Archive | history textbook topics

Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

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(Editor: www.thereportcard.org President Lincoln authored two Thanksgiving proclamations. They would both be worthy of study in our nation’s schools, but sadly they are often overlooked. Lincoln understood that our liberties come from God and not from an all-powerful government. He further understood that America’s prosperity was achieved because of God’s grace. These proclamations are a wonderful today in a war-weary world as they were during our Civil War).

The first was on March 30, and in it he sought to share with his countrymen his sense of personal humility, calling for a national day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer.”

 

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.

“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

In his proclamation establishing the Thanksgiving national holiday, President Lincoln said:

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . .

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged.”

 

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Dad Blasts School Lesson “American’s Rights Come From Government”

Fairfield North Elementary School

Fairfield North Elementary School

 

(Editor: www.thereportcard.org According to the US Department of Education, 88% of high school seniors are not proficient in history. There is a price to be paid for ignorance. Fairfield North Elementary School taught second graders that our rights come from Government, whereas The Declaration of Independence states that “We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.” An alert father stepped in to hopefully correct the Ohio school’s error. The question is, how many other school children are being falsely instructed)?

 

EAG News

According to a citizenship lesson for 8-year-olds, rights are given to Americans by their government.

Parent Andrew Washburn posted a picture on Facebook of a handout titled “Being a Good Citizen” by Phyllis Naegeli.

“So Emma brought home a very interesting handout from school the other day. So informative! I didn’t know that our rights come from the government! Thank you, government!” he sarcastically wrote.

“And thank you, (Butler County school district), for teaching my eight year old daughter all about her rights!” he added.

Washburn tells EAGnews his daughter attends a Butler County, Ohio district.

Among other things, the worksheet claims:

* Rights are special privileges the government gives you.* Because the government gives us rights, we have the duty to be good citizens.* Someday you will be given the right to vote.

Washburn posted the entire worksheet on the social media site.

“You see, I know how important it is to get to children early in their lives and make sure they understand how it is in the world. Otherwise their impressionable minds might be corrupted by falsehoods like the idea that our rights come from our Creator and that we are born with them,” Washburn posted on Facebook.

After all, the Declaration of Independence makes it clear the rights of Americans are “endowed by their Creator.”

“I personally hold myself to be a patriot, committed to the spirit of 1776 and the American way of life,” the father tells EAGnews.

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History Book Review: The NFL’s Mr. Einstein

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By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org

 

Football has the largest audience of any sport in the world. The Super Bowl 2014 has 112 Million viewers; college football is more than team spirit, it’s a money machine for schools; high school football is usually the most popular sport. “The NFL’s Mr. Einstein” is a book about Hugh “Shorty” Ray, the man who literally designed the modern game of football first for college, and for professional football. “The NFL’s Mr. Einstein is a history book for anyone with a love of the game, and an appreciation of what one determined man can accomplish. Although Hugh Ray is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, his name is sadly forgotten. The plaque in The Hall of Fame states: “Ray saved a dull game from extinction and played the major roll in making the sport the fast-paced wide open-game of today.” At the turn of the last century football was such a brutal game that in 1909 26 players were killed and 70 were seriously injured. In 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt, a Harvard man, attended the annual Harvard Yale game. At the time, those schools were the most powerful teams in college football. He was appalled by the brutality of a foul described in the 1905 Harvard Bulletin:

 

“The incident in Saturday’s game when Burr, the Harvard guard, was knocked down by one of Yale’s backs, seems to demand comment… But Burr had caught the ball in his arms and had it heeled when he was tackled by one Yale man and Quill (Yale) rushed up and shoved both hands in Burr’s face. He was knocked down and badly hurt.”

 

Roosevelt wrote a rebuke to college football’s leaders: “I demand that football change it’s rules or be abolished.” This was the catalyst for change to the modern game, and Hugh Ray, and former star football and baseball athlete was the man to make the changes. “The NFL’s Mister Einstein” is much more than a book about rules, it’s about how one man took on a rigid bureaucracy and turned football into the exciting game it is today. Before Hugh Ray, the forward pass did not exist, and he was the driver who made it happen in the NCAA, and the NFL.

 

So why isn’t Hugh Ray better known? His grandson James Stangeland, the author of the book, says:

 

“The High School Federation (NFHS), the NCAA, and the NFL all willfully suppressed the truth about Hugh Ray’s hundreds of rules contributions to their respective games. They did it over money, power, greed and their enormous egos.”

 

In 1978 the NFL’s magazine Pro published an official attack piece that tried diminishing Hugh Ray through innuendo and misstatement. Hugh Ray’s hundred of rule changes made the game of football safer, exciting and made millionaires of NFL owners. Yet “Today, Ray is virtually unknown, while the NFL’s team owners are all billionaire members of America’s most exclusive club. They command squads of elite millionaire athletes who entertain over 100 million fans each week, and many more during the Super Bowl. This was no accident. It was a direct result of the rules paradigm that Ray created for the NFL and American football.”

