, appears once in APUSH 2.0—though not in a manner that suggests the documents authors understand it very well.  “American exceptionalism” has generally referred to the idea that America was and is a new kind of nation, one founded on the philosophical principles named in the Declaration of Independence but harkening back to Governor Winthrop’s 1630 sermon calling on the colonists of Massachusetts Bay to create a community that would be “a city on a hill” for all mankind.  The “American exceptionalism” of APUSH 2.0 is undefined and undescribed, though in context it seems to mean something like ‘aggressive nationalism.’

The new treatment of “American exceptionalism” thus comes across as, at best, superficial.  It may not be intended to be a brush-off of a key idea.  Having talked with College Board officials, I’m more inclined to see it as genuine incomprehension.  The College Board writers are so attuned to the progressive worldview that they literally cannot make sense of key ideas that are repudiated by that worldview.

In a similar vein, APUSH 2.0 is deaf and blind to the roles that organized religion has played in key episodes of American life, including the Founding.  APUSH 2.0 cannot comprehend the importance of American military history or how the nation’s wars have reshaped the culture.  APUSH 2.0 tends to reduce the history of ideas and ideals to sidelights on power politics and group interests.  I give the College Board credit for reducing the overt emphasis in APUSH 1.0 on identity group politics and for reintroducing in APUSH 2.0 the theme of “national identity,” but the sub-group emphasis is merely less conspicuous.  The story that APUSH 2.0 tells is still essentially white Europeans taking unfair advantage of innocent Native Americans, Africans, and others.

 

As an anthropologist looking at APUSH 2.0 I’m struck by the treatment of “Native Americans,” who are presented first as “adapted” to their physical environments and then primarily as victims of European “subjugation.”  Various tribes of Native Americans were, of course, themselves masters of subjugation and genocidal wars against one another long before Europeans set foot in the New World.  There is a large blind spot in APUSH 2.0 when it comes to the social dynamics of the identity groups it favors.

Sometimes APUSH 2.0 goes astray in something as small as the choice of an adjective.  The Soviet Union during the Cold War is described as “authoritarian,” as opposed to totalitarian.  Few high school students are likely to notice the difference, but what a difference it makes! Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn apparently wrote in vain.

But more importantly APUSH 2.0 goes astray in its twin emphases on social history and material history.  The principles, concepts, and ideas that helped to create a robust national culture and that have driven American politics from the outset are not banished as they were in APUSH 1.0 but they hang like fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror of APUSH 2.0—ornaments with no functional significance.   APUSH 2.0 presents a disclaimer that it “includes a minimal number of individual names” and leaves it to the teachers to pick their own examples, (p. 22).  One AP teacher has responded by saying the standards thus “neglect the personal choices of individual men” in favor of what she calls the College Board’s “bias in favor of impersonal forces.”

Can APUSH be fixed?  Or should critics look elsewhere? 

APUSH 2.0 could, of course, give rise to APUSH 3.0.  I was on an NPR radio program recently with New York University history professor Maria Montoya who served on the College Board committee that wrote APUSH 2.0.  When the host asked whether further revisions were likely, Professor Montoya said no.  It takes a long time for textbooks and teachers to catch up with one set of changes and introducing new ones in quick succession is a bad idea.

On the other hand, when I’ve talked with David Coleman, he has seemed eager to listen to and take note of specific criticisms of APUSH 2.0. So I am not abandoning the idea that the College Board can be nudged to make further improvements.  But it isn’t clear whether that door is open.

And fixing APUSH requires more than fixing just APUSH.  The standards are densely entangled with the tests, the textbooks aligned to the standards, teacher training, and instructional materials that schools have invested in.  Changing the standards is relatively easy; changing everything else, not so easy.  A new APUSH has been in the works since 2006.  The College Board has had a long time to integrate all the parts.

 

The complexity of creating an alternative to APUSH, however, has not deterred critics who have come to believe that the underlying problem is that the College Board is, in effect, a monopoly.  Only when critics began to moot the idea of establishing a viable alternative to APUSH did the College Board switch from treating its critics with derision to taking them seriously.  It was a lesson for us critics:  competition works.

 

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Fitzhugh: Now, All Focus is on Teacher Performance, But What About Student Achievement?

