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Texas Board of Education Attacks the Enlightenment

“Texas Con­ser­v­a­tives Win Cur­ricu­lum Change” by James McKin­ley, Jr.; The New York Times; 3/12/2010.

Com­ment: Because of its size, Texas wields a dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly large influ­ence over school cur­ric­u­la. The Texas Board of Edu­ca­tion’s deci­sion to delete text­book ref­er­ences to Thomas Jef­fer­son in favor of men­tion of Thomas Aquinas and Jean Calvin will affect far more than the unfor­tu­nate pupils of  “Baja Okla­homa!”

After three days of tur­bu­lent meet­ings, the Texas Board of Edu­ca­tion on Fri­day approved a social stud­ies cur­ricu­lum that will put a con­ser­v­a­tive stamp on his­to­ry and eco­nom­ics text­books, stress­ing the supe­ri­or­i­ty of Amer­i­can cap­i­tal­ism, ques­tion­ing the Found­ing Fathers’ com­mit­ment to a pure­ly sec­u­lar gov­ern­ment and pre­sent­ing Repub­li­can polit­i­cal philoso­phies in a more pos­i­tive light. The vote was 10 to 5 along par­ty lines, with all the Repub­li­cans on the board vot­ing for it.

The board, whose mem­bers are elect­ed, has influ­ence beyond Texas because the state is one of the largest buy­ers of text­books. . . .

Even the course on world his­to­ry did not escape the board’s scalpel.

Cyn­thia Dun­bar, a lawyer from Rich­mond who is a strict con­sti­tu­tion­al­ist and thinks the nation was found­ed on Chris­t­ian beliefs, man­aged to cut Thomas Jef­fer­son from a list of fig­ures whose writ­ings inspired rev­o­lu­tions in the late 18th cen­tu­ry and 19th cen­tu­ry, replac­ing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Black­stone. (Jef­fer­son is not well liked among con­ser­v­a­tives on the board because he coined the term “sep­a­ra­tion between church and state.”)

“The Enlight­en­ment was not the only phi­los­o­phy on which these rev­o­lu­tions were based,” Ms. Dun­bar said.


9 comments for “Texas Board of Education Attacks the Enlightenment”

  1. Hav­ing just com­plet­ed a fair­ly detailed and thor­ough­ly researched his­tor­i­cal study enti­tled “The Lost World of Thomas Jef­fer­son,” I am struck by sev­er­al glar­ing areas for which I can­not help but shud­der in fear for the days ahead. First, Jef­fer­son­’s phi­los­o­phy and writ­ings (and the Jef­fer­so­ni­ans them­selves) are actu­al­ly sat­u­rat­ed with the omnipresent impor­tance of God. Orga­nized reli­gion how­ev­er, was to Jef­fer­son, like a King or a Cor­po­ra­tion– i.e a vehi­cle for the tyran­ny of mankind.
    Speak­ing of tyran­nies over mankind, I am dis­turbed by how igno­rant so many Amer­i­cans are about Amer­i­ca. The time to rec­og­nize the death of the Amer­i­can Repub­lic and it’s “dream” is omnipresent. I’d bet my home that not 1 of those 10 in favor read Jef­fer­son­’s volu­mi­nous mate­ri­als.
    So...this is Amer­i­ca. We will reduce our­selves to igno­rant serfs while wav­ing around Her­itage Foun­da­tion copies of the “Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence,” watch tea par­ties abound who could­n’t tell you what the Boston Tea par­ty was protest­ing, mean­while mak­ing Anti-Oba­ma/I heart Glenn Beck signs and cham­pi­oning cor­po­rate deregulation...and what bet­ter agit­prop to dis­tract the chil­dren from the biggest cor­po­rate crime in his­to­ry against the U.S. (and the world) by chang­ing the Sex Edu­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum to focus on teach­ing stu­dents the prop­er way to per­form fel­la­tio on the Cap­i­tal­ist phal­lus...
    ...how long before our cal­en­dars have an offi­cial day of the apoc­a­lypse marked(with what­ev­er comes after blank as their brains...)

    Posted by Ruairi MacDonaill | March 22, 2010, 4:29 am
  2. Huh, so it turns out col­lege is a com­mu­nist con­spir­a­cy:

    Michi­gan Tea Partiers Share Rick Santorum’s Fears Over Obama’s Col­lege Push

    Evan McMor­ris-San­toro Feb­ru­ary 25, 2012, 5:25 PM

    TROY, MICHIGAN — Rick Santorum’s con­tention here Sat­ur­day that Pres­i­dent Obama’s plan to make col­lege more acce­si­ble is real­ly a scheme to brain­wash peo­ple into becom­ing lib­er­als may have struck some out­side observers as a lit­tle odd.

    But for the tea par­ty crowd gath­ered here as part of an Amer­i­cans For Pros­per­i­ty ral­ly, Santorum’s words about high­er edu­ca­tion were right on point.

    “Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wants every­body in Amer­i­ca to go to col­lege,” San­to­rum said. “What a snob!”

    San­to­rum start­ed by say­ing some peo­ple don’t need to go to col­lege: “Not all folks are gift­ed the same way. Some peo­ple have incred­i­ble gifts with their hands.” He then sug­gest­ed there was an sin­is­ter motive behind Obama’s push to get more Amer­i­cans in col­lege class­rooms.

    “There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some lib­er­al col­lege pro­fes­sor… That’s why he wants you to go to col­lege. He wants to remake you in his image,” San­to­rum said. “I want to cre­ate jobs so peo­ple can remake their chil­dren into their image, not his.”

    Red meat, yes. But still not some­thing you hear a lot on the cam­paign (though Santorum’s used the line before). So I set out into the crowd­ed ball­room to find out just what the peo­ple the AFP crowd thought of Santorum’s attack line.

    Turns out they quite liked it.

    “I thought that was bril­liant,” said Ang­ie Clement of Com­merce, Mich. “Not every­body has to go to col­lege. We need garbage­men, we need welders, car­pen­ters.”

    “Every­body can’t be equal,” agreed Paul Mur­row of Mil­ford, MI seat­ed near­by. “Some­body needs to do the man­u­al labor.”

    Clement’s hus­band, Stephen, said San­to­rum was right on the mark when he said that Oba­ma wants to send kids to get col­lege degrees so as to pro­duce more lib­er­als.


    They all agreed that col­lege can help some peo­ple — but they also agreed that uni­ver­si­ties are basi­cal­ly social­ism fac­to­ries.

    “They try and dis­guise it with, you know, ‘equal oppor­tu­ni­ty’…” Stephen Clement began.

    “It’s com­mu­nism,” Mur­row said, cut­ting him off. “The pro­fes­sors are all teach­ing the kids…”

    “Where does the social engi­neer­ing stop?” Clement jumped back in, fired up. “Does it stop after we send every­body to col­lege, or does it stop after we set their cur­ricu­lum and said, ‘these are the things you’re allowed to study?’ Does it become the Sovi­et Union?”

    I think Ricky might be try to get some of that sweet sweet Thiel scratch (ok, prob­a­bly not, but who knows).

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 25, 2012, 3:37 pm
  3. The Texas Board of Edu­ca­tion’s text­book cur­ricu­lum com­mit­tee had bet­ter watch out. It has com­pe­ti­tion. Ok, it’s not real­ly com­pe­ti­tion. It’s more like help, although there might be some com­pe­ti­tion over who can please the Kochs the most:

    NC edu­ca­tion depart­ment used Koch-fund­ed group for pro­posed his­to­ry lessons

    By Lynn Bon­ner

    Decem­ber 3, 2014

    State high school social stud­ies teach­ers would be encour­aged to use cur­ricu­lum mate­ri­als pre­pared by an insti­tute fund­ed by the con­ser­v­a­tive Koch fam­i­ly, under a pro­pos­al the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Instruc­tion pre­sent­ed Wednes­day.

    The Bill of Rights Insti­tute, based in Vir­ginia, had a $100,000, sole-source con­tract with the state to help devel­op mate­ri­als for teach­ers to use in a course on found­ing prin­ci­ples that the state requires stu­dents to take. The insti­tute was found­ed in 1999 and receives grants from David H. Koch, the Charles Koch Foun­da­tion, and the Fred and Mary Koch Foun­da­tion, accord­ing to a web­site on Koch fam­i­ly phil­an­thropies.

    The state Depart­ment of Pub­lic Instruc­tion deci­sion to “high­ly rec­om­mend” that school dis­tricts use the Bill of Rights Insti­tute mate­r­i­al comes as the state is embroiled in a con­tro­ver­sy over teach­ing his­to­ry – whether schools have stu­dents study the found­ing prin­ci­ples as the law requires, whether AP U.S. His­to­ry meets those require­ments and whether the col­lege-lev­el course devel­oped by the Col­lege Board has a lib­er­al bias.

    The 390-page found­ing prin­ci­ples cur­ricu­lum includes read­ings, activ­i­ties, ques­tions stu­dents should dis­cuss and ref­er­ences to online resources for the 10 prin­ci­ples described in a 2011 law inspired by pro­posed leg­is­la­tion pro­mot­ed by the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil, a con­ser­v­a­tive group backed by major cor­po­ra­tions.

    June Atkin­son, state school super­in­ten­dent and a Demo­c­rat, said the state looked for groups that could help write the found­ing prin­ci­ples cur­ricu­lum but found only the Bill of Rights Insti­tute. The insti­tute did not return phone calls.

    The insti­tute col­lab­o­rat­ed with state edu­ca­tors, Atkin­son said, and they request­ed feed­back from teach­ers, who reviewed the work and sug­gest­ed changes.

    “It wasn’t a carte blanche, we’ll take what you have,” she said. “We want­ed a bal­anced approach.”