 

Yet, “Papa Bear” George Halas, owner, and founder of the Chicago Bears and a leader of the NFL for decades said in a stirring tribute: “I’ve always thought that my finest contribution to pro football was bringing Shorty Ray into the NFL”

 

Good history should teach the truth, and that it what “NFL’s Mr. Einstein” accomplishes. When one thinks of the word “rules” we are apt to allow our minds to wander to the IRS tax codes or 20,000 pages of regulations in Obamacare. But at their best rules make us better, and bring us together. Think the Constitution, or The Ten Commandments. Hugh “Shorty” Ray’s rules made football better for high school, college and NFL athletes. His rules brought out the best in all of us. NFL’s Mr. Einstein is available at Amazon or www.Hughrayfootball.com

 

 

 

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Marine Objects to Daughter’s Islam-Biased History Class, Is Barred from School

La Plata High School

La Plata High School

 

By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org

 

The father of a La Plata, MD High School student has been barred from the school grounds after officials said he threatened to disrupt the school environment. In fact, The Report Card learned from Mr. Jack Tuttle, a social studies curriculum manager at La Plata, that the textbook, World History, Patterns of Interaction, McDougal, Little was the basis for that classroom instruction. World History has been described by Citizens for National Security as “A textbook with an extreme pro-Islam, anti Israel bias.” The textbook has been demonstrated to mis-state many historical facts about Islam. For example, the textbook claims that Muslim rule over non-Muslims during the Middle Ages was tolerant. In fact, non-Muslims, Christians and Jews were treated as second class citizens and forced to pay a special tax. Perhaps a pro-Islamic tilt by La Plata’s history class is what caused Kevin Wood’s objection.

According to Jeremy Wolf, a reporter for the Gazette, Kevin Wood was issued a no-trespass order last week after a telephone call with La Plata High Vice Principal Shannon Morris on Thursday. Wood called to air complaints regarding his daughter’s world history assignment that asked students to examine elements of the Islamic religion.

Wood, a former corporal with the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was enlisted for eight years, said in an interview Monday afternoon outside of the school system’s central office that he did not wish for his daughter, a junior at La Plata, to learn the Islamic religion, a faith he does “not believe in,” he said.

Wood and his wife, Melissa Wood, said they reached out to the school last week and asked that their daughter be removed from her world history course for the duration that the class covered Islam. The Woods said they spoke by a telephone to a woman, who they identified as “Ms. Pearl,” who listened to their request and said she would investigate the possibility of an alternative assignment.

Kevin Wood, who identified himself as Catholic, denied that he had issued any threats or that he had planned to show up on the La Plata campus Monday.

In a later phone call with Morris, Kevin Wood said he blasted the school for violating his daughter’s “constitutional rights” and said he would contact the media and “bring a [expletive]storm down on them like they’ve never seen.”

“Nowhere did he ever threaten,” Melissa Wood said. “And this is where it’s gotten totally blown out of proportion.”

Policies exist that allow a child to complete an alternative assignment if the parents complain, O’Malley-Simpson said, but not in the case of world history.

“If parents object to a book that’s assigned, and the assignment is to gather certain reading skills, assigning them a different book doesn’t matter,” she said. “The student still gains the skills and knowledge. In the case of world history and other subjects, it’s part of the curriculum and it’s part of the standards you’re supposed to learn.”

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New Report: Only 18% of Colleges Require US History, 3% Economics

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By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org

 

A majority of U.S. college graduates don’t know the length of a congressional term, what the Emancipation Proclamation was, or which Revolutionary War general led the American troops at Yorktown.

The reason for such failures, according to a recent study: Few schools mandate courses in core subjects like U.S. government, history or economics. The sixth annual analysis of core curricula at 1,098 four-year colleges and universities by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) found that just 18% of schools require American history to graduate, 13% require a foreign language and 3% economics.

 

ACTA this week released the 2014-2015 edition of What Will They Learn?, which peels away reputation to assess what value students are actually getting from college.

 

Too many college rating systems rely on largely extraneous measures like alumni giving or selectivity to determine which colleges top their list,” said Anne D. Neal, ACTA president. “What Will They Learn? looks at the most important data—the strength of a college’s education—to find out which institutions are delivering the tools students will need to succeed in career and community.”

 

Only 23 institutions receive an “A” grade for requiring at least six of seven subjects that are essential to a liberal arts education: literature, composition, economics, math, intermediate level foreign language, science, and American government/history. According to the study, most students graduate from college without exposure to such fundamental courses as American history, basic economics or literature. In too many places, graduates aren’t expected to have any more knowledge of these pivotal courses than a high school student.

 

One wonders what tuition and tax dollars are going toward when most colleges—even public ones—don’t require basic economics, foreign language, American history or even literature,” said Dr. Michael Poliakoff, director of the What Will They Learn? project. “Are we really preparing our nation’s next generation of leaders when our colleges are failing to ensure the most basic skills and knowledge?

Public Institutions:

  • 28% require American history
  • 8% require foreign language
  • 3% require economics

Private Institutions:

  • 10% require American history
  • 17% require foreign language

4% require economics

 

As a result, less than half of students surveyed knew Franklin Roosevelt spearheaded the New Deal, and only 40% knew the date of D-Day. Since only 3% require economics, many students graduate with little comprehension of the free markets and the benefits of capitalism. In fact, opposition to capitalism is often a focus of many courses at colleges today.