Will Fitzhugh, Publisher of The Concord Review

Will Fitzhugh, Publisher of The Concord Review

(Editor: www.thereportcard.org My friend Will Fitzhugh publishes The Concord Review that many say contains the finest high school student historical research papers in the world. The papers are at least 6-10,000 words and are thoroughly researched and footnoted. These papers represent what many consider to be the apogee of student achievement. At one time, students were expected to write serious and thorough papers. Today, few schools require anything longer than 300 words. Mr. Fitzhugh says that for the last 28 years all the focus is on What Teachers Do.

 

Not a single Teacher Workshop seems to look at all at serious student academic work. Some might argue that multiple choice tests alone are the determinant of student achievement. Mr. Fitzhugh demurs saying scores on a test show us nothing about the sort of knowledge they should be getting from reading actual history books and writing actual term papers. Students are expected to be invisible passive recipients, apart from a little class discussion perhaps.  At least in history, ask student to read a history book or write a serious history term paper! You must be joking! They should just sit there, take it, and ace the test.

That would be like expecting soldiers to learn how to fire a rifle, for goodness’ sake! Think about that-what if soldiers sat and listened to others talk about rifles, watched movies featuring rifles,  watched the PowerPoints, discussed rifles, but NOT touch or fire them! Would they be battle ready? Not likely).

 

 

 

By Will Fitzhugh The Concord Review

 

It is settled wisdom among Funderpundits and those to whom they give their grants that the most important variable in student academic achievement is teacher quality, but I have regularly pointed out that the most important variable in student academic achievement is student academic work.

Now, however, a small number of other dissenting voices have begun to speak. Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, in Academically Adrift have suggested that (p. 131) “Studying is crucial for strong academic performance…” and “Scholarship on teaching and learning has burgeoned over the past several decades and has emphasized the importance of shifting attention from faculty teaching to student learning…”

This may seem unacceptably heterodox to those in government and the private sector who have committed billions of dollars to focusing on the selection, training, supervision, and control of K-12 teachers, while giving no thought to whether K-12 students are actually doing the academic work which they are assigned.

In 2004, Paul A. Zoch, a teacher from Texas, wrote in Doomed to Fail:

“Let there be no doubt about it: the United States looks to its teachers and their efforts, but not to its students and their efforts, for success in education.”

More recently, and less on the fringe of this new concern, Diane Ravitch wrote in “Death and Life of the Great American School System“:

“One problem with test-based accountability, as currently defined and used, is that it removes all responsibility from students and their families for the students’ academic performance. NCLB neglected to acknowledge that students share in the responsibility for their academic performance and that they are not merely passive recipients of their teachers’ influence.”

There are necessarily problems in turning attention toward the work of students in judging the effectiveness of schools. First, all the present attention is on teachers, and it is not easy to turn that around. Second, teachers are employees and can be fired, while students can not. It could not be comfortable for the Funderpundits and their beneficiaries to realize that they may have been overlooking the most important variable in student academic achievement all this time.

 

In February, when the Associated Press reported that Natalie Monroe, a high school English teacher in Pennsylvania, had called her students, on a blog, “disengaged, lazy whiners,” and “noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS,” the response of the school system was not to look more closely at the academic efforts of the students, but to suspend the teacher. As one of her students explained, “As far as motivated high school students, she’s completely correct. High school kids don’t want to do anything…(but) It’s a teacher’s job…to give students the motivation to learn.” (sic)

It would seem that no matter who points out that “You can lead a student to learning, but you can’t make him drink,” our systems of schools and Funderpundits stick with their wisdom that teachers alone are responsible for student academic achievement.

While that is wrong, it is also stupid. Alfred North Whitehead (or someone else) once wrote:

“For an education, a man’s books and teachers are but a help, the real work is his.”

As in the old story about the drunk searching under the lamppost for his keys, those who control funds for education believe that as long as all their money goes to paying attention to what teachers are doing, who they are, how they are trained, and so on, they can’t see the point of looking in the darkness at those who have the complete and ultimate control over how much academic achievement there will be—namely the students.

Apart from scores on math and reading tests after all, student academic work is ignored by all those interested in paying to change the schools. What students do in literature, Latin, chemistry, math, and Asian history classes is of no interest to them. Liberal education is not only on the back burner for those focused on basic skills and job readiness as they define them, but that burner is also turned off at present.

