May 22, 2010

If you're going to criticize the new social studies curriculum adopted by the Texas Board of Education, you'd better quote it.

Or at least link to the text. And if you choose to paraphrase and not even link, and I have to look up the text myself, and your paraphrase is not accurate, it is my job to embarrass you by pointing that out.

Let me embarrass the Washington Post. Below, the material from the WaPo article, written by Michael Birnbaum, is indented. After the indented part, I've located the relevant quote from the Board of Education text, found here. (I'm searching 3 PDF documents: Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and Its Benefits Subchapter A. High School; Social Studies Subchapter B. Middle School; Social Studies Subchapter C. High School.)

The Washington Post writes:
The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards....

The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated -- something most historians deny --...
The students are required to "describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government..." The word "vindicated" is inflammatory and unfair. What is the Washington Post saying historians deny? One can be informed of the reality of what the Venona Papers revealed about communist infiltration into the U.S. government and still understand and deplore the excesses of "McCarthyism."
...draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses...
Students are required to "analyze the ideas contained in Jefferson Davis' inaugural address and Abraham Lincoln's ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government as contained in his first and second inaugural addresses and the Gettysburg Address." The word "equivalency" is uncalled for. The requirement is to analyze, not to be indoctrinated that the ideas are the same.
... say that international institutions such as the United Nations imperil American sovereignty...
What I'm seeing is "explain the significance of the League of Nations and the United Nations" and "analyze the human and physical factors that influence the power to control territory, create conflict/war, and impact international political relations such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the control of resources." Where is the language that can be paraphrased "imperil American sovereignty"?
.... and include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn.
Students are required to "explain the roles played by significant individuals and heroes during the Civil War, including Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and congressional Medal of Honor recipients William Carney and Philip Bazaar." Only Davis and Lee were Confederate officials! There is also this: "describe the role of individuals such as governors George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox and groups, including the Congressional bloc of southern Democrats, that sought to maintain the status quo [in the Civil Rights Era]." That's obviously not from the Civil War, but I can see why it's annoying to Democrats.
They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term "free-enterprise system."
The document on economics does use the term "free enterprise system" throughout, but students are required to "understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system," so what is the problem?

Virtually everything cited in the article to make the curriculum seem controversial is misstated! Appalling!

ADDED: Birnbaum had an article in the previous day's Washington Post that does contain quotes, and these have to do with changes that went through on Thursday (and which do not — but should! — appear in the documents that are available at the Board of Education website):
Students will now study "efforts by global organizations to undermine U.S. sovereignty," an addition late Thursday evening encouraged by board member Don McLeroy (R), who has put forward many of the most contentious changes....

Another one of the seven conservative board members, David Bradley (R), added a list of Confederate generals and officials to the list of topics that students must study. ...
This provides support for Birnbaum's statement that the standards "include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn." And it answers my question "Where is the language that can be paraphrased 'imperil American sovereignty'?" My criticisms about "vindicating" McCarthyism, "the equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses," and the term "free-enterprise system" remain.

I have not been defending the Texas standards, only attacking the quality of the journalism that fails to quote or link to a text that is referred to. Birnbaum's Friday article contains some useful quotes (though still not a link to the whole text). The Saturday article was unanchored to text and forced me to look for what I could find on line. I'm also criticizing inaccurate paraphrasing, like the use of the words "vindicating" and "equivalency." Birnbaum's take on the standards might be true, but in an article that refers to a text, I do need to see the text. Paraphrasing, without the text, raises suspicions, and I don't apologize for having those suspicions.

ALSO: I'm critical of the Board of Education for not posting all the relevant text on its website. And — as should be obvious — I'm not endorsing the standards themselves. The complexity and detail alone tends to show that the Board did not have the best interests of children at the center of their project. And it didn't seem to care much about the capacity of teachers. The material on law, for example, would be difficult for a law professor to teach to law students.

313 comments:

1 – 200 of 313   Newer›   Newest»
chuck b. said...

Are you the first to crack this case? This should get you a lot of links.

Ann Althouse said...

@chuck b. Especially since I self-linked from Instapundit.

former law student said...

but students are required to "understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system," so what is the problem?


How are they going to learn it if it's not in the book? Who makes sure those synonyms are included in every teacher's lesson plan? And even if they are, are hs kids taking notes nowadays?

Ann Althouse said...

And yes, this is all my original work, based on my suspicion that it was misparaphrased and my digging up and reading the documents.

I haven't researched whether anyone else has noticed the problem. The WaPo article just came out today.

Ann Althouse said...

@former law student I noticed that the standards are very ambitious. It's hard to believe students will be taught all these things and taught them well, but that doesn't go to my criticism, which is about the WaPo's failure to report accurately what the standards are.

Jeremy said...

I remember 22 years ago, 11th grade literature class, we were reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible. I was the only one in the class that even knew what McCarthyism was. I can't imagine things have gotten any better...

former law student said...

Professor, your main point is rock solid.

Hucbald said...

Bravo, Ann.