 

“It’s much easier for campus administrators to let faculty make decisions rather than to decide with them what are really important and what really matters,” said Mr. Poliakoff. “It’s like saying to a lot of 18-year-olds the cafeteria is open, you kids just eat whatever you like.”

 

 

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Harvard Students: US Greater Threat to World than ISIS

Caleb Bonham

Caleb Bonham

(Editor: www.thereportcard.org Caleb Bonham of Campus reform conducted a number of interviews with Harvard students. Bonham asked whether ISIS or America was a greater threat to world peace. Most of the students said “America is a greater threat to world peace than ISIS.” How has Harvard come to a point where their students see America so unfavorably? Harvard has a storied history of contribution to America’s armed forces. 1200 Harvard men have given their lives in service to their country. Tens of thousands of Harvard men have worn the uniform since the 17th century. Harvard has more Medal of Honor recipients than any other university in America. But in those times, American history was taught and American Exceptionalism was unchallenged in institutions of higher learning. Now, history and political science teachers at most universities and in many high schools would rather cut out their own tongues than say anything good about America. That the future leaders of America think so poorly of her does not bode well. Sic Transit Gloria).

 

They got most of their SAT questions right, but students at Harvard blew this lay-up posed by the college blog Campus Reform: Who is the bigger threat to world peace, ISIS or the U.S.?

Various students at the hallowed Ivy League school said they believe that America, not the Muslim fanatics who behead innocent people, is the biggest threat to world peace.

The students were interviewed on the quad by Campus Reform on Saturday, and the shocking video was posted on Tuesday.

“As a Western civilization, we’re to blame for a lot of the problems that we’re facing now,” one student said during an interview. “I don’t think anyone would argue that we didn’t create the problem of ISIS, ourselves.”

Most of the other students interviewed shared the same sentiment — that ISIS would not exist had it not been for the past actions of the U.S.

“American imperialism and our protection of oil interests in the Middle East are destabilizing the region and allowing groups like ISIS to gain power,” said another student.

Caleb Bonham, editor of Campus Reform, conducted the interviews and said that the students’ response is nothing new.

“This video demonstrates the absurdity behind the bash America fad,” Bonham told FoxNews.com. “Unfortunately, too many students think it is intellectual to try and piece together a reason why America is a greater threat than this terrorist organization trying to establish a caliphate through public executions, bombings and beheadings.”

The Islamic State is a splinter group of Al Qaeda that has occupied a large swath of Syria and the northern region of Iraq and has tried to establish a caliphate and rule all Muslims under Shariah Law.

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“Cruelest Ingratitude:” The College Board’s Amnesia about US Military Contribution to History

ENS William Evans, USN Torpedo Squadron 8 Battle of Midway

ENS William Evans, USN
Torpedo Squadron 8
Battle of Midway

(Editor: www.thereportcard.org The new College Board’s AP US History Framework is a slap in the face to those who have give so much and even their all. In June 1942, ENS William R. Evans, Jr. USN who was to give his all at The Battle of Midway as a member of Torpedo Squadron 8 wrote these words to his parents: “American youth has found itself and given itself so at home, the spark may catch, and burst into flame…If the country takes these sacrifices with indifference it will be the cruelest ingratitude the world has ever known.)”

By Jane Robbins, Senior Fellow, American Principles Project and

Larry Krieger, retired AP teacher and author

On June 6, 1984 President Reagan stood at the very spot on the northern coast of France where forty years before Allied soldiers had stormed ashore to liberate Europe from the long night of Nazi tyranny. As an audience of D-Day veterans and world leaders listened, President Reagan introduced the American Rangers who captured the cliffs as “champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.”

But starting this year, many of our best students won’t learn about the “boys of Pointe du Hoc.” Although state and local U.S. history standards recognize and

honor the heroism and contributions of American military commanders, servicemen and women, and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients the College Board’s redesigned Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) Framework ignores them. In fact, it essentially ignores all of American military history from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

 

About 500,000 of our nation’s most academically talented high school sophomores and juniors take APUSH. The College Board’s new Framework completely omits all American military commanders and notes just two battles – Gettysburg and Sherman’s March to the Sea. The valor and sacrifices of American servicemen and women are totally neglected. Veterans and their families will be dismayed to learn that Washington does not cross the Delaware, William Travis (a South Carolina hero) does not defend the Alamo, and the GI’s do not liberate Europe. Instead, they will learn that the American Expeditionary Force in World War I “played a relatively limited role in the war” (American casualties totaled about 321,000) and that during World War II the “atomic bomb raised questions about American values.” In addition, the Framework reduces both the Korean War and the Vietnam wars to just one

sentence, while completely omitting the GI Bill, the Berlin Airlift, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

Although the APUSH Framework largely passes over American military history, it does devote extensive coverage to conflicts with Native Americans. For example, the Framework notes five major wars between Native Americans and the colonists and two major battles between Plains Indians and the U.S. Cavalry. Indeed, the Framework devotes more space to diplomatic relations with Native American tribes following the French and Indian War than it does to both World War I and World War II combined. It is also shocking to learn that the Framework omits all mention of General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the D-Day Invasion while noting Chief Little Turtle whose warriors killed 600 U. S. soldiers in America’s worse military disaster against Native American forces.