This situation will persist as long as those funding programs and projects for reform in education pay no attention to the actual academic work of our students. And students, who see little or no pressure to be other than “disengaged lazy whiners” will continue to pay the price for their lack of education, both in college and at work, and we will continue to draw behind in comparison with those countries who realize that student academic achievement has always been, and will always be, mainly dependent on diligent student academic work.

 

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Good Guys Win: College Board’s US History takes a Right Turn

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(Editor: www.thereportcard.org These columns were the first to carry Larry Krieger’s scathing indictment of the College Board’s Advanced Placement US History Framework or APUSH. The entire 100+ page left wing screed attacked the United States as the problem in the world. America was racist, sexist and an imperialist power build on repression. The original APUSH was so biased against America, that The Republican National Committee attacked it for “radical revisionism.” The outcry finally prompted the College Board to rewrite the entire APUSH framework. The message here is that “the millstones of justice turn exceedingly slow, but they grind exceedingly fine).”

 

 

By Frederick M. Hess & Max Eden National Review

 

In the battles over schooling and American history, it sometimes seems that the forces of agenda-driven identity politics keep racking up wins. That’s what makes this morning’s release of the newly revised Advancement Placement U.S. History framework a happy turn. The College Board’s new framework is not just better than the atrocious version released last year—it’s good in its own right. The College Board’s 2014 framework for teaching Advanced Placement U.S. History, the gold standard for high-school history, provoked a well-deserved firestorm. The first-ever attempt to provide a comprehensive guide for teaching the course to a half-million students each year yielded an unqualified mess. Larry Krieger, a retired high-school history teacher, was the first to flag the single-minded focus on American wrongdoing, racial division, and left-wing heroics. Stanley Kurtz penned an illuminating series of posts here at NRO on the framework’s politicization of history.

 

The Republican National Committee, in turn, passed a resolution deeming the standards “radically revisionist” and calling on Congress to insist on their further review. The College Board initially issued a prickly statement dismissing the criticism. Bizarrely, it accused critics of “a blatant disregard for the facts” and of putting personal agendas “above the best interest of teachers, students, and their families.” It all felt depressingly familiar. But the College Board then opted to change course. It reached out to critics, solicited feedback from the public, promised that the framework would be reworked for 2015—and asked to be judged on the result. This morning, they unveiled the new framework. Surprisingly, it constitutes a sea change. It’s not just better—it’s flat-out good. It doesn’t only address the most egregious examples of bias and politicization; rather, nearly every line appears to have been rewritten in a more measured, historically-responsible manner. Some of the most symbolically significant changes may be in the treatment of World War II and the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

 

The 2014 framework highlighted three things that students needed to know about the Second World War. In order, they were: Wartime mobilization provided economic opportunities for women and minorities; American values were compromised by the atomic bomb and the internment of Japanese Americans; and the Allies won owing to our combined industrial strength. Notice anything missing? In the 2015 version, the first bullet now reads: “Americans viewed the war as a fight for the survival of freedom and democracy against fascist and militarist ideologies. This perspective was later reinforced by revelations about Japanese wartime atrocities, Nazi concentration camps, and the Holocaust.” The framework still notes the internment of Japanese Americans and the moral complexities of dropping the atomic bomb, but these are now situated in a broader, more textured tale. Teachers have plenty of room to emphasize moral ambiguities and contemporary critiques, as they well should—but it’s no longer implied that those are the whole story. Of Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War, the 2014 framework read (in its laughable entirety): “President Ronald Reagan, who initially rejected détente with increased defense spending, military action, and bellicose rhetoric, later developed a friendly relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.” The framework managed to depict Reagan as simultaneously a bully and a naif. That’s the view of left-wing history departments, of course, but it is cartoon history. The 2015 framework now reads, “Reagan asserted U.S. opposition to communism through speeches, diplomatic efforts, limited military interventions, and a buildup of nuclear and conventional weapons,” and notes that these actions “were important in ending the Cold War.”

 

Whereas the 2014 framework gave hagiographic accounts of FDR’s and LBJ’s domestic initiatives, the 2015 version gives a much more tempered account. The 2014 framework explained, “The liberalism of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal drew on earlier progressive ideas and represented a multifaceted approach to both the causes and effects of the Great Depression.” The 2015 framework now reads, “Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal attempted to end the Great Depression by using government power to provide relief to the poor, stimulate recovery, and reform the American economy.” This is both less starry-eyed and more accurate. Faced with a barrage of well-deserved criticism, the College Board has responded with an honest, fair-minded framework for teaching the grand sweep of American history.