    But his­to­ry teach­ers said in inter­views Wednes­day that they already have a wealth of resources avail­able for teach­ing the found­ing prin­ci­ples. Some said it was not appro­pri­ate for a Koch-con­nect­ed group to write pub­lic school course mate­ri­als, and none knew that the state had hired the insti­tute to devel­op a cur­ricu­lum.

    Charles and David Koch are active in con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics and finance an expan­sive polit­i­cal net­work.

    Peo­ple whose “prin­ci­pal con­cern is prof­it-mak­ing” should not devel­op cur­ricu­lum, said Bryan Prof­fitt, a his­to­ry teacher at Hill­side High School in Durham. Cur­ricu­lum should be devel­oped “in a demo­c­ra­t­ic fash­ion” by peo­ple clos­est to the class­room, he said.

    State edu­ca­tion offi­cials main­tain that a required course on civics and eco­nom­ics cov­ers the found­ing prin­ci­ples as the law intend­ed. To empha­size the point, DPI is rec­om­mend­ing that the name of the course be changed to “Amer­i­can His­to­ry: The Found­ing Prin­ci­ples, Civics and Eco­nom­ics.” DPI staff gave the State Board of Edu­ca­tion its rec­om­men­da­tions Wednes­day.

    State leg­is­la­tors, edu­ca­tion lead­ers and board of edu­ca­tion mem­bers have spent this week talk­ing about found­ing prin­ci­ples, AP U.S. His­to­ry and require­ments under state law. Lar­ry Krieger, a lead­ing crit­ic of AP U.S. His­to­ry, spoke to leg­is­la­tors and school board mem­bers Mon­day, say­ing the course does not meet state require­ments. Krieger also argues that the course has a lib­er­al bias. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Col­lege Board said the course meets the require­ments.


    Lar­ry Krieger, the North Car­oli­na-based “lead­ing crit­ic” of AP U.S. His­to­ry cours­es, might be wag­ing this fight in North Car­oli­na at the moment, bu t keep in mind that Krieger’s influ­ence isn’t lim­it­ed to North Car­oli­na. He’s got pow­er­ful allies. Like the RNC:

    Con­ser­v­a­tives Mad About the New AP His­to­ry Course
    By Pema Levy 8/14/14 at 10:23 AM

    As a high school his­to­ry teacher for more than 40 years, Lar­ry S. Krieger felt it was his duty to teach his stu­dents what made Amer­i­ca great.

    Before retir­ing in 2005, Krieger, 66, liked to begin his Advanced Place­ment U.S. His­to­ry (APUSH) course each year with the sto­ry of John Winthrop, the ear­ly Puri­tan leader who famous­ly called the new colonies a “city upon a Hill.”

    “It sets the theme of Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism and the ideals of this coun­try,” Krieger explained last week. He believed the tax­pay­ers of New Jer­sey, where he spent most his long teach­ing career, weren’t pay­ing him to be sub­ver­sive or revi­sion­ist.

    So Krieger was hor­ri­fied last Sep­tem­ber when he read the new frame­work for APUSH, a course taught to around 500,000 high school juniors every year. It didn’t men­tion Winthrop, or Thomas Jef­fer­son, or even Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. Instead, Krieger read the new framework—which takes effect this fall—as push­ing a revi­sion­ist view of Amer­i­can his­to­ry that elides hero­ic indi­vid­u­als and empha­sizes oppres­sion and con­flict.

    Krieger got angry, then decid­ed to fight back. For months he’s been rais­ing aware­ness about the new cur­ricu­lum. He has con­ser­v­a­tive activists on his side and just last week won the offi­cial sup­port of the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    The Col­lege Board, the non­prof­it that admin­is­ters Advanced Place­ment (AP) tests as well as the SAT, designed the new APUSH frame­work to fos­ter crit­i­cal think­ing skills. The lengthy doc­u­ment out­lines how the end-of-year AP exam, which typ­i­cal­ly earns well-per­form­ing high school stu­dents col­lege cred­it, will test skills such as “peri­odiza­tion,” “con­tex­tu­al­iza­tion,” and “com­par­i­son,” and themes, such as “iden­ti­ty,” “work, exchange, and tech­nol­o­gy,” and “Amer­i­ca in the world.”

    In teach­ing these new themes and skills, the frame­work is not meant to exclude any fig­ures or events but give teach­ers the “flex­i­bil­i­ty across nine dif­fer­ent peri­ods of U.S. his­to­ry to teach top­ics of their choice in depth.”

    On its web­site, the Col­lege Board stress­es that it revised the APUSH frame­work based on input from thou­sands of teach­ers. “The teach­ers and pro­fes­sors par­tic­i­pat­ing in the AP U.S. His­to­ry pro­gram expressed strong con­cerns that the course required a breath­less race through Amer­i­can his­to­ry, pre­vent­ing teach­ers and stu­dents from exam­in­ing top­ics of local inter­est in depth, and sac­ri­fic­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to engage in writ­ing and research,” the site reads.

    But Krieger is con­vinced that the fact that the frame­work fails to men­tion most of America’s great­est his­tor­i­cal fig­ures by name means that they won’t be on the test and there­fore won’t be taught. And he’s aghast that events and themes he always con­sid­ered part of America’s great­ness appear in the frame­work as, well, not so great.

    “As I read through the doc­u­ment, I saw a con­sis­tent­ly neg­a­tive view of Amer­i­can his­to­ry that high­lights oppres­sors and exploiters,” Krieger said on a con­fer­ence call spon­sored by two con­ser­v­a­tive groups fight­ing the new APUSH frame­work. He read quotes from the frame­work to illus­trate his point: “Instead of striv­ing to build a city on a hill, accord­ing to the Frame­work our nation’s Founders are por­trayed as big­ots who ‘devel­oped a belief in white superiority’—that’s a quote—that was in turn derived from ‘a strong belief in British racial and cul­tur­al supe­ri­or­i­ty’ and that of course led to ‘the cre­ation of a rigid racial hier­ar­chy.”

    To his con­tin­ued hor­ror, Man­i­fest Des­tiny suf­fered the same fate as the Founders. An idea Krieger taught for years as “the belief that Amer­i­ca had a mis­sion to spread democ­ra­cy and new tech­nol­o­gy across the con­ti­nent” was described in the frame­work as “built on a belief in white racial supe­ri­or­i­ty and a sense of Amer­i­can cul­tur­al supe­ri­or­i­ty.”

    Per­haps most dispir­it­ing to Krieger was the framework’s treat­ment of World War II. “There’s no dis­cus­sion what­so­ev­er of the val­or or hero­ism of Amer­i­can sol­diers,” Krieger said on the call. He then quot­ed from the frame­work: “Wartime expe­ri­ences such as the intern­ment of Japan­ese Amer­i­cans, chal­lenges to civ­il lib­er­ties, debates over race and seg­re­ga­tion, and the deci­sion to drop the atom­ic bomb raised ques­tions about Amer­i­can val­ues.”

    .Angry over the new guide­lines, Krieger turned to the Inter­net, where he came across a YouTube video of con­ser­v­a­tive edu­ca­tion activist and attor­ney Jane Rob­bins, who is work­ing to stop the adop­tion of the Com­mon Core edu­ca­tion­al stan­dards across the coun­try. He reached out to her in Novem­ber of 2013. By this spring, the two had become a team, draft­ing an open let­ter to the Col­lege Board (as of the time of writ­ing it had 1,136 sig­na­tures) and pub­lish­ing op-eds on con­ser­v­a­tive news sites oppos­ing the new cur­ricu­lum. Robbin’s group, the Amer­i­can Prin­ci­ples Project, and the con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian group Con­cerned Women for Amer­i­ca (CWA) have tak­en up the cause—and spon­sored last week’s con­fer­ence call.

    Their cause has also been adopt­ed by the con­ser­v­a­tive Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schol­ars, which push­es against mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism in high­er edu­ca­tion. The group’s pres­i­dent, Peter Wood, called the frame­work polit­i­cal­ly biased. One of his many com­plaints is about immi­gra­tion: “Where APUSH sees ‘new migrants’ sup­ply­ing ‘the econ­o­my with an impor­tant labor force,’ oth­ers with equal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion see the rapid growth of a pop­u­la­tion that dis­places native-born work­ers from low-wage jobs and who are also heav­i­ly depen­dent on pub­lic ser­vices and trans­fer pay­ments.”

    Krieger and Robbins’s work got its biggest boost yet last Fri­day when the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee (RNC) adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion call­ing the new frame­work “a rad­i­cal­ly revi­sion­ist view of Amer­i­can his­to­ry.” The res­o­lu­tion, draft­ed large­ly by Rob­bins, urged the Col­lege Board to delay imple­men­ta­tion until a new frame­work could be drawn up and called on Con­gress to inves­ti­gate the frame­work and with­hold fed­er­al fund­ing from the Col­lege Board until the frame­work was changed. It was approved unan­i­mous­ly.


    With the RNC final­ly on board, the Col­lege Board respond­ed to the cam­paign ear­ly this week. In a let­ter, Cole­man was care­ful to dis­tance him­self from the standards—he wasn’t pres­i­dent when they were adopt­ed and he didn’t help draft them—but he describes con­ser­v­a­tives’ anger over the frame­work as based on a “sig­nif­i­cant mis­un­der­stand­ing.”

    “Just like the pre­vi­ous frame­work, the new frame­work does not remove indi­vid­u­als or events that have been taught by AP teach­ers in pri­or years,” he said. “Instead, it is just a frame­work, requir­ing teach­ers to pop­u­late it with con­tent required by their local stan­dards and pri­or­i­ties.”

    The Col­lege Board also released to the pub­lic a sam­ple test based on the new frame­work, to prove that they are not exclud­ing any­one from being taught in APUSH cours­es. But when Newsweek reached Krieger by phone this week, he said the sam­ple test in no way allayed his con­cerns. In fact, Krieger explained, the sam­ple test is evi­dence of the framework’s “revi­sion­ist, pro­gres­sive bias.”