 

The College Board insists that the APUSH Framework offers a “balanced” presentation of the American story. However, the imbalance between its minimal coverage of traditional American military history and its enhanced coverage of the conflict with Native Americans strongly supports the conclusion that authors of the the Framework had other objectives.

 

The nine professors and high school teachers who wrote the APUSH Framework adopted a consistent revisionist interpretation of American history. In a penetrating analysis of the Framework, Stanley Kurtz explains

that from the revisionist point of view “the heart of our country’s history lies in the pursuit of empire, the dominion over others.” Given this focus upon America as a rising imperialist power, “the formative American moment was

the colonial assault on the Indians…This is why the Framers and the principles of our Constitutional system receive short shrift in the new AP guidelines, and why the conflict between the settlers and the Indians has taken center stage.”

 

The Framework’s neglect of American military history is also closely tied to the document’s aversion for the concept of American exceptionalism. According to this traditional concept, American has a historic mission to be a model and defender of freedom and democracy. American forces thus do not go into battle because they hate the enemy or to seize new territories. Like “the boys of Pointe du Hoc,” American forces risk their lives to defend freedom at home and around the world.

 

The Framework’s neglect of the valor and contributions of America’s military forces is completely unacceptable. During the initial assault on Omaha Beach, the American commander called on his troops to demonstrate extraordinary valor with this legendary command: “Rangers lead the way!” No such inspirational stories appear in the APUSH Framework. We urge veterans and

their families to lead the way in demanding that the College Board withdraw the APUSH Framework and return to a curriculum that rightly honors their bravery and sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

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SC Veterans: New College Board US History Ignores America’s Military History, Heroism

 

Veteran Army Rangers Pont du Hoc Normandy

Veteran Army Rangers Pont du Hoc Normandy

 

(Editor: www.thereportcard.org South Carolina veterans are urged to protest the New College Board Advance Placement US History Framework (APUSH) this Wednesday. APUSH is a slap in the face to veterans today, and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The authors of this monstrosity ignore the sacrifice and heroism that made America free. It even fails to mention D-Day or any other major WWII battle. On Wednesday, the State Board of Education will meet on APUSH. Veterans, you owe it to America’s legacy of freedom and your own hard won legacy to show up and protest APUSH on Wednesday).

 SC Parents Involved in Education and children need you to attend the next

State Board of Education Meeting

 

State Board of Education Building

1429 Senate Street, Columbia

Wednesday, October 8th, 1 PM

 

Arrive by 12:30 to ensure seating

 

The State Board of Education will discuss the new Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) Framework, which ignores the heroism and contributions of American military commanders, servicemen and women, and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. In fact, it essentially ignores all of American military history from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

 

The College Board’s new Framework totally neglects the valor and sacrifices of the American servicemen and women. Veterans and their families will be dismayed to learn that Washington does not cross the Delaware, William Travis (a South Carolina hero) does not defend the Alamo, and the GI’s do not liberate Europe.

 

Instead, our students will learn that the American Expeditionary Force in World War I “played a relatively limited role in the war” and that during World War II the “atomic bomb raised questions about American values.” In addition, the Framework reduces both the Korean War and the Vietnam War to just one sentence, while completely omitting the GI Bill, the Berlin Airlift, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

College-Boards-AP-US-History-Ignores-Valor-and-Sacrifice-of-Americas-Military

 

 

Sign up prior to the meeting to speak during the
public comment period
or simply show up in uniform – this will speak a thousand words!

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Yale Professor: Patriotism Must be Taught in School

Professor Donald Kagan Yale University

Professor Donald Kagan Yale University

(Editor: www.thereportcard.org Yale history Professor Donald Kagan Ph.D, is an important name among historians, and he believes that anti-Americanism in America’s K-12 and universities must be replaced by a love of country. Prof. Kagan believes that patriotism is a prerequisite for good citizenship. Prof. Kagan deplores the tyranny of the anti-American academic left as exemplified by this quote in the Nation: author Katha Pollitt, who wrote about her daughter wanting to fly the American flag outside their window after 9/11. “Definitely not,” Ms. Pollitt replied. “The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war.” The latest attack on patriotism comes from non other than the College Board’s Advanced Placement US History Framework. In APUSH, America is the problem in the world and not the hope of the world).

Adapted from remarks by Yale University historian and professor emeritus Donald Kagan at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., Sept. 18, a talk based in part on a lecture he delivered at Yale on Nov. 4, 2001:

What is an education for? It is a question seldom investigated thoroughly. The ancient philosophers had little doubt: They lived in a city-state whose success and very existence depended on the willingness of citizens to overcome the human tendency to seek their individual, self-interested goals and to make the sacrifices needed for the community’s well-being. Their idea of education, therefore, was moral and civic, not merely instrumental. They reasoned that if a state or community is to be good, its citizens must be good, so they aimed at an education that would produce virtuous people and good citizens.