That's the maddening thing about you. You irritate the hell out of me 90% of the time, but in one out of ten posts you actually make sense. Then, this would be the 1 in 100 posts wherein you hit it out of the park.

Work on that consistency. lol.

Ann Althouse said...

@Jeremy So would you agree that these are really impressively ambitious and comprehensive standards?

Jason said...

These fuckers lie and lie and lie their asses off. Liberals lie about everything, all the time. There is nothing in modern progressivism that is not a lie. Everything they do is perched on a foundation of lies. Every point they make is wrapped in a blanket of lies. The truth is not in them.

This is a classic example. But you've only scratched the surface.

Flexo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flexo said...

The Washington Post?

The Washington Post??

Come on. Half the stuff they report on they make up or simply pull out of their butts.

cf said...

I'll post it in the comments to the article, Ann. Maybe you should send it to the editor and ombudsman.

BTW I've been telling my husband for some time now that the reports of the curriculum change were widely distorted.

ELC said...

With MSM's response to political events in Arizona and Texas, the past few weeks have demonstrated that the entire mainstream media establishment in the USA has been very thoroughly Alinskyfied.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"... but that doesn't go to my criticism, which is about the WaPo's failure to report accurately what the standards are."

Yes. That's the point isn't it? The Washington Post is a media organization that is deliberately not reporting the news accurately.

How can we live in a society when the institutions which have traditionally stood against the government have instead joined it to deliberately mischaracterize the days events?

We can no longer trust these people. That's the real point of this post is it not?

What kind of a society is possible when the members of the media have been compromised? When they've been bought off. When they're complicit? When they deliberately mis-state the facts?

The answer is that our society cannot function any longer. The Washington Post must be destroyed, by its subscribers cancelling their subscriptions, or our nation is doomed.

And if not ... we deserve our fucking fate.

Chase said...

Ann, thank you, thank you!

For 40 years I have been pointing out deliberate misinformation from liberal news outlets that claim to play it straight. Thank you for taking the time to spell it out so plainly that no one - not even liberal partisans - can deny.

Flexo said...

Washington Post reporters -- excuse me, journalists -- are notorious around here (D.C.) for being lazy, ignorant, and totally incapable of doing simple basic reporting tasks, like getting their facts straight.

That's OK, though. It doesn't stop their buddies from throwing Pulitzers at them, even though they are too often full of crap.

Mwalimu Daudi said...

Are you surprised? Lying is as natural to the Washington Post as breathing.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Great post, Professor!

If Glenn Reynolds wasn't on vacation he would have linked to this, I'm sure.

Now let the heart rending moans of the liberal masses reach to the skies! This is the best thing that has happened in public education in decades.

I view with great satisfaction the WaPo's discomfiture at public school students learning the truth, at long last.

wv: spent. Yeah, it's time to go to bed.

Chase said...

These fuckers lie and lie and lie their asses off.

The Washington Post is a media organization that is deliberately not reporting the news accurately.


Amen and Amen.

Andrea said...

Jeremy was the smartest kid in his class! And the most sensitive. I'll bet he got stuffed into his locker on a daily basis.

Okay, I couldn't resist -- whenever someone brings out that standard American "I was the only one in my high school among the stoners, jocks, and bullies I was forced to endure who knew that water was wet" kind of superior thing I have to say something. If everyone in the USA who said they were a special flower of intelligence unappreciated by their peers really had been anything more than just average we'd be halfway to Andromeda by now -- or at least television would be a whole lot more entertaining.

Duscany said...

I wonder what Michael Birnbaum's politics are. Wouldn't it be nice, in the name of full disclosure, if reporters would list the party identification of the presidential and senatorial candidates for whom they voted in the last ten years? That way we would know how much to discount their stories when we read them in the paper.

Irene said...

Brava.

This link has been making its way around Facebook, serving as the succinct "synopsis" of the story for many.

The Ghost said...

What they're really annoyed about is that what used to to be soft pap toward the end of the books being edited to reflect actual history instead of liberal pieties.

I don't think there's any need for students who have 3 hours of social studies a week to learn anything about Ted Kennedy except whose brother he was. And I don't think the "civil rights movement" after the 1960s qualifies as the worthwhile use of time for a general history class.

As for the Civil War era stuff, public schools in the South have always been full of slightly ridiculous equivocation in teaching that era. Touchy subject. But not factually wrong. If you don't like it, don't move there.

AJ Lynch said...

The average American could care less about this story. But the Upper East Side libs and DC beltway crowd have been talking at their cocktail parties how this will brainwash American kids. I say good!

paul a'barge said...

"so what is the problem?"

Indeed.

Talk about mewling lib-Tards clinging to their warped system of brainwashing of American children.

AJ Lynch said...

And Althouse,liberal pussies like this Wapo writer are shocked and dismayed that you are even allowed within 500 yards of a law student class at a university not named Bob Jones University.

Kohath said...

This type of nonsense was in a British newspaper a few days ago. Then, those ridiculous paraphrases were paraphrased again on Slashdot in a link back to the UK nonsense.

This stuff is probably based on a Media-Matters-style press release. I doubt anyone at the Washington Post bothered to read the curriculum. Not that it would make any difference.