    Krieger demon­strat­ed his find­ings by going through the sam­ple test, begin­ning with the mul­ti­ple choice sec­tion of the test. In this, stu­dents are giv­en a prompt or “stimulus,”—a quote, an image, or a graph, for example—then asked sev­er­al mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions about it. Krieger’s first exam­ple is a pho­to­graph by jour­nal­ist Jacob Riis, who famous­ly drew atten­tion to the squalid liv­ing con­di­tions in New York City’s ten­e­ment hous­ing in his 1890 book “How the Oth­er Half Lives”—a sta­ple of U.S. his­to­ry cours­es.

    The pho­to in the sam­ple test like­wise depicts late-19th cen­tu­ry pover­ty in New York. The first ques­tion is, “Con­di­tions like those shown in the image con­tributed most direct­ly to which of the fol­low­ing?” The cor­rect answer is, “An increase in Pro­gres­sive reform activ­i­ty.”

    “That’s his­tor­i­cal­ly true but note that pro­gres­sives are going to be the heroes in this nar­ra­tive,” Krieger point­ed out.

    Then he moved onto the sec­ond ques­tion, which asked what caused the pover­ty in the pic­ture. The cor­rect answer is, “Low wages earned by work­ers in the late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry.” This was also true, Krieger allowed, but he felt many such work­ers, often immi­grants, were vic­tims of their own lim­it­ed skills and poor knowl­edge of Eng­lish, not any struc­tur­al injus­tices.

    Final­ly, Krieger gets to the third ques­tion: “Advo­cates for indi­vid­u­als such as those shown in the image would have most like­ly agreed with which of the fol­low­ing per­spec­tives?”

    Krieger read the cor­rect answer: “The answer is—and this is the clas­sic pro­gres­sive answer—‘Government should act to elim­i­nate the worst abus­es of indus­tri­al soci­ety.’”

    Krieger believes the answers are writ­ten to send kids a mes­sage. He stress­es that a wrong answer to the final ques­tion is, “Cap­i­tal­ism free of gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion would improve social conditions”—even though that would be the oppo­site of what the Pro­gres­sive move­ment believed.

    Krieger moved on to the next set of mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions, this time based on a 1909 quote from the pio­neer­ing envi­ron­men­tal­ist John Muir. The answers in this sec­tion hit on Muir’s belief that “gov­ern­ment should pre­serve wilder­ness areas” from “exploita­tion of west­ern land­scapes” and that this new envi­ron­men­tal­ism was opposed by “com­pa­nies involved in nat­ur­al resource extrac­tion.”

    This was not only true then, but you need look no fur­ther than bat­tles between the Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Sier­ra Club to see that the same dynam­ic per­sists today. Krieger even admits he per­son­al­ly agrees with Muir. But, he said, it’s not his job to “indoc­tri­nate kids.”

    “What we have here is a rep­e­ti­tion of a theme: There’s anoth­er prob­lem, the pro­gres­sives come to the res­cue, and who are the vil­lains?” he asks. “Well, Amer­i­can com­pa­nies are the vil­lains, of course.”

    It’s not hard to see why far right groups like the Con­cerned Women for Amer­i­ca (Phylis Schlafy’s group), the Amer­i­can Prin­ci­ples Project, and the RNC would be back­ing this Krieger guy. But when you read things like...

    Krieger moved on to the next set of mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions, this time based on a 1909 quote from the pio­neer­ing envi­ron­men­tal­ist John Muir. The answers in this sec­tion hit on Muir’s belief that “gov­ern­ment should pre­serve wilder­ness areas” from “exploita­tion of west­ern land­scapes” and that this new envi­ron­men­tal­ism was opposed by “com­pa­nies involved in nat­ur­al resource extrac­tion.”

    This was not only true then, but you need look no fur­ther than bat­tles between the Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Sier­ra Club to see that the same dynam­ic per­sists today. Krieger even admits he per­son­al­ly agrees with Muir. But, he said, it’s not his job to “indoc­tri­nate kids.”

    “What we have here is a rep­e­ti­tion of a theme: There’s anoth­er prob­lem, the pro­gres­sives come to the res­cue, and who are the vil­lains?” he asks. “Well, Amer­i­can com­pa­nies are the vil­lains, of course.”

    ...it’s pret­ty clear that the Kochs and the rest of their far right fel­low trav­el­ers have found their man for destroy­ing US his­to­ry class­es! Heck, he even agrees with the idea that “gov­ern­ment should pre­serve wilder­ness areas [from] exploita­tion of west­ern land­scapes” and yet oppos­es cur­ricu­lum that teach­es about fig­ures like John Muir who pro­mot­ed the idea because that would be indoc­tri­na­tion. Yes, the Kochs have their man.

    So get ready to hear more warn­ings from Lar­ry Krieger about the dan­gers of teach­ing high school kids about his­to­ry of the Pro­gres­sive move­ment and dan­ger­ous ideas like ‘Gov­ern­ment should act to elim­i­nate the worst abus­es of indus­tri­al soci­ety.’

    While this is all incred­i­bly depress­ing, keep in mind that the RNC and the Koch broth­ers aren’t sim­ply doing their best to destroy high school his­to­ry cur­ricu­lum. They’re also get awful­ly close to teach­ing these kids one of the most valu­able lessons they could pos­si­bly learn by the time they grad­u­ate high school: The oli­garchs run­ning this coun­try want to brain­wash your kids into being a clue­less pro­les.

    Seri­ous­ly, just imag­ine being in high school and find­ing out (on the inter­net or some­where) that two of the rich­est guys in the nation just trashed your edu­ca­tion for their per­son­al and cor­po­rate advan­tage. How is the rebel­lious teenage mind going to process that fun fact?

    Sure, there’s always been attempts by the pow­er­ful to manip­u­late edu­ca­tion, but it’s not nor­mal­ly this obvi­ous and easy to catch. In oth­er words, kids across North Car­oli­na are about to very direct les­son that the manip­u­la­tion of soci­ety by pow­er­ful forces isn’t just some­thing for the his­to­ry books, it’s hap­pen­ing to every­one today and the kids are one of the pri­ma­ry tar­gets. What an invalu­able life les­son for all those kids!

    Grant­ed, it would be a lot bet­ter if stu­dents were allowed to learn from text­books that weren’t tai­lor made for the per­pet­u­a­tion of a sui­ci­dal oli­garchy, but some of the most impor­tant lessons in life can’t be learned from a text­book. So....thanks for being so open about your pow­er mon­ger­ing Koch broth­ers!

    In relat­ed news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 5, 2014, 3:18 pm
  4. Here’s a clos­er look at North Car­oli­na’s new Koch-rricu­lum for kids:

    TPM DC
    The Con­ser­v­a­tive Ideas The Koch Broth­ers Want To Sneak Into Schools
    By Caitlin Mac­Neal
    Pub­lished­De­cem­ber 10, 2014, 12:59 PM EST

    The North Car­oli­na Depart­ment of Pub­lic Instruc­tion last week encour­aged high school teach­ers to use a his­to­ry cur­ricu­lum draft­ed by a group fund­ed by the con­ser­v­a­tive bil­lion­aire Koch broth­ers.

    The state leg­is­la­ture passed a law in 2011 requir­ing pub­lic schools in the state to offer a his­to­ry course on the “Found­ing Prin­ci­ples,” which was based on mod­el leg­is­la­tion from the con­ser­v­a­tive Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil (ALEC).

    The News and Observ­er report­ed that North Car­oli­na hired the Bill of Rights Insti­tute to write a his­to­ry cur­ricu­lum for teach­ers to fol­low, and that the Vir­ginia-based orga­ni­za­tion has received grants and dona­tions from Charles Koch and mul­ti­ple Koch groups.

    The deci­sion by the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Instruc­tion to “high­ly rec­om­mend” came just after the state Board of Edu­ca­tion dis­cussed the con­tro­ver­sy over the new AP U.S. His­to­ry exam, which con­ser­v­a­tives have crit­i­cized as neg­a­tive and unpa­tri­ot­ic.

    The 390 page doc­u­ment pro­duced by the Bill of Rights Insti­tute, along with some input from teach­ers in the state, unsur­pris­ing­ly cen­ters on the found­ing fathers and the doc­u­ments they penned.

    By focus­ing on the found­ing doc­u­ments like the Bill of Rights and the Con­sti­tu­tion, the course feeds the con­cept of “Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism,” a phrase favored by the con­ser­v­a­tives who hate the new AP His­to­ry exam. The course presents the found­ing doc­u­ments as a most­ly per­fect struc­ture on which Amer­i­ca was built.


    Lim­it­ed Gov­ern­ment

    Through­out the cur­ricu­lum, stu­dents are asked to tie lessons back to the con­cept of lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment, which the state’s 2011 bill calls for. And the cur­ricu­lum con­sis­tent­ly empha­sizes that the Bill of Rights was estab­lished to lim­it the gov­ern­ment.

    In a les­son on the “rule of law,” the cur­ricu­lum asks stu­dents to ana­lyze how the Con­sti­tu­tion serves to “ensure lib­er­ty and lim­it gov­ern­ment.” The doc­u­ment claims, “Rule of law is impor­tant because it lim­its the gov­ern­ment and the peo­ple under the same set of laws so that they can­not infringe upon rights.”

    The sec­tion on rule of law leaves out any dis­cus­sion of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence or the civ­il rights move­ment, rem­i­nis­cent of a Col­orado coun­ty school board­’s attempt to ensure its his­to­ry cur­ricu­lum does not “encour­age or con­done civ­il dis­or­der, social strife or dis­re­gard of the law.”

    Indi­vid­ual Respon­si­bil­i­ty


    The cur­ricu­lum intro­duces the mod­ule by ask­ing stu­dents to “chal­lenge pre­con­ceived notions about what free­dom means, and under­stand the way indi­vid­ual free­dom is inex­tri­ca­bly tied to per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty.”