Some two thousand years later, from the 16th through the 18th centuries, a different group of philosophers in Italy, England and France introduced a powerful new idea. Their world was dominated by ambitious princes and kings who were rapidly asserting ever greater authority over the lives of their people and trampling on the traditional expectations of individuals and communities. In the philosophers’ view, every human being was naturally endowed with three essential rights: to defend his life, liberty and lawfully acquired property.

The responsibility of the state, therefore, was limited and largely negative: to protect the people from external enemies and not to interfere with the rights of individual citizens. Suspicious of the claims of church and state to inculcate virtue as mere devices to serve the selfish interests of their rulers, most philosophers of the Enlightenment believed that moral and civic instruction was not the business of the state.

Among our country’s founders, none was a more devoted son of the Enlightenment than Thomas Jefferson, yet as he considered the needs of the new democratic republic he had helped to establish, he came to very different conclusions. Like the ancient philosophers, Jefferson regarded education as essential to the establishment and maintenance of a good polity— Plato, in “The Republic,” spends many pages on the nature of the citizens’ education, as does Aristotle in “Politics.” Jefferson regarded a proper educational system as so important that in the epitaph he wrote for himself, he did not mention that he had twice been elected president of the United States but proudly recorded that he was the “Father of the University of Virginia.”

Jefferson was convinced that there needed to be an education for all citizens if they and their new kind of popular government were to flourish. He understood that schools must provide “to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; to enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts, and accounts, in writing.”

For Jefferson, though, the most important goals of education were civic and moral. In his “Preamble to the 1779 Virginia Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge” he addresses the need for all students to have a political education through the study of the “forms of government,” political history and foreign affairs. This was not meant to be a “value free” exercise; on the contrary, its purpose was to communicate the special virtues of republican representative democracy, the dangers that threatened it, and the responsibility of its citizens to esteem and protect it. This education was to be a common experience for all citizens, rich and poor, for every one of them had natural rights and powers, and every one had to understand and esteem the institutions, laws and traditions of his country if it was to succeed.

It is striking to notice the similarity between Jefferson’s ideas and those of a leader of the last great democracy prior to Jefferson’s fledgling democracy. In 431 B.C., Pericles of Athens described the character of the great democratic society he wished for his community: A city “governed by the many, not the few,” where in the “matter of public honors each man is preferred not on the basis of his class but of his good reputation and merit. No one, moreover, if he has it in him to do some good for the city, is barred because of poverty or humble origins.”

Both great democratic leaders knew that democracy, properly understood, requires a careful balance between the political and constitutional rights of the individual, where absolute equality is the only acceptable principle, and the other aspects of life, where equality of opportunity and reward on the basis of merit are appropriate. They also agreed on the need for individuals to limit their desires and even to curtail their own rights, when necessary, to make sacrifices in the service of the community without whose protection those rights could not exist. In short, democracy and patriotism were inseparable.

These values have not disappeared, but in our own time they have been severely challenged. With the shock of the 9/11 terror attacks, most Americans reacted by clearly and powerfully supporting their government’s determination to use military force to stop such attacks and to prevent future ones. Most Americans also expressed a new unity, an explicit patriotism and love of their country not seen among us for a very long time.

That is not what we saw and heard from the faculties on most elite campuses in the country, and certainly not from the overwhelming majority of people designated as “intellectuals” who spoke up in public. They offered any and all explanations, so long as they indicated that the attackers were really victims, that the fault really rested with the United States.

As most of us have come to know too well, the terrorists of al Qaeda and other jihadists regard America as “the great Satan” and hate the U.S. not only because its power stands in the way of the achievement of their Islamist vision, but also because its free, open, democratic, tolerant, liberal and prosperous society is a powerful competitor for the allegiance of millions of Muslims around the world. No change of American policy, no retreat from the world, no repentance or increase of modesty can change these things.

Yet many members of the intelligentsia decried the outburst of patriotism that greeted the new assault on America. The critics were exemplified by author Katha Pollitt, who wrote in the Oct. 1, 2001, edition of the Nation about her daughter wanting to fly the American flag outside their window after 9/11. “Definitely not,” Ms. Pollitt replied. “The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war.”

Such ideas still have a wide currency, reflecting a serious flaw in American education that should especially concern those of us who take some part in it. The encouragement of patriotism is no longer a part of our public educational system, and the cost of that omission has made itself felt. This would have alarmed and dismayed the founders of our country.

Jefferson meant American education to produce a necessary patriotism. Democracy—of all political systems, because it depends on the participation of its citizens in their own government and because it depends on their own free will to risk their lives in its defense—stands in the greatest need of an education that produces patriotism.

I recognize that I have said something shocking. The past half-century has seen a sharp turn away from what had been traditional attitudes toward the purposes and functions of education. Our schools have retreated from the idea of moral education, except for some attempts at what is called “values clarification,” which is generally a cloak for moral relativism verging on nihilism of the sort that asserts that whatever feels good is good.