 

Similarly, the 2014 framework asserted that, under President Lyndon Johnson, “Liberal ideals were realized in Supreme Court decisions that expanded democracy and individual freedoms, Great Society social programs and policies, and the power of the federal government, yet these unintentionally helped energize a new conservative movement.” The 2015 version is far more tempered in subtle but significant ways. It reads, “Liberal ideas found expression in Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which attempted to use federal legislation and programs to end racial discrimination, eliminate poverty, and address other social issues.” The exuberant celebration of FDR and LBJ has given way to a more concrete focus on what they “attempted” to do. That’s more like it. Reagan, FDR, and LBJ should all get their due for their efforts—and fair-minded discussion of their successes, missteps, and shortcomings. 

 

Changes like these are a reassuring sign. But dwelling only on these headline items actually understates the thoroughness of the line-by-line revisions. In 2014, the first of seven organizing themes for American History was “Identity”—with an accompanying emphasis on race and gender grievances throughout (even when the discussion seemed blatantly anachronistic). 

 

In the new version, “Identity” has become “American and National Identity,” and the emphasis throughout is on our shared history—with racial divides and gender politics presented as one part of that larger story. For instance, the framework no longer describes Manifest Destiny as simply “built on a belief in white racial superiority” but rather motivated by a desire for “economic opportunities and religious refuge” and a belief in “the superiority of American institutions.” Those institutions—self-government, civil society, and democratic capitalism—are all now given the respect and attention they deserve. The framework now addresses economic growth and American entrepreneurialism where before the only economics to speak of consisted of allusions to inequality and exploitation.

 

Astonishingly, discussion of religion and its import was largely absent in 2014. That is no longer the case. Whereas in the 2014 framework one could be forgiven for thinking that the Declaration of Independence was consequential only insofar as it inspired rebellion in Haiti, the new framework makes clear that the Declaration “resonated throughout American history, shaping Americans’ understanding of the ideals on which the nation was based.” The 2015 version encourages teachers to spend up to a month offering “an in-depth focus on the ideas of freedom and democracy as expressed in the founding documents” or examining “the founding documents and their resonance in the thoughts and actions of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.” Faced with a barrage of well-deserved criticism, the College Board went back to the drawing board. It has returned with a framework that offers an honest, fair-minded framework for teaching the grand sweep of American history. There is no effort to paper over the darker chapters of America’s past or its continuing struggle to live up to our founding ideals (nor should there be!)—but these are now presented alongside our nation’s ideals and staggering accomplishments. The result is certainly not perfect. There are elements we would choose to add and points that could be articulated more fully or fairly. But those are quibbles. Last year’s framework reflected the agenda-driven view of American history so prominent in higher education. This year’s framework gets the balance right between the pluribus and the unum, and does justice to our nation’s remarkable history.

 

— Frederick M. Hess is director of education-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Max Eden is program manager for education-policy studies at AEI.

 

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“Protect Children: Stop Bill Giving More Federal Power Over Education”

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(Editor: www.thereportcard.org Bill S.1177 “No Child Left Behind” rewrite gives The US Department of Education ever greater power over your child’s curriculum, personal data, and ability to expand Common Core. This 800 page monster bill will also open the door for the UN to increase it’s control over American educational policy. Don’t believe it? Well, in matters of the Iranian arms deal, President Obama is giving the UN priority over Congress. So it’s not a leap to see the regime’s interest in expanding global control over schools is it)?

 

 

By Christel Lane Swasey, American Principles Project

 

Protecting our children from increasing oppressions and loss of freedoms will require not allowing federal S.1177 to pass.

The name of S.1177, which now sits in the Senate on Capitol Hill,  is also: “The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015,” “No Child Left Behind – rewritten,” “Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” and is virtually the same as House Bill HR5, “The Student Success Act” which passed the House yesterday.