    Stu­dents are then asked to artic­u­late the “impor­tance of civic virtue and indi­vid­ual respon­si­bil­i­ty in our soci­ety” and “eval­u­ate how free gov­ern­ment depends on cit­i­zens’ virtue.”

    In defin­ing “virtue,” the cur­ricu­lum tells stu­dents it’s okay to be judg­men­tal.

    “To fur­ther jus­tice, we must exer­cise judg­ment. In order to under­stand and eval­u­ate virtue, we must be will­ing to admire heroes and con­demn vil­lains. We must be will­ing to take a stand. A spe­cial chal­lenge today may be that many peo­ple do not wish to appear judg­men­tal, espe­cial­ly when anoth­er person’s actions do no harm to oth­ers,” the doc­u­ment reads.

    The Founders Weren’t Racist

    The cur­ricu­lum writ­ten by the Bill of Rights Insti­tute address­es the founders and slav­ery dur­ing a les­son on “inalien­able rights,” but the doc­u­ment jus­ti­fies the founders’ deci­sion to main­tain the insti­tu­tion of slav­ery.

    “Some say that the Declaration’s authors didn’t mean to include every­one when they wrote ‘all men are cre­at­ed equal.’ They say that Jef­fer­son and the Con­ti­nen­tal Con­gress just meant to include white men who owned prop­er­ty. But this is not true. Jef­fer­son and the Con­ti­nen­tal Con­gress did not believe that there was a nat­ur­al class of rulers, and they assert­ed that the colonists had the same right to rule them­selves as the peo­ple of Eng­land,” an essay in the cur­ricu­lum asserts.

    “Slav­ery was an impor­tant eco­nom­ic and social insti­tu­tion in the Unit­ed States,” the essay con­tin­ues. “The Founders under­stood that they would have to tol­er­ate slav­ery as part of a polit­i­cal com­pro­mise. They did not see a way to take fur­ther action against slav­ery in their life­times, though many freed their slaves after their deaths.”

    A sep­a­rate essay acknowl­edges that many of the founders, like George Wash­ing­ton, owned slaves. But this small unit gloss­es over the insti­tu­tion of slav­ery and how the nation was in fact found­ed with glar­ing inequal­i­ty.

    The Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment Has Too Much Pow­er

    The cur­ricu­lum con­stant­ly ques­tions how much pow­er and author­i­ty the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment should have and sub­tly asserts that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has gained too much pow­er since 1789.

    Dur­ing a les­son on incor­po­ra­tion, the process through which the Supreme Court extend­ed the Bill of Rights to the states, the cur­ricu­lum casts doubt on whether it was a smart move. The lan­guage in the doc­u­ment argues both for and against incor­po­ra­tion, but then men­tions the increase in Supreme Court cas­es since the Bill of Rights was extend­ed to gov­ern the states.

    “It seems that few­er peo­ple are mak­ing more deci­sions about the nature of our fun­da­men­tal rights,” the cur­ricu­lum reads.

    The cur­ricu­lum is also crit­i­cal of the the expand­ed use of the com­merce clause to jus­ti­fy actions by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    “Con­gress was now able to cre­ate laws reg­u­lat­ing, ban­ning, and sup­port­ing a wide range of activ­i­ties, and it did. Laws would be upheld as long as the Court was con­vinced that the reg­u­lat­ed activ­i­ties had a close and sub­stan­tial rela­tion to inter­state com­merce. Fed­er­al pow­er expand­ed dra­mat­i­cal­ly for the next fifty years,” the doc­u­ment reads, imply­ing that this could lead to abus­es of pow­er.


    So the Kochs and ALEC want to indoc­tri­nate school chil­dren into a world­view that sees the orig­i­nal struc­ture of the US gov­ern­ment as almost per­fect, where slav­ery was mere­ly “an impor­tant eco­nom­ic and social insti­tu­tion” that did­n’t reflect any sort of endem­ic racism. And once you accept all that, the his­to­ry of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence and the civ­il rights move­ment is kind of moot, so why both­er teach­ing it, right? And how can we get back to that state of near per­fec­tion? By cur­tail­ing fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions on inter­state com­merce, of course. Also, don’t for­get be judg­men­tal of peo­ple that aren’t harm­ing any­one, kids! It’s a virtue!

    Wow. Still, it’s a lit­tle sur­pris­ing there was­n’t any­thing about over­turn­ing the 17th amend­ment. It’s prob­a­bly tucked away in there some­where.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 12, 2014, 6:46 pm
  5. Knowl­ege isn’t pow­er. Know you know, FWIW:

    The New York Times
    Knowl­edge Isn’t Pow­er
    Paul Krug­man

    FEB. 23, 2015

    Reg­u­lar read­ers know that I some­times mock “very seri­ous peo­ple” — politi­cians and pun­dits who solemn­ly repeat con­ven­tion­al wis­dom that sounds tough-mind­ed and real­is­tic. The trou­ble is that sound­ing seri­ous and being seri­ous are by no means the same thing, and some of those seem­ing­ly tough-mind­ed posi­tions are actu­al­ly ways to dodge the tru­ly hard issues.

    The prime exam­ple of recent years was, of course, Bowles-Simp­son­ism — the diver­sion of elite dis­course away from the ongo­ing tragedy of high unem­ploy­ment and into the sup­pos­ed­ly cru­cial issue of how, exact­ly, we will pay for social insur­ance pro­grams a cou­ple of decades from now. That par­tic­u­lar obses­sion, I’m hap­py to say, seems to be on the wane. But my sense is that there’s a new form of issue-dodg­ing pack­aged as seri­ous­ness on the rise. This time, the eva­sion involves try­ing to divert our nation­al dis­course about inequal­i­ty into a dis­cus­sion of alleged prob­lems with edu­ca­tion.

    And the rea­son this is an eva­sion is that what­ev­er seri­ous peo­ple may want to believe, soar­ing inequal­i­ty isn’t about edu­ca­tion; it’s about pow­er.

    Just to be clear: I’m in favor of bet­ter edu­ca­tion. Edu­ca­tion is a friend of mine. And it should be avail­able and afford­able for all. But what I keep see­ing is peo­ple insist­ing that edu­ca­tion­al fail­ings are at the root of still-weak job cre­ation, stag­nat­ing wages and ris­ing inequal­i­ty. This sounds seri­ous and thought­ful. But it’s actu­al­ly a view very much at odds with the evi­dence, not to men­tion a way to hide from the real, unavoid­ably par­ti­san debate.

    The edu­ca­tion-cen­tric sto­ry of our prob­lems runs like this: We live in a peri­od of unprece­dent­ed tech­no­log­i­cal change, and too many Amer­i­can work­ers lack the skills to cope with that change. This “skills gap” is hold­ing back growth, because busi­ness­es can’t find the work­ers they need. It also feeds inequal­i­ty, as wages soar for work­ers with the right skills but stag­nate or decline for the less edu­cat­ed. So what we need is more and bet­ter edu­ca­tion.

    My guess is that this sounds famil­iar — it’s what you hear from the talk­ing heads on Sun­day morn­ing TV, in opin­ion arti­clesfrom busi­ness lead­ers like Jamie Dimon of JPMor­gan Chase, in “fram­ing papers” from the Brook­ings Institution’s cen­trist Hamil­ton Project. It’s repeat­ed so wide­ly that many peo­ple prob­a­bly assume it’s unques­tion­ably true. But it isn’t.

    For one thing, is the pace of tech­no­log­i­cal change real­ly that fast? “We want­ed fly­ing cars, instead we got 140 char­ac­ters,” the ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel has snarked. Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty growth, which surged briefly after 1995, seems to have slowed sharply.

    Fur­ther­more, there’s no evi­dence that a skills gap is hold­ing back employ­ment. After all, if busi­ness­es were des­per­ate for work­ers with cer­tain skills, they would pre­sum­ably be offer­ing pre­mi­um wages to attract such work­ers. So where are these for­tu­nate pro­fes­sions? You can find some exam­ples here and there. Inter­est­ing­ly, some of the biggest recent wage gains are for skilled man­u­al labor — sewing machine oper­a­tors, boil­er­mak­ers — as some man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­duc­tion moves back to Amer­i­ca. But the notion that high­ly skilled work­ers are gen­er­al­ly in demand is just false.

    Final­ly, while the education/inequality sto­ry may once have seemed plau­si­ble, it hasn’t tracked real­i­ty for a long time. “The wages of the high­est-skilled and high­est-paid indi­vid­u­als have con­tin­ued to increase steadi­ly,” the Hamil­ton Project says. Actu­al­ly, the infla­tion-adjust­ed earn­ings of high­ly edu­cat­ed Amer­i­cans have gone nowhere since the late 1990s.

    It may be pos­si­ble to do well job wise with­out a for­mal edu­ca­tion; but I would think it is high­ly unlike­ly. Ones chances of hav­ing the...

    So what is real­ly going on? Cor­po­rate prof­its have soared as a share of nation­al income, but there is no sign of a rise in the rate of return on invest­ment. How is that pos­si­ble? Well, it’s what you would expect if ris­ing prof­its reflect monop­oly pow­er rather than returns to cap­i­tal.

    As for wages and salaries, nev­er mind col­lege degrees — all the big gains are going to a tiny group of indi­vid­u­als hold­ing strate­gic posi­tions in cor­po­rate suites or astride the cross­roads of finance. Ris­ing inequal­i­ty isn’t about who has the knowl­edge; it’s about who has the pow­er.