The people pushing this are propagandists and liars. The writers at the Washington Post are either liars or fools -- or more likely equal parts of both.

And then the question will be asked: Why is everything in America so partisan all the time?

Because there are legions of liars who use their lies to divide us and sew hatred between us. And the press is happy to be their conduit and join them in the lies and the division and the hatred whenever they can.

You can't embarrass them. They do it on purpose. And they've been at it for a long time now.

Flexo said...

I remember it was junior high when I first realized that one of my teachers -- a history teacher -- was a complete no-nothing propagandist after I had read a few real history books (non-textbooks) myself.

Skyler said...

There's no such thing as a congressional medal of honor. It's called the Medal of Honor. It is awarded by the president, not congress.

Seven Machos said...

I say there is a much bigger problem at issue: textbooks are pap. They are knowledge boiled down to meaninglessness and then placed into a soggy paper bag. Thus, it doesn't really matter what is in them.

That said, it's fascinating to me that people in Washington DC want to exert political pressure concerning what seventh graders are learning in social studies in Texas.

Beldar said...

Thank you Prof. Althouse, and bravo!

Adam said...

If only you'd been able to read the entire health-insurance-deformation bill before it was passed.

As for the descriptors "free enterprise system," "capitalism," and the like, I prefer the Chinese term "personal responsibility system."

Seven Machos said...

One more thing: if you really wanted to teach American high school students about history, you would have them read primary texts and actual books. For example, if you really want them to learn about World War I, assign The Guns of August over the course of two weeks.

But, no. Must. Have. Government. Approved. Textbook.

Seven Machos said...

It's certainly worth noting that Karl Marx coined the term "capitalism" to describe a free-market system.

Flexo said...

There's no such thing as a congressional medal of honor.

If you want to get hyper-technical about it, you are right. But in long-standing common usage, it is not incorrect to call it the Congressional Medal of Honor.

10 U.S.C. §§ 3741, 6241, and 8741 all include the same language --

The President may award, and present in the name of Congress, a medal of honor . . .

Joe said...

Assuming Wikipedia is accurate:

"The term capitalism appeared in 1753 in the Encyclop├ędia, with the narrow meaning of "The state of one who is rich".[9] However, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the term capitalism was first used by novelist William Makepeace Thackeray in 1854 in The Newcomes, where he meant "having ownership of capital".[20] Also according to the OED, Carl Adolph Douai, a German-American socialist and abolitionist, used the term private capitalism in 1863.

The initial usage of the term capitalism in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850 and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1861."

Seven Machos said...

I agree with Flexo. It is certainly fitting and appropriate that the Congress -- the people's branch -- extend the highest military honor. The president doing it smacks of imperialism -- Caesar and all that.

It's all symbolism, of course, but important just the same.

orbicularioculi said...

Sounds to me like the Texas Board of Education is doing an excellent job of insuring that Texas students understand issues and history.

It also sounds to me like the Washington Post is doing an excellent job of MISREPRESENTING what the Texas Board of Education is doing.

Duscany said...

Andrea: "If everyone in the USA who said they were a special flower of intelligence unappreciated by their peers really had been anything more than just average we'd be halfway to Andromeda by now"

That's pretty funny.

Quayle said...

They went into journalism to speak truth to power, and tell the story that nobody wanted told.

Now that they are the power, and the story is the abject failure of the left's world view, they are the one's that don't want the story told, and they've resorted to speaking lies to themselves and everyone else.

Do you think if the WaPo and NY Times whistle past the graveyard, they'll be able to keep us from realizing that the very socialist systems in Europa that they all adore are crumbling before our very eyes, at exactly the same moment that their new god Obama is telling us that Europe's approach is our salvation?

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"This stuff is probably based on a Media-Matters-style press release."

No, this is the Washington Post. Except for the NY Times, this is the newspaper in the country that sets the tone. The very best journalists in the country are gathered together in these two places to create what are seen as the world's two best newspapers.

Whenever they do something, it is deliberate. Nothing occurs in the pages of this newspaper without the express consent of its senior editors, people culled from the absolute cream of our nation's crop.

And so you have to ask yourself ... if the cream of our nation's crop is deliberately mis-characterizing easily check-able facts ... what exactly the fuck is really going on in our country?

I mean, who do these people think they're fooling.

If some podunk fucking law professor in Wisconsin can fact-check their asses and show them to be complete fucking tools without even leaving her wine-soaked veranda, what exactly does the Washington Post think it can get away with?

And yet ... they did it. They went ahead and ran this shit.

What does that tell you?

It tells me that they do so with complete fucking disregard for whether they're caught lying or not. They don't fucking care. They believe (whether it's true anymore or not) that what they write BECOMES the truth.

And when a class of people believe that, the game is fucking over. This country is no longer worth saving.

Skyler said...

Guns of August won't teach you much about wwi since it is almost entirely about the time before wwi.

And text books might be not ideal but considering the low level of knowlege it's a great place to start. It's just snobbish to think that they have no value.

AJ Lynch said...

Seven:

You understand that the Texas books [due to the state's size] help to set the mass market publishing standards for