Even more vigorously have the schools fled from the idea of encouraging patriotism. In the intellectual climate of our time, the very suggestion brings contemptuous sneers or outrage, depending on the listener’s mood. There is no end of quoting Samuel Johnson’s famous remark that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” but no recollection of Boswell’s explanation that Johnson “did not mean a real and generous love for our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest.”

Many have been the attacks on patriotism for intolerance, arrogance and bellicosity, but that is to equate it with its bloated distortion, chauvinism. My favorite dictionary defines the latter as “militant and boastful devotion to and glorification of one’s country,” but defines a patriot as “one who loves, supports, and defends his country.”

That does not require us to denigrate or attack any other country, nor does it require us to admire our own uncritically. But just as an individual must have an appropriate love of himself if he is to perform well, an appropriate love of his family if he and it are to prosper, so, too, must he love his country if it is to survive. Neither family nor nation can flourish without love, support and defense, so that an individual who has benefited from those institutions not only serves his self-interest but also has a moral responsibility to give them his support.

Thus are assaults on patriotism failures of character. They are made by privileged people who enjoy the full benefits offered by the country they deride and detest, but they lack the basic decency to pay it the allegiance and respect that honor demands. But honor, of course, is also an object of their derision.

Every country requires a high degree of cooperation and unity among its citizens if it is to achieve the internal harmony that every good society requires. Most countries have relied on the common ancestry and traditions of their people as the basis of their unity, but the United States can rely on no such commonality. We are an enormously diverse and varied people, almost all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. The great strengths provided by this diversity are matched by great dangers. We are always vulnerable to divisions among us that can be exploited to set one group against another and destroy the unity and harmony that have allowed us to flourish.

We live in a time when civic devotion has been undermined and national unity is under attack. The idea of a common American culture, enriched by the diverse elements that compose it but available equally to all, is under assault, and attempts are made to replace it with narrower and politically divisive programs that are certain to set one group of Americans against another.

The answer to these problems and our only hope for the future must lie in education, which philosophers have rightly put at the center of the consideration of justice and the good society. We look to education to solve the pressing current problems of our economic and technological competition with other nations, but we must not neglect the inescapable political, and ethical, effects of education.

We in the academic community have too often engaged in miseducation. If we encourage separatism, we will get separation and the terrible conflict in society it will bring. If we encourage rampant individualism to trample on the need for a community and common citizenship, if we ignore civic education, the forging of a single people, the building of a legitimate patriotism, we will have selfish individuals, heedless of the needs of others, the war of all against all, the reluctance to work toward the common good and to defend our country when defense is needed.

 

The civic sense that America needs can come only from a common educational effort. In telling the story of the American political experience, we must insist on the honest search for truth; we must permit no comfortable self-deception or evasion, no seeking of scapegoats. The story of this country’s vision of a free, democratic republic and of its struggle to achieve it need not fear the most thorough examination and can proudly stand comparison with that of any other land.

In the long and deadly battle against those who hate Western ideals, and hate America in particular, we must be powerfully armed, morally as well as materially. To sustain us through the worst times we need courage and unity, and these must rest on a justified and informed patriotism.

 

 

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New College Board US History Framework Defames America

“Concerned citizens cannot allow the unelected, unaccountable College Board to force a biased course with a clear political agenda into American classrooms.”

 

Jane Robbins

Jane Robbins

By Larry Krieger and Jane Robbins

September 17, 2014

 

In an effort to prop up its anti-American history curriculum rewrite, the College Board has started a proxy war. Its staff have been marshaling their contact lists and holding private meetings to prompt education pundits and professors to publish articles defending a low-quality, high-animosity curriculum shift. But the College Board’s defenders employ half-truths and untruths.

State board of education members in Texas and state legislators in Tennessee are spearheading a national movement to roll back the new AP U. S. History (APUSH) Framework. The College Board, the creator and owner of this curriculum, has responded so far not with real changes that address the problems inherent to their rewrite, but with talking points. Everyone knows talking points are a superficial substitute for real answers. But if talking heads repeat a canned answer enough times, the public might be duped into accepting it as a fact.

Five Reasons The College Board’s U.S. History Talking Points Are Wrong

 

What This Is All About

We began our critique of the College Board’s redesigned APUSH Framework back in March. This is the U.S. history course that half a million of the nation’s brightest high school students take every year. For most students this is their first and last formal encounter with a comprehensive U.S. history course. The Framework document defines what the end-of-course exams will include and therefore what successful teachers must cover and successful students must learn. As with all AP courses, which are now a staple of U.S. high schools, students can typically earn college credit for exemplary exam performance.

The College Board’s ‘required knowledge’ focuses on identity group grievances, conflict, exploitation, and examples of oppression.

 

Instead of resorting to talking points, we documented our warning that “a dramatic, unilateral change is taking place in the content of the APUSH course.” We labeled the change a “curricular coup” because the new Framework replaced the previous and long-used five-page Topic Outline with its detailed (and growing) 142-page document that “defines, discusses, and interprets” what the College Board calls “the required knowledge for each period.”