    Well, at least we prob­a­bly should­n’t have to wor­ry about hear­ing that same stale argu­ment about how we would be liv­ing in a sea of shared pros­per­i­ty if only peo­ple would prop­er­ly edu­cate them­selves. The GOP stopped pre­tend­ing to even care about improv­ing access toa qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion years ago (ok, they still sort of pre­tend). Now it’s all about the false tax-cut induced aus­ter­i­ty, which means we hear less from politi­cians pre­tend­ing to care about edu­ca­tion and more about pre­tend­ing that we have no choice but to cut hearts and minds of the next gen­er­a­tion:

    GOP gov­er­nors want high­er edu­ca­tion cuts to recoup bud­get short­falls

    02/10/15 02:07 PM—Updated 02/10/15 03:30 PM
    By Suzy Khimm

    Fac­ing bud­get short­falls, a hand­ful of promi­nent Repub­li­cans gov­er­nors want to cut fund­ing for high­er edu­ca­tion to help make up the gap, while insist­ing that tax hikes are a non-starter.

    Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walk­er wants a $300 mil­lion fund­ing cut for high­er edu­ca­tion, and Gov. Bob­by Jin­dal has pro­posed the same lev­el of cuts in Louisiana. Ari­zona Gov. Doug Ducey wants at least a $75 mil­lion cut to high­er ed, and Kansas Gov. Sam Brown­back is aim­ing to cut $45 mil­lion from K‑12 schools and high­er edu­ca­tion com­bined.

    “The peo­ple of Wis­con­sin deserve a gov­ern­ment that is more effec­tive, more effi­cient and more account­able, and this plan pro­tects the tax­pay­ers and allows for a stronger UW Sys­tem in the future,” said Walk­er, who’s tying the cuts to greater auton­o­my for state uni­ver­si­ties. Both he and Jin­dal are under height­ened scruti­ny as they’re con­sid­er­ing pres­i­den­tial bids for 2016.

    State gov­ern­ments have large­ly recov­ered from the worst of the reces­sion, when falling rev­enues dec­i­mat­ed their bud­gets, and most have begun to restore fund­ing for high­er edu­ca­tion. But some state bud­gets are still strapped in part because of the enthu­si­asm Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have for new tax cuts and their reluc­tance to raise tax­es to make up for fis­cal short­falls.

    In Wis­con­sin, Walk­er has tar­get­ed high­er edu­ca­tion funds to make up for a $650 mil­lion bud­get gap that the state is fac­ing after its Repub­li­cans pushed through $2 bil­lion in tax cuts. Walk­er, in fact, pro­pos­es fur­ther prop­er­ty tax cuts in his lat­est bud­get, fur­ther reduc­ing rev­enue to the state cof­fers.

    Ari­zona Gov. Ducey’s bud­get also pre­serves major busi­ness tax cuts that the state had passed in 2011, despite calls by Democ­rats to reverse some of them to help address the state’s $1.5 bil­lion short­fall. “This pro­tects tax­pay­ers by reject­ing calls to raise tax­es. It asks all areas of gov­ern­ment to share in the work to devel­op and find sav­ings,” Ducey said.

    Jin­dal blamed Louisana’s bud­get woes on the steep, unex­pect­ed decline in oil prices in recent months. But oth­ers point out that the state’s fis­cal woes far pre­date the crash in oil prices — with some, such as fel­low Louisiana Repub­li­can Sen. David Vit­ter, accus­ing Jin­dal of exac­er­bat­ing the prob­lem by reck­less­ly expand­ing tax breaks.

    Kansas, mean­while, has been in fis­cal dis­ar­ray after Brown­back pushed through mas­sive tax cuts, cre­at­ing a huge bud­get short­fall and even lead­ing the state to be down­grad­ed by rat­ings agen­cies. While he’s pro­posed some tax increas­es, Brown­back is also rely­ing on the edu­ca­tion cuts to help make up the gap.

    In most of these states, the high­er edu­ca­tion cuts could mean high­er tuition and few­er ser­vices. As state sup­port has dwin­dled, pub­lic col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties have shift­ed the bur­den to stu­dents and their fam­i­lies. In 2012, mon­ey col­lect­ed from tuition exceed­ed state fund­ing for pub­lic col­leges nation­wide for the very first time, accord­ing to a Jan­u­ary report from the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office.

    “To com­pen­sate for lost state fund­ing, pub­lic col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties have both steeply increased tuition and pared back spend­ing, often in ways that com­pro­mise the qual­i­ty of the edu­ca­tion that they offer,” the Cen­ter for Bud­get and Pol­i­cy Pri­or­i­ties (CBPP) wrote in a report last year.

    In Wis­con­sin, Walk­er has tried to avoid the prob­lem by explic­it­ly pro­hibit­ing col­lege and uni­ver­si­ties to raise their tuition for the next two years, when his pro­posed bud­get cuts are sched­uled to take effect. That sim­ply means, how­ev­er, that the the state uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem will have to look for oth­er ways to save mon­ey.

    Walker’s bud­get would give the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin sys­tem greater lee­way to do so, grant­i­ng it more author­i­ty over con­struc­tion projects, con­tract­ing, and mer­it-based pay.

    His approach builds on broad­er crit­i­cism that col­lege and uni­ver­si­ties them­selves aren’t doing enough to become more cost-effec­tive, sim­ply pass­ing on cost of the cuts to stu­dents instead of embrac­ing broad­er reforms. “Until the 2008 reces­sion, insti­tu­tion­al spend­ing pat­terns showed more evi­dence of cost shift­ing and bud­get bal­anc­ing than cost reduc­tion or restruc­tur­ing,” the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of State Bud­get Offices said in a 2013 report. “Over time, spend­ing on instruc­tion has declined slight­ly, and admin­is­tra­tive and gen­er­al sup­port costs have increased.”


    Nation­wide, high­er edu­ca­tion fund­ing still hasn’t returned to pre-reces­sion lev­els in terms of spend­ing per capi­ta. Fund­ing increased 7% over­all last year, but it remained about 23% below 2008 lev­els, accord­ing to the CBPP.

    Yes, while it’s clear that a “skills gap” is not the cause of stag­nat­ing wages and ris­ing inequal­i­ty, as so many “seri­ous peo­ple” would have you believe, that still does­n’t mean we don’t need an edu­cat­ed pop­u­lace in order to have a func­tion­al soci­ety...quite the oppo­site. But it does mean that hav­ing an edu­ca­tion that gives you use­ful skills in no way ensures that you’ll be com­pen­sat­ed enough for putting those skills to work to even achieve a mid­dle-class lifestyle these days, let along ris­ing wages. Decades of stag­nant incomes and an econ­o­my increas­ing­ly con­cen­trat­ed in the hands of the oli­garchs does that to the val­ue of the edu­ca­tion.

    So let’s hope there’s a big push to expand edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties because the US soci­ety actu­al­ly val­ues hav­ing an edu­cat­ed cit­i­zen­ry and not as some sort of mag­i­cal inequal­i­ty panacea Let’s also hope any efforts to increase access to edu­ca­tion take a “pay it for­ward” approach to financ­ing instead of the “pay it back (wiht inter­est)” mod­el that dom­i­nates the col­lege expe­ri­ence today. Just because the right-wing has under­mined the notion that expand­ing edu­ca­tion­al access with lead to both a clos­ing “skills gap” AND a clos­ing inequal­i­ty gap AND dri­ve the econ­o­my does­n’t mean there aren’t ways we could achieve all of those goals simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.

    Although, keep in mind that,even if we pulled all that off and pro­vid­ed free uni­ver­sal edu­ca­tion for all, find­ing a new social con­tract that works for every­one in an era when edu­ca­tion has less and less val­ue is still going to be nec­es­sary.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 23, 2015, 1:51 pm
  6. If you thought the GOP’s war on school lunch­es for poor kids was unap­pe­tiz­ing, Indi­ana Supreme Court just gave the green light to a whole new strat­e­gy for ensur­ing chil­dren from homes with the great­est finan­cial resources learn even more pover­ty-relat­ed life lessons: Pay-for-ser­vice pri­va­tized school bus­es:

    Indi­ana Supreme Court: Schools don’t have to bus stu­dents

    Jus­tices rule that state con­sti­tu­tion does­n’t require schools to pro­vide trans­porta­tion.
    Kris Turn­er, 5:44 p.m. EDT March 24, 2015

    The Indi­ana Supreme Court ruled Tues­day that pub­lic schools are not con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly required to bus stu­dents to and from school.

    The rul­ing fur­ther clar­i­fies state law, which already per­mit­ted pub­lic school cor­po­ra­tions to opt out of pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion ser­vices.

    The case stems from a deci­sion by Franklin Town­ship Com­mu­ni­ty Schools to dis­con­tin­ue free bus ser­vice in the 2011-12 school year. Par­ents, upset by the dis­tric­t’s action, filed a class-action law­suit based on the premise that stu­dents had a con­sti­tu­tion­al right to bus ser­vice.

    The dis­trict, which was fac­ing severe finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties, cut its free bus­ing pro­gram because it could no longer afford it, Franklin Town­ship Super­in­ten­dent Flo­ra Reichanadter said. It rein­stat­ed the pro­gram the fol­low­ing year after changes to state law allowed the dis­trict to restruc­ture its debt.

    Last June, the Indi­ana Court of Appeals found the school dis­trict vio­lat­ed the con­sti­tu­tion when it stopped pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion to and from school. But the Supreme Court jus­tices reject­ed that, say­ing that although the con­sti­tu­tion refers to a free pub­lic edu­ca­tion, “the framers did not intend for every aspect of pub­lic edu­ca­tion to be free.”

    “This court does not dis­pute that being present at school is nec­es­sary to avail one­self of the ben­e­fits of the edu­ca­tion offered there. How­ev­er, that does not nec­es­sar­i­ly lead to the con­clu­sion that the school cor­po­ra­tion alone must pro­vide trans­porta­tion under the Edu­ca­tion Clause,” Jus­tice Steven David wrote.