In my own mind I have given all its versions this name: Nasty Orwellian Progressive Education (NOPE) –a convenient, more honest, and recyclable title.  We will surely have to recycle S.1177 and its clones because it will not die. Although it died in HR5 form in Congress earlier this year, thanks to We the People being alert and active,  now it has risen, passed the House as HR5– and will rise again until that relentless, growing clique (Duncan/Gates/Tucker/Pearson NGA/NCSL/CCSSO/REL/ et al) gets its way–  until there is no longer any such thing as student privacy or local autonomy in any school.  If you think I’m exaggerating, please study the words and actions of each of those ed reform moguls.

I decided to skim the near-800 page bill using American Principles Project’s 21 items as my guide.  The hide and seek that readers must wield with the real purposes and powers of this bill is ridiculous.  Clearly, the authors of S.1177 aim to obscure its true purposes, which I now see only serve the Obama-UN agenda for education.

The media’s calling S.1177 “a bipartisan compromise” but that’s far from true.  It’s all part of the Common Core bipartisan profiteering scheme that aligns federal tests and standards, but elbows out parents and voters.  Many in Congress are fooled, but don’t you be fooled by the word “bipartisan” –nor by the bill’s misleading talking points.

The power struggle is no longer between the Republicans and the Democrats.  Bipartisan means almost nothing.  The fight is between voting families– We the People, whether Democratic, Republican or other– versus the clique of profiteering businessmen and politicians.  Those who profit in money or with the power that increased data mining provides, each profit from the standardization and nationalization of testing, data standards, education standards, accountability measures, and aligned curriculum.

When I tried to call again and again to alert the U.S.  senators, it was impossible to get through.   So the effort of grassroots is kicking where it counts. Please, call senators again, every day.  Call Sen. LaMar Alexander and Patty Murray after your own senators and board members.  Bonus:  you can very, very quickly tweet to all Senators repeatedly by clicking here.  If you do not yet have a free Twitter account, please do it now by clicking here.  It is easy.

Killing this bill ought to be easy because nobody likes No Child Left Behind, that ugly federal law, and this is its big brother.  Ask any teacher, any principal, any politician in any party.  NCLB blessed no child and was a bureaucratic quagmire.  Why did its reauthorization successfully pass the Senate committee– unanimously— in April after being stopped in its tracks in March?  And why is S.1177 onstage again?  The answer is simple: because the states have become addicted to federal money and many are selling souls to get it.

Passing S.1177 based on money-fear is pure stupidity.  More school funding comes from local sources, by FAR, than from federal funds, and ugly strings are attached to the federal money– strings that take away freedom, privacy rights, a say over our own schools.  If we’d be courageous and fiscally responsible, and fire most of the outrageous salary-consumers at state offices of education and the entire federal Dept of Ed, we’d have abundant cash for legitimate school needs. Plenty.  We should be retaining local dollars, rather than sending them to D.C. to be redistributed back to some of us, conditionally.  It’s common sense.

So here is my little list:

 

  1.   The bill aims to kill parental rights in the parental opt-out movement.

Taking away a parent’s authority over his or her own child is a crime that the Fed Ed is willing to try to get away with.  This bill says that states must not only give federally aligned common core tests (they use the code term “college and career ready” which is Common Core) but must collect data from 95 percent of the students.  That aims to kill our huge, growing parents’ opt out movement.  The bill says, “Measures the annual progress of not less than 95 percent of all students, and students in each of the categories of students”. (1111)

 

  1.  The bill’s master-servant relationship between Fed Ed and State Ed is unconstitutional.

I don’t like the master-servant relationship between the Fed Ed agencies and the State agencies.  It’s clearly, clearly unconstitutional.  States are supposed to be in charge of their own educational systems.  But in this bill, read: “The state shall submit,”  and “The Secretary [Fed Ed] shall have power to disapprove a state plan” (Sec. 1111)   “If a State makes significant changes to its plan at any time…  such information shall be submitted to the Secretary”.  That just gives the Fed Ed Secretary power to disapprove a state’s decision to drop Common Core.  (Sec. 1111)

Cementing Common Core is not what the authors of S.1177 said were the goals of the bill, yet there it is.  Putting parents last, and making states do the dirty work for the false authorities at the Department of Education, is a deceptive way of getting people to think that there’s less federal involvement, a misleading attempt to get conservative people to pass this bill.