The redesigned Framework usurps state curriculum standards by unilaterally decreeing what students should know with no public input or consent. State standards across America, while including the dark events in American history, also celebrate our nation’s founders, core values, and heroic servicemen and women. In contrast, the College Board’s “required knowledge” inculcates a consistently negative view of American history that focuses on identity group grievances, conflict, exploitation, and examples of oppression.

At first, the College Board ignored our criticisms. But an alarmed public (see here and here) heard us. Soon citizens across America began to question the Framework and see its many flaws. They were shocked and concerned to learn, among other flaws, that the new Framework omits pivotal heroes such as Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King Jr., while using a “transnational” or globalist perspective to reinterpret American history. After a long silence, the College Board unleashed a platoon of proxy warriors armed with an arsenal of canned talking points to disguise how unbalanced the new Framework actually is.

  1. Critics Are Not a ‘Small Fringe Group’

Instead of addressing the real issues of balance and academic quality, the proxy warriors began by attacking the people who dared to question the College Board. In a Texas Tribune article ironically titled “Putting Politics Ahead of Facts on AP U. S. History,” Susan Griffin, the executive director of the National Council of Social Studies, dismisses Framework critics as a “small fringe group” that deliberately misrepresents the Framework.

It is getting a bit crowded out here on the ‘fringe.’

 

Griffin has apparently not been closely following the growing chorus of Framework critics. It is getting a bit crowded out here on the “fringe.” Among those issuing substantive critiques are Dr. Peter Wood, (here) president of the National Association of Scholars; Dr. Ron Radosh, (here) a historian and fellow at the Hudson Institute; Dr. Stanley Kurtz, (here and here) an investigative journalist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center; and authors of a Pioneer Institute study on American history instruction (here): Dr. Ralph Ketcham, Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and a nationally respected scholar of James Madison (Madison, along with most of the Founding Fathers, doesn’t appear in the Framework); Dr. Anders Lewis, history department head at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Massachusetts; and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita at the University of Arkansas.

All of these scholars have criticized the new APUSH Framework for presenting a slanted, intellectually dishonest view of American history designed to showcase negative events while minimizing and often ignoring positive achievements. They have been joined by the Republican National Committee and a growing number of state legislators and school board members.

College Board opponents have credibility, and our numbers are growing.

  1. Persistent Negativity Is One-Sided

For five months, we critiqued the Framework while the College Board chose to ignore us. We pointed out what was wrong with the changes, including College Board’s failure to identify the people who actually wrote the new Framework. Finally, the APUSH Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee (nine college professors and high school teachers) published an open letter claiming authorship. They insisted their rewrite provides a “balanced” portrayal of American history. But “balance” would require the APUSH Framework to acknowledge both the nation’s founding principles and its continuing struggles to be faithful to those principles. The Framework manifestly does no such thing

The Framework ‘is relentless in castigating Europeans, particularly the English, as racist.’

 

We urge those who blindly accept the “balanced document” talking point to read the new Framework’s Concept Outline on pages 28 through 80. The Pioneer study authors did, and were appalled. They found the Framework “is relentless in castigating Europeans, particularly the English, as racist. The English, the curriculum notes, developed a ‘rigid racial hierarchy.’ It also notes the ‘strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority’ and the ‘racial stereotyping and the development of strict racial categories among British colonists…’” As these authors point out, the Framework either ignores or only briefly mentions the rise of democratic institutions, the emergence of a federal system of government, and the colonists’ growing commitment to religious freedom. The new “redesigned” APUSH course sidelines or utterly ignores these basic concepts that are essential to understanding U.S. history.

After surveying the Framework’s many biases and omissions, these scholars conclude (page 17): “The new APUSH curriculum represents the bad and the ugly but not the good of American history. The result is a portrait of America as a dystopian society—one riddled with racism, violence, hypocrisy, greed, imperialism, and injustice. Stories of national triumph, great feats of learning, and the legacies of some of America’s great heroes—men and women who overcame many obstacles to create a better nation—are either completely ignored or given brief mention.”

This negative account of American history did not happen by accident. Kurtz (here and here) has established a clear ideological link between the Framework authors, New York University history professor Thomas Bender, and University of Colorado history professor Fred Anderson. Bender and Anderson reject American exceptionalism. Bender considers American exceptionalism a “gross oversimplification” and calls for a new international, or global, perspective of American history. Anderson believes American exceptionalism is a myth that disguises America’s true imperialistic intentions.

Deeply influenced by both Bender and Anderson, the Framework authors removed virtually every example of American exceptionalism. While the Framework’s 52-page Concept Outline does have space to name 51 historic figures, it deliberately omits key leaders. Readers will also find that seminal expressions of American exceptionalism ranging from Winthrop’s “City Upon a Hill” sermon to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and even King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” have also been omitted.

The new Framework has a clear bias and left-leaning agenda. It’s that simple.

  1. Circumventing State Standards

The College Board knows its new Framework is not aligned with standards states have legally adopted as guides for U.S. history courses and exams. For example, a report commissioned by the College Board found that the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requires 181 elements from the Civil War to the present that are not in its APUSH Framework. An analysis of the Alabama Standards for U. S. History revealed 134 required elements that are not specifically mentioned in the new APUSH Framework.