    The unan­i­mous rul­ing said the court has “nei­ther the abil­i­ty nor the duty” to estab­lish require­ments for school sys­tems, a duty that falls to law­mak­ers and state code.

    “It will inevitably require some fam­i­lies to make alter­na­tive accom­mo­da­tions, but it will not close the school­house doors,” David wrote of Tues­day’s deci­sion.

    “Obvi­ous­ly, it affirms our case that we indeed were not act­ing in an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al way when we had to make the tough deci­sion to elim­i­nate bus ser­vice,” Reichanadter said.

    Lora Hoagland, one of the plain­tiffs in the law­suit, said she wor­ries that the rul­ing opens the door for pub­lic school dis­tricts to be fis­cal­ly irre­spon­si­ble.

    “Pri­or to the rul­ing, there were many dis­tricts that were talk­ing about dis­con­tin­u­ing bus­ing, and they were wait­ing for the rul­ing to do so,” she said.

    Under state law, schools can dis­con­tin­ue trans­porta­tion ser­vices if they pro­vide three years notice to the pub­lic or are grant­ed a waiv­er by the Indi­ana Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion.

    In Franklin Town­ship’s case, the dis­trict switched to a pay-for-ser­vice bus sys­tem that was lat­er barred under state law. School cor­po­ra­tions that pro­vide bus­ing must do so free of charge.

    Although the dis­trict brought back bus­ing, Reichanadter said, it will con­tin­ue to face fis­cal pres­sure — like many oth­ers across the state — because of state-man­dat­ed prop­er­ty tax caps. The school cor­po­ra­tion is short $18 mil­lion a year because of the caps, she said.

    Local prop­er­ty tax rev­enues pay for school dis­tricts’ trans­porta­tion and facil­i­ties costs.


    OK, so...:


    “Pri­or to the rul­ing, there were many dis­tricts that were talk­ing about dis­con­tin­u­ing bus­ing, and they were wait­ing for the rul­ing to do so,” she said.


    Under state law, schools can dis­con­tin­ue trans­porta­tion ser­vices if they pro­vide three years notice to the pub­lic or are grant­ed a waiv­er by the Indi­ana Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion.

    In Franklin Town­ship’s case, the dis­trict switched to a pay-for-ser­vice bus sys­tem that was lat­er barred under state law. School cor­po­ra­tions that pro­vide bus­ing must do so free of charge.

    Although the dis­trict brought back bus­ing, Reichanadter said, it will con­tin­ue to face fis­cal pres­sure — like many oth­ers across the state — because of state-man­dat­ed prop­er­ty tax caps. The school cor­po­ra­tion is short $18 mil­lion a year because of the caps, she said.

    So, assum­ing that state law changes that barred the pay-for-ser­vice bus­es (seems like­ly at this point), it sounds like pri­va­tized school bus­es are com­ing to the state of Indi­ana! At least to the poor­er coun­ties with­out a sub­stan­tial prop­er­ty-tax base. Maybe they could get some of the high-school seniors to dri­ve the bus­es. That might find some sup­port in the leg­is­la­ture (it’s worth a try!).

    Bar­ring that, hope­ful­ly at least some of the kids will be able to take pub­lic trans­porta­tion as a cheap­er alter­na­tive to the pay-for-ser­vice pri­va­tized ser­vice. Hope­ful­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 25, 2015, 9:37 am
  7. The Col­lege Board just revised the stan­dards for the US advanced place­ment his­to­ry exam. Why the revi­sions? Because Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee and groups of right-wing activists demand­ed it. It turns out the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Ronald Rea­gan’s Cold War rhetoric as, at times, “bel­li­cose” was some­how inac­cu­rate:

    TPM News
    Rea­gan No Longer ‘Bel­li­cose’ In Revised AP US His­to­ry Stan­dards

    By Caitlin Mac­Neal
    Pub­lished July 30, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT

    After about a year of crit­i­cism from con­ser­v­a­tives tar­get­ing the Col­lege Board­’s “revi­sion­ist” course frame­work for the advanced place­ment U.S. his­to­ry exam, the com­pa­ny on Thurs­day released new revi­sions to the course stan­dards to address cer­tain com­plaints.

    The Col­lege Board described the new stan­dards in a Thurs­day state­ment as “a clear­er and more bal­anced approach to the teach­ing of Amer­i­can his­to­ry.” After con­stant con­cern from crit­ics over the AP U.S. His­to­ry stan­dards, the Col­lege Board said it took pub­lic feed­back into account when draft­ing this lat­est revi­sion. The Col­lege Board attempt­ed to address those con­cerns by mak­ing state­ments in the stan­dards “clear­er and more his­tor­i­cal­ly pre­cise, and less open to mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion or per­cep­tions of imbal­ance,” accord­ing to the state­ment.

    In addi­tion to attempt­ing to address broad con­cerns about imbal­ance, the Col­lege Board also added a few terms that crit­ics com­plained were lack­ing from the new frame­work, such as the names of some Found­ing Fathers. And the com­pa­ny elim­i­nat­ed some con­tro­ver­sial words and soft­ened the tone of the frame­work, accord­ing to Jon But­ler, his­to­ri­an who con­sult­ed for Col­lege Board as they revised the frame­work in 2015.

    For exam­ple, the 2014 frame­work, which was released in 2012, described for­mer Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan as using “bel­li­cose rhetoric.” And the new 2015 ver­sion elim­i­nates the word “bel­li­cose,” But­ler told TPM on Thurs­day.

    “That lan­guage has been elim­i­nat­ed. It nev­er should have been in there in the first place, and it cer­tain­ly shouldn’t have been in the frame­work as a state­ment of fact,” accord­ing to But­ler.

    But­ler said the word “bel­li­cose” as used to describe Rea­gan was one of the most com­mon com­plaints, par­tic­u­lar­ly from con­ser­v­a­tives. The revised frame­work now says, “Rea­gan assert­ed U.S. oppo­si­tion to com­mu­nism through speech­es, diplo­mat­ic efforts, lim­it­ed mil­i­tary inter­ven­tions, and a buildup of nuclear and con­ven­tion­al weapons.”

    Aside from com­plaints about par­tic­u­lar descrip­tions or key words, per­haps one of the biggest com­plaints about the 2014 frame­work, par­tic­u­lar­ly from con­ser­v­a­tives, was that the stan­dards were too neg­a­tive and lacked an empha­sis on “Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism.”

    The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, as well as school boards and leg­is­la­tors in numer­ous states, includ­ing Okla­homa, Geor­gia and Col­orado, decried the 2014 frame­work as “rad­i­cal­ly revi­sion­ist” and “con­sis­tent­ly neg­a­tive.”

    Newsweek report­ed that the new 2015 stan­dards empha­size Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism with a new sec­tion on the top­ic.

    The phrase “Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism” appears once in the new frame­work as part of a sec­tion on “Amer­i­can and Nation­al Iden­ti­ty.” But accord­ing to But­ler, the revi­sions do not do much to address con­cerns about “Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism.”

    “I don’t think there’s that much dif­fer­ence between [the two frame­works] on this par­tic­u­lar ques­tion,” he said. “The frame­work has an empha­sis on ‘Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism’ that it’s always had, and I would reject the crit­i­cism that it nev­er did have it.”

    As for the crit­i­cism that the stan­dards taught an over­ly neg­a­tive ver­sion of Amer­i­can his­to­ry, But­ler said that cer­tain dif­fi­cult issues sim­ply need to be taught.

    “We can’t go into a high school class­room or a col­lege class­room and offer a his­to­ry that only dis­cuss­es the glo­ries of Amer­i­can his­to­ry,” he said. “Dis­cussing them is not neg­a­tive. Dis­cussing them is enlight­en­ing. Dis­cussing them is infor­ma­tive. Dis­cussing them helps us under­stand why we might still have some prob­lems today.”


    TPM reached out to Lar­ry Krieger, one of the lead­ing crit­ics of the pre­vi­ous AP U.S. his­to­ry stan­dards, for a com­ment on the revi­sions, but has not yet received a response.

    Amer­i­ca’s young minds are once again safe to learn about Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism with­out any “revi­sion­ist” bel­li­cose rhetoric about how Saint Ron­nie used bel­li­cose rhetoric. Phew!

    So are the con­ser­v­a­tive activists sat­is­fied? The Kochs are pre­sum­ably pleased. And Lar­ry Krieger, one of the lead­ing activists in this fight, sure sounds pleased. And why should­n’t he be pleased? Accord­ing to Krieger, the Col­lege Board asked Krieger to review the changes:

    TPM Livewire
    Crit­ic Who Helped Launch AP His­to­ry Con­tro­ver­sy Sat­is­fied With Revi­sions

    By Caitlin Mac­Neal
    Pub­lished July 31, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT

    After more than a year of cam­paign­ing against the 2014 AP U.S. His­to­ry stan­dards released by the Col­lege Board, retired his­to­ry teacher Lar­ry Krieger is final­ly sat­is­fied with the com­pa­ny’s revi­sions to the course frame­work, which he had deemed too neg­a­tive.

    “The over­all pre­sen­ta­tion is more bal­anced and mea­sured,” Krieger told TPM on Fri­day, adding that he felt the Col­lege Board “did indeed lis­ten to the crit­i­cism and have addressed most of the major areas of con­cern.”

    The com­pa­ny on Thurs­day released revi­sions to the stan­dards which will take effect in 2015. The Col­lege Board says it accept­ed pub­lic feed­back, which it used to update the stan­dards. The new frame­work is “clear­er and more his­tor­i­cal­ly pre­cise, and less open to mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion or per­cep­tions of imbal­ance,” accord­ing to a state­ment from the Col­lege Board on Thurs­day.

    Krieger said that Trevor Pack­er, who over­sees the AP cours­es at Col­lege Board, called him on Wednes­day to review the changes the com­pa­ny has made to the stan­dards.

