by Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
“Dare to Think” a conference on history and American Exceptionalism organized by this publication and Clay County Superintendent Van Zant was the topic of a contentious Clay County, FL School Board meeting last night. Board members Janice Kerekes and Carol Studdard accused Superintendent Charlie Van Zant and Board member Johnna McKinnon of using school district funds in the amount of $2037 to pay the rent on the Thrasher Horne Center without Board approval. Kerekes and Studdard used willing media to say that Van Zant and McKinnon used school funds “as if it was their own checkbook.” They repeated this assertion over and over until Dr. Copeland, The Clay County Superintendent for Business Affairs contradicted Kerekes and Studdard.’
Dr. Copeland said to Kerekes and Studdard that Board members should stop making accusations of financial impropriety against Van Zant and McKinnon. He said: “You know that the Superintendent never intended to use school funds to pay for the center. It was always planned the Mr. Korach, Publisher of The Report Card planned to pay for the center. The center was paid because our office screwed up.” Dr. Copeland’s remarks effectively quashed Kerekes call for a special investigation into the matter.
Kerekes also accused the Publisher of The Report Card and Superintendent Van Zant of a planning a conference with a “Tea Party” agenda. Harry Parrot, leader of the Clay County Americans for the separation of church and state was put up by Kerekes to speak against the conference, saying “Dare to Think” has a religious and conservative political agenda.
Bill Korach, The Report Card’s publisher replied to the accusations saying:
“Second, I want to state unequivocally that “Dare to Think” is a non partisan conference on history and American exceptionalism. The conference is being held because the NAEP survey says that only 12% of high school students are proficient in American history, David McCullough Pulitzer Prize winning author of 1776 and John Adams said that American students are so ignorant of history that it’s a threat to national security. Will Fitzhugh, Publisher of the prestigious Concord Review, and a speaker at the conference says history is disappearing from many high schools and The New York Times reported that most 4th graders could not identify Abraham Lincoln. Student cannot learn citizenship unless they know their history. “Dare to Think” speakers are respected nationally, for example:
Paul Horton, speaking on textbooks, is a liberal democrat teaching at The University of Chicago Laboratory School, one of the finest secondary schools in the US
Dr. Peter Wood was a tenured professor at BU and a noted scholar on history and western civilization
Dr. Daniel Scoggin is CEO of Great Hearts one of the top performng Charters in America and a strong advocate of great books and study of western civilization
Kerekes and Teacher’s union representative Butler mocked the notion of Korach’s use of the term “American Exceptionalism.”
“American Exceptionalism is treasured American point of pride, not some word I just made up. Here is a brief history of its use:
- Coined by Alexis de Tocqueville in his book Democracy in America to describe what makes America unique and yes, the greatest country in the world
- America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” ~Harry Truman
- 28. “We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.” ~Mark Twain
- “Our citizenship in the United States is our national character. Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction. By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world. Our great title is AMERICANS…” ~Thomas Paine
- “I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit.” Theodore Roosevelt.
- Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood — the virtues that made America.” — Theodore Roosevelt
- Abraham Lincoln on newcomers to America: “If they look back to trace their connection to the American revolution by blood, …they have none. But when they read that old Declaration of Independence, “That we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal, then they feel related to those men, that it is the father of all moral principal, and they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that declaration…and so they are
21 spoke from the floor about “Dare to Think.” 16 spoke in support of the conference and 5 in opposition.