Teachers and students will rightly conclude that the quickest way to a top score on the exam is to focus on the Framework, not on material from state standards.

 

For the College Board and its proxies, this content mismatch is a problem. What if citizens and state officials object to having their history standards usurped by the new Framework? So the proxies stress that the 142-page Framework “is not a curriculum.” They then repeat College Board President David Coleman’s chief talking point from an August email statement, his first public discussion of the matter: “it is just a framework, requiring teachers to populate it with content required by their local standards and priorities.”

Coleman’s “flexibility doctrine,” though, clashed with the categorical, bold-print statement on page two of the Framework: “Beginning with the May 2015 AP U.S. History Exam, no AP U.S. History question will require students to know historical content that falls outside this concept outline.” After months of ignoring this inherent contradiction, the College Board finally announced it would delete this statement. But everything else about the Framework remains the same: a new national curriculum overriding state standards, a deep leftist bias, and the essential structure of the exam, which allows students little or no opportunity to present content outside of the “required knowledge” of the Framework. Teachers and students will rightly conclude that the quickest way to a top score on the exam is to focus on the Framework, not on material from state standards.

The Framework circumvents state standards and is so fatally flawed that teachers cannot give kids good instruction when teaching this AP course.

  1. No Knowledge? No Problem!

College Board’s defenders invite people to examine the just-released APUSH sample exam, which they insist will provide “evidence of our determination that AP students must be exposed to a rich and inclusive body of historical knowledge.” Griffin proudly notes that the “first question on the exam highlights Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography.” And in a New York Times article, Dr. James R. Grossman adds, “For good measure, one can find Washington’s Farewell Address.”

But these talking points are highly misleading. The Franklin quote describes his impression of a sermon delivered by George Whitefield. The three questions accompanying this quote have nothing to do with Franklin’s life and achievements. If the quote had been from LeBron James, students would have approached the questions in exactly the same way. No knowledge of Benjamin Franklin is needed. And if Coleman and company want to suggest the sample exam does require knowledge of Franklin, how do they square that with the assurance that it won’t test content not contained in the Framework? Where does Franklin’s name appear in those pages? Oh, what a tangled web we weave…

The use of Washington’s Farewell Address illustrates the close link between the Framework and the sample exam. Viewed from the Framework’s globalist perspective agenda, Washington’s Farewell Address damaged American foreign policy. If one reads the sample exam, it appears its committee (which also includes Framework authors) did not select the Farewell Address to highlight one of Washington’s achievements. Instead, they chose it to illustrate the dangers of a foreign policy based solely on national interests. From their globalist perspective, the Farewell Address led to America’s disastrous refusal to join the League of Nations (Question 31) and was finally repudiated by America’s involvement in World War II and new commitment to a role in global affairs (Question 33).

The close link between the Framework’s biases and the exam is not limited to eighteenth-century Founders. The Framework informs readers, “President Ronald Reagan rejected détente with increased defense spending, military action, and bellicose rhetoric….” The sample exam then excerpts from Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech to guide students to conclude that Reagan’s speech “best reflects” his “increased assertiveness and bellicosity.”

In short, the sample exam confirms the pervasive biases found in the Framework.

  1. Survey Course Versus Boutique Leftist Seminar

Some proxy warriors suggest that teaching a broad perspective of American history is not the role of an APUSH course. (This argument contradicts the previous talking point that the Framework incorporates state history standards.) Instead, the proxy warriors argue, the course should assume students have already been exposed to the “facts” in their state standards and now are ready for instruction in the “historical thinking skills” that pass for scholarship in much of higher education. The New York Times article goes so far as to celebrate the new Framework’s focus on the kind of identity politics present in some leftist professors’ classes.

But this focus is not what APUSH has traditionally tried to accomplish, nor what a good advanced high school class should strive for. APUSH has always been a survey course in U.S. History that has allowed teachers to incorporate state standards to cover the breadth of information an educated American should have. Since APUSH is the only dedicated U.S. history class many students will ever take, its radical conversion to an ideological polemic cheats these students out of understanding the richness of their nation’s history.

High school courses should not be held hostage by a small group of revisionist college professors.

An Unprecedented Situation

College Board’s defenders seem to believe that repeating something endlessly will turn fiction into fact. But their talking points wilt under scrutiny. Talking points are fleeting; principles are enduring. We stand on two basic principles. First, we unalterably oppose the College Board’s attempt to reinvent American history for ideological purposes. Second, we support a balanced APUSH curriculum that includes a full presentation of America’s core values, key leaders, and seminal documents.

For all its sound and fury, the College Board has thus far refused to address our core criticisms. Concerned citizens cannot allow the unelected, unaccountable College Board to force a biased course with a clear political agenda into American classrooms. If the College Board is allowed to remain above the will of the people, it will become an unaccountable arbiter of a nationalized American history curriculum.

 

Larry Krieger is a retired, award-winning Advanced Placement history teacher, and an AP exam coach. Jane Robbins is a senior fellow for the American Principles Project.

 

 

 

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