    “I wrote a rather lengthy top­ic-by-top­ic analy­sis of the frame­work, and he point­ed out that was an impor­tant doc­u­ment in their revi­sion,” Kreiger told TPM about his con­ver­sa­tion with Pack­er.

    With his crit­i­cism of the exam, Krieger sparked a con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment against the 2014 ver­sion of the AP U.S. His­to­ry stan­dards. The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee con­demned the frame­work as a “rad­i­cal­ly revi­sion­ist view of Amer­i­can his­to­ry that empha­sizes neg­a­tive aspects of our nation’s his­to­ry while omit­ting or min­i­miz­ing pos­i­tive aspects.” And leg­is­la­tors and schools boards in numer­ous states fol­lowed suit in oppos­ing the stan­dards.

    “The first doc­u­ment, I would say, was an aber­ra­tion,” Krieger told TPM on Fri­day. “It went to far. I think they’re back in line.”

    Oth­er crit­ics have been sati­at­ed by the new revi­sions as well. Peter Wood, the pres­i­dent of the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schol­ars, a group that crit­i­cized the stan­dards, told the Wash­ing­ton Post that the 2015 revi­sions are “def­i­nite­ly bet­ter than 2014 in a num­ber of ways.” And writ­ers for Nation­al Review described the revi­sions as “scrupu­lous­ly fair-mind­ed.”


    It sounds like every­one is quite please with all the changes. At least, every­one is pleased who was freaked out by all the “pro­gres­sive indoc­tri­na­tion” of the ear­li­er ver­sion of the cur­ricu­lum is pleased.

    Yay. Now Amer­i­ca’s chil­dren are free to not learn about things like the his­to­ry of cor­po­rate oppo­si­tion to any sort of envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions and get a nice fair and bal­anced edu­ca­tion instead. And the rest of us got to learn fun facts like how the Repub­li­cans don’t want their icons to be asso­ci­at­ed with “bel­li­cose rhetoric”. Who knew?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 2, 2015, 11:14 am
  8. Guess what South Dako­ta just removed from its high school his­to­ry cur­ricu­lum: ear­ly Amer­i­can his­to­ry, where “ear­ly” appears to include any­thing that hap­pened dur­ing the Civ­il War or ear­li­er:

    Ear­ly Amer­i­can His­to­ry could be a thing of the past

    By: Tess Hedrick
    Updat­ed: Wed 8:09 PM, Aug 26, 2015

    Wom­en’s suf­frage and the abo­li­tion of slav­ery — we learned about these impor­tant Amer­i­can issues in high school his­to­ry class.

    Mon­day, the South Dako­ta Board of Edu­ca­tion approved new guide­lines that do no require high schools to teach U.S. his­to­ry begin­ning next year.

    Some col­lege his­to­ry pro­fes­sors are against the social stud­ies require­ment say­ing his­to­ry has the chance to repeat itself if stu­dents are not taught ear­ly Amer­i­can his­to­ry.

    “I don’t like it. My name is actu­al­ly on the col­lege pro­fes­sor’s list that opposed them,” said Michael Mullin, Augus­tana his­to­ry pro­fes­sor.

    Pro­fes­sor Mullin has been teach­ing for 27 years. He says stu­dents who take a col­lege his­to­ry course such as ‘Amer­i­can His­to­ry Before 1877’ will be over­whelmed.

    “What we’re going to get is stu­dents who don’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate, say, Abra­ham Lin­col­n’s time peri­od from George Wash­ing­ton’s time peri­od from the Puri­tans. And it will get lumped togeth­er and we’ll won­der why


    Only time will tell if this change will help or hurt stu­dents.

    “What we’re going to get is stu­dents who don’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate, say, Abra­ham Lin­col­n’s time peri­od from George Wash­ing­ton’s time peri­od from the Puri­tans. And it will get lumped togeth­er and we’ll won­der why”

    In oth­er words, in South Dako­ta, the fol­low­ing sit­u­a­tion might actu­al­ly get sub­stan­tial­ly worse:

    The Wire
    Amer­i­cans vs. Basic His­tor­i­cal Knowl­edge

    Max Fish­er
    Jun 3, 2010 4:17PM ET

    With the founder-cit­ing, Con­sti­tu­tion-lov­ing, 18th-cen­tu­ry-dress-wear­ing Tea Par­ty move­ment in full swing, pre­sum­ably Amer­i­cans are more inter­est­ed than ever in ear­ly Amer­i­can his­to­ry and the Con­sti­tu­tion. But a recent sur­vey attempt­ing to gauge Amer­i­can knowl­edge of U.S. his­to­ry pro­duced some dis­cour­ag­ing results. Yahoo News’ Chris Lehmann sums up the key points.

    • More Amer­i­cans could iden­ti­fy Michael Jack­son as the com­pos­er of “Beat It” and “Bil­lie Jean” than could iden­ti­fy the Bill of Rights as a body of amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    • More than 50 per­cent of respon­dents attrib­uted the quote “From each accord­ing to his abil­i­ty to each accord­ing to his needs” to either Thomas Paine, George Wash­ing­ton or Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. The quote is from Karl Marx, author of “The Com­mu­nist Man­i­festo.”

    • More than a third did not know the cen­tu­ry in which the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion took place, and half of respon­dents believed that either the Civ­il War, the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion or the War of 1812 occurred before the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion.

    • With a polit­i­cal move­ment now claim­ing the man­tle of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary-era Tea Par­ty, more than half of respon­dents misiden­ti­fied the out­come of the 18th-cen­tu­ry agi­ta­tion as a repeal of tax­es, rather than as a key mobi­liza­tion of pop­u­lar resis­tance to British colo­nial rule.

    • A third mis­tak­en­ly believed that the Bill of Rights does not guar­an­tee a right to a tri­al by jury, while 40 per­cent mis­tak­en­ly thought that it did secure the right to vote.

    • More than half misiden­ti­fied the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment estab­lished in the Con­sti­tu­tion as a direct democ­ra­cy, rather than a republic‑a ques­tion that must be answered cor­rect­ly by immi­grants qual­i­fy­ing for U.S. cit­i­zen­ship.

    Lehmann notes what may be the most telling sta­tis­tic: “Before the test, 89 per­cent of respon­dents expressed con­fi­dence they could pass it; 83 per­cent went on to fail.” Out­side the Belt­way’s Doug Mat­a­co­nis shrugs it off. “I’m not at all cer­tain that this means much of any­thing for the polit­i­cal sys­tem, though, because the peo­ple who are unable to iden­ti­fy the basic facts of Amer­i­can his­to­ry are also unlike­ly to be the ones lin­ing up at the polling place at six in the morn­ing to cast a bal­lot.”

    “Before the test, 89 per­cent of respon­dents expressed con­fi­dence they could pass it; 83 per­cent went on to fail.”
    That was test­ing on adults, and now South Dako­ta is going to let us find out how much worse Amer­i­cans’ knowl­edge of their own his­to­ry can get. It’s kind of excit­ing. But don’t just thank South Dako­ta for turn­ing its kids into civic igno­rance guinea pigs. There are oth­er state-wide exper­i­ments in mass mise­d­u­ca­tion under­way, like, of course, Texas:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    Morn­ing Mix
    ‘Work­ers’ or slaves? Text­book mak­er back­tracks after mother’s online com­plaint

    By Yanan Wang
    Octo­ber 5 at 5:05 AM

    Moth­ers of teenagers are used to get­ting frus­trat­ing text mes­sages, but the one that Roni Dean-Bur­ren received from her 15-year-old son last week wasn’t about alco­hol, dat­ing or mon­ey for the movies.

    It was about his­to­ry.

    Her son, Coby, had sent her a pho­to of a col­or­ful page in his ninth-grade McGraw-Hill World Geog­ra­phy text­book. In a sec­tion titled “Pat­terns of Immi­gra­tion,” a speech bub­ble point­ing to a U.S. map read: “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought mil­lions of work­ers from Africa to the south­ern Unit­ed States to work on agri­cul­tur­al plan­ta­tions.”

    “We was real hard work­ers wasn’t we,” Coby retort­ed in a sub­se­quent text.

    The image alarmed Dean-Bur­ren, who was an Eng­lish teacher for 11 years at the Pearland, Tex., pub­lic high school that her son attends. Now a doc­tor­al can­di­date in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Houston’s Lan­guage Arts pro­gram, she has spent much of her life think­ing about the pow­er and dan­gers of nuanced lan­guage. The motive behind the textbook’s choice of words seemed clear.

    “This is era­sure,” Dean-Bur­ren said in an inter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Post. “This is revi­sion­ist his­to­ry — retelling the sto­ry how­ev­er the win­ners would like it told.”

    In call­ing slaves “work­ers” and their move to the Unit­ed States “immi­gra­tion,” she not­ed in viral Face­book posts Wednes­day and Thurs­day, the text­book sug­gests not only that her African Amer­i­can ances­tors arrived on the con­ti­nent will­ing­ly, but also that they were com­pen­sat­ed for their labor.

    McGraw-Hill Edu­ca­tion sought to redress these implied untruths in a Face­book announce­ment Fri­day. While the geog­ra­phy pro­gram “meets the learn­ing objec­tives of the course,” the pub­lish­ing company’s state­ment said, a close review of the con­tent revealed that “our lan­guage in that cap­tion did not ade­quate­ly con­vey that Africans were both forced into migra­tion and to labor against their will as slaves.”

    “We believe we can do bet­ter,” it con­tin­ues. “To com­mu­ni­cate these facts more clear­ly, we will update this cap­tion to describe the arrival of African slaves in the U.S. as a forced migra­tion and empha­size that their work was done as slave labor.”

    The changes will be made in the textbook’s dig­i­tal ver­sion and includ­ed in its next run.