 

  1.  The bill will suppress student expression of religious and political values.

I don’t like the bill’s repeated use of the concept and term  “school climate” –for example, in conditional “formula grants”.  These give the federal government power to model citizenship, to influence what is a federally appropriate world-view, and to pressure schools to suppress student expression of religious values, using each state as enforcer.  (Sec. 4103-4104).  The bill says that money will be conditionally given and that data gathered by the school will determine whether a student holds appropriate beliefs in the “school climate”.  This will allow absolute federal indoctrination in local schools. If family values don’t match Fed Ed values, there will be federally-directed school-based re-education.

Here’s the very wordy sentence that unsuccessfully aims to hides its true aim, asking for collection of “school-level data on indicators or measures of school quality, climate and safety, and discipline, including those described in section 1111(d)(1)(C)(v); and risk factors in the community, school, family, or peer-individual domains that are known, through prospective, longitudinal research efforts, to be predictive of drug use, violent behavior, harassment, disciplinary issues, and having an effect on the physical and mental health and well-being of youth in the school and community.”

That pressures schools to conform to federal definitions of mental health, and forces schools to collect longitudinal data to build and analyze children’s psychological profiles.   Schools wanting federal money must intervene if a student’s “mental health” or potential access to “violence” needs “mentoring”. (“Violence” by whose definition? Owning a hunting rifle –or even not being opposed to others owning them– is a data point for violence prediction in progressive surveys I’ve read) Does a child get federally approved “mentoring” and “referral” if he/she reports that his family owns and will always own guns, or if he/she reports that we teach that homosexuality is a perversion of God’s plan of happiness?

The bill says:  “may include, among other programs and activities— drug and violence prevention activities and programs, including professional development and training for school and specialized instructional support personnel and interested community members in prevention, education, early identification, and intervention mentoring, and, where appropriate, rehabilitation referral, as related to drug and violence prevention… extended learning opportunities, including before and after school programs and activities, programs during summer recess periods, and expanded learning time…

 

  1.  The bill sees government, not families, at the center of the universe– for younger and younger people, for more and more of the time.

I don’t like the way federal schools are creeping into the community life via this bill.  It allots money to fulfill Sec. Duncan’s “21st –century community learning centers” (Sec. 4201)  I don’t like that this bill consumes more family time, giving so much time to government schools.   The “community creep” of Fed Ed schools expands in multiple ways if S.1177 passes.  The Fed Ed Secretary will pay “programs that support extended learning opportunities, including before and after school programs and activities, programs during summer recess periods, and expanded learning time; in accordance with subsections (c) and (d), school-based mental health services, including early identification of mental-health symptoms” — which means more government surveillance of belief and behavior, via more time spent with Fed Ed, and less time spent with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa.

I noticed that “and community” is attached after the word “school” repeatedly.  School and community.  School and community.  School and Community.  Why?  What business does the school have, expanding its creep into the community?  Yet that’s exactly what Secretary Duncan has been calling for, for years.  .)

 

  1.  The bill promotes federal definitions of mental health and promotes collection of mental health data.

I don’t like the bill’s assumption that fed ed defines mental health correctly, and for everyone.  I don’t like that it promotes even more data mining than we already have inflicted upon our children.

The bill’s long, long, long, long sentences hide a lot, probably on purpose.  So I’ve cut phrases to highlight what I see under the wordiness. Let me know what you think.  Am I reading this wrong?

 

  1.  Toddler Snatching.

I don’t like that the bill puts it hands on preschoolers.  It bullies preschools, too, by mandating federal preschool standards to be enforced by states, as it encourages states to take over toddler time from moms and dads.  I don’t like the time-away-from-family aim nor the data mining aim (without consent of parents, of course). Preschool babies are to be psychologically profiled by the state.  The bill does not state this plainly. You have to connect the dots:  the word “preschool” shows up 43 times in the bill.  Statewide preschool standards align with federal standards, creating nationalization of measurement of citizen babies; federal standards are heavily socio-emotional; it all results in the compilation of psychological data on very young children.  We already had the Dept. of Ed and its partners co-creating Common Educational Data Standards (CEDS) the better to align everyone with, without voter input, and these folks wave banners with their motto (fourth principle) : “Continued Commitment to Disaggregation  of students’ personal data.   Your specific, individual child is wanted in their clutches.  That’s what disaggregation means:  not in a clump; individual.

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