    While McGraw-Hill’s action came swift­ly, it was after tens of thou­sands of peo­ple had already expressed their out­rage on social media. By the time Dean-Bur­ren received news of the company’s response, her video con­tem­plat­ing the textbook’s impact had gar­nered half a mil­lion views.

    Dean-Bur­ren has mixed feel­ings about the out­come. “On a sur­face lev­el, ‘yay,’” she said. “I under­stand that McGraw-Hill is a text­book giant, so thumbs up for lis­ten­ing.”

    On the oth­er hand, few stu­dents use the dig­i­tal ver­sion, and as her son’s text­book is brand new (copy­right year 2016), anoth­er print ver­sion like­ly won’t come out for anoth­er ten years, Dean-Bur­ren said.

    She called on McGraw-Hill to rise to its own pro­fessed stan­dard: “I know they can do bet­ter. They can send out a sup­ple­ment. They can recall those books. Regard­less of whether you’re left-lean­ing or right-lean­ing, you know that’s not real­ly the sto­ry of slav­ery.”

    Ref­er­enc­ing her use of #Black­Lives­Mat­ter on Face­book, Dean-Bur­ren added, “Min­i­miz­ing slav­ery in any way is a way of say­ing those black lives, those black bod­ies, that black pain didn’t mat­ter enough to give it a full descrip­tion.”

    The edu­ca­tion­al pub­lish­er has been crit­i­cized for its Texas mate­ri­als before. McGraw-Hill was one of a hand­ful of text­book providers that came under fire after the Texas State Board of Edu­ca­tion adopt­ed new stan­dards for its social stud­ies cur­ricu­lum in 2010 — a pol­i­cy that edu­ca­tors derid­ed for inter­fer­ing with accu­rate his­to­ry instruc­tion.

    A Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle pub­lished after the changes received pre­lim­i­nary approval not­ed that a les­son plan devised under the pro­posed man­date “plays down the role of Thomas Jef­fer­son among the found­ing fathers, ques­tions the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, and claims that the U.S. gov­ern­ment was infil­trat­ed by Com­mu­nists dur­ing the Cold War.”

    While the changes were only made to books sold in Texas, some feared that the state’s large mar­ket would make the revised texts instant best­sellers, there­by encour­ag­ing oth­er school dis­tricts to fol­low suit.

    As recent­ly as last year, schol­ars review­ing text­books based on the Texas Essen­tial Knowl­edge and Skills guide­lines found a num­ber of his­tor­i­cal mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions, among them sev­er­al in McGraw-Hill’s pro­posed text­books. These issues includ­ed declar­ing that a Mus­lim garb hin­ders women’s rights, pal­li­at­ing the inequal­i­ties African Amer­i­cans faced under Jim Crow and rep­re­sent­ing slav­ery as only a sec­ondary cause of the Civ­il War.

    Most of the text­books found to be prob­lem­at­ic were nev­er­the­less approved.


    “Most of the text­books found to be prob­lem­at­ic were nev­er­the­less approved

    What a fun trend in Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion. And when there actu­al­ly is a cor­rec­tion, it might not actu­al­ly get cor­rect­ed in print for anoth­er decade:

    Dean-Bur­ren has mixed feel­ings about the out­come. “On a sur­face lev­el, ‘yay,’” she said. “I under­stand that McGraw-Hill is a text­book giant, so thumbs up for lis­ten­ing.”

    On the oth­er hand, few stu­dents use the dig­i­tal ver­sion, and as her son’s text­book is brand new (copy­right year 2016), anoth­er print ver­sion like­ly won’t come out for anoth­er ten years, Dean-Bur­ren said.

    It all rais­es the ques­tion of which kids are get­ting a bet­ter edu­ca­tion: the Texas kids that learn about how “work­ers” from Africa “immi­grat­ed” to the Unit­ed States as part of the slave trade, or the South Dakotan kid that does­n’t does­n’t even get that lev­el of expo­sure to his­tor­i­cal ‘facts’. It’s a tough call. Mass igno­rance of his­to­ry and cur­rent event is a dan­ger to soci­ety, there’s no doubt about that. But it could be worse...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 5, 2015, 1:29 pm
  9. So is this some sort of ‘Trump effect’? The cul­mi­na­tion of years of demo­niza­tion by the GOP? Some sort of stu­pid­i­ty syn­er­gy? Who knows, but accord­ing to a new poll, sup­port for high­er edu­ca­tion by Repub­li­can vot­ers has plum­met­ed over the past cou­ple years and now only 1 in 3 Repub­li­cans think col­leges are a pos­i­tive force for Amer­i­ca:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    The Major­i­ty Of Repub­li­cans Think Col­leges Are Bad For The U.S., Poll Shows
    Their opin­ions have shift­ed dra­mat­i­cal­ly in just two years.

    By Mol­lie Reil­ly
    07/10/2017 12:54 pm ET

    More than half of the Repub­li­cans sur­veyed for a Pew Research Cen­ter poll released Mon­day say col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties are hurt­ing the coun­try, a dras­tic shift from how the same group viewed such insti­tu­tions two years ago.

    Fifty-eight per­cent of Repub­li­cans say col­leges have a neg­a­tive effect on the nation, accord­ing to the sur­vey, which also polled respon­dents on insti­tu­tions like church­es, banks, the media and labor unions. Thir­ty-six per­cent of GOP sur­vey par­tic­i­pants say col­leges are hav­ing a pos­i­tive impact on the U.S.

    Those num­bers rep­re­sent a dra­mat­ic change from 2015, when 54 per­cent of Repub­li­cans said they had a pos­i­tive view of col­leges. And although younger Repub­li­cans tend to have more favor­able views of col­leges than their old­er coun­ter­parts, the num­ber of Repub­li­cans under 50 years old who view col­lege pos­i­tive­ly has dropped 21 points since 2015.

    Those shifts comes amid sev­er­al high-pro­file con­tro­ver­sies over free­dom of speech on cam­pus­es across the coun­try, includ­ing protests ear­li­er this year at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley after sched­uled appear­ances by con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tors Ann Coul­ter and Milo Yiannopou­los were can­celed. Con­ser­v­a­tive crit­ics have said these inci­dents are silenc­ing oppos­ing ideas, while some peo­ple who dis­agree with invit­ing polar­iz­ing fig­ures to cam­pus say the safe­ty con­cerns in these cas­es out­weigh the impor­tance of free speech.

    The vast major­i­ty Democ­rats, mean­while, say col­leges are help­ing the nation: 72 per­cent say they think high­er edu­ca­tion is hav­ing a pos­i­tive effect, ver­sus 19 per­cent who say such insti­tu­tions are hurt­ing the coun­try.

    Over­all, 55 per­cent of those polled say they hold a pos­i­tive view of col­leges.



    “The Major­i­ty Of Repub­li­cans Think Col­leges Are Bad For The U.S., Poll Shows” by Mol­lie Reil­ly; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 07/10/2017

    “Fifty-eight per­cent of Repub­li­cans say col­leges have a neg­a­tive effect on the nation, accord­ing to the sur­vey, which also polled respon­dents on insti­tu­tions like church­es, banks, the media and labor unions. Thir­ty-six per­cent of GOP sur­vey par­tic­i­pants say col­leges are hav­ing a pos­i­tive impact on the U.S.

    After a pre­cip­i­tous drop over the last two years, just 36 per­cent of Repub­li­cans have a pos­i­tive view of col­leges. And that drop has been even more pre­cip­i­tous for younger Repub­li­cans:

    Those num­bers rep­re­sent a dra­mat­ic change from 2015, when 54 per­cent of Repub­li­cans said they had a pos­i­tive view of col­leges. And although younger Repub­li­cans tend to have more favor­able views of col­leges than their old­er coun­ter­parts, the num­ber of Repub­li­cans under 50 years old who view col­lege pos­i­tive­ly has dropped 21 points since 2015.

    Well that does­n’t bode well for the future. And it’s impor­tant to point out that the peri­od of this large drop in sup­port just hap­pens to coin­cide with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion poli­cies designed to address one of the key valid crit­i­cisms of US col­leges: the preva­lence of preda­to­ry for-prof­it ‘diplo­ma mills’ that were major gen­er­a­tors of stu­dent debt and use­less degrees. That whole sec­tor of the US high­er edu­ca­tion indus­try was fac­ing seri­ous obsta­cles fol­low­ing new Oba­ma-era reg­u­la­tions in recent years and that’s the peri­od of time when we saw this mas­sive drop off in con­ser­v­a­tive sup­port for Amer­i­can col­leges.

    So was the large drop off in con­ser­v­a­tive sup­port for col­lege due, in part, to new restric­tions on preda­to­ry diplo­ma mills? That’s pret­ty unlike­ly, which rais­es the ques­tion of where con­ser­v­a­tive sup­port for col­leges is going to go after the Trump admin­is­tra­tion lifts all those restric­tions on preda­to­ry for-prof­it col­leges? Are we going to see an even big­ger drop on con­ser­v­a­tive sup­port or will the renewed prof­itabil­i­ty of the diplo­ma mill indus­try actu­al­ly increase sup­port? It’s an unpleas­ant ques­tion to have to ask, but that’s one of the pos­i­tive things about col­lege: it encour­ages peo­ple to ask unpleas­ant ques­tions fac­ing soci­ety and hope­ful­ly pro­vide soci­ety some insight­ful answers. Includ­ing very com­pli­cat­ed ques­tions that aren’t dri­ven by the prof­it-motive and might take years to ask and answer .

    So if any­one is con­sid­er­ing pur­su­ing a degree in an area that involves writ­ing a the­sis on, say, pub­lic opin­ion and edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy, a the­sis exam­in­ing the impact of the lift­ing of rules bar­ring preda­to­ry col­leges on pub­lic sup­port for col­leges in gen­er­al would prob­a­bly be a pret­ty good the­sis top­ic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 11, 2017, 8:08 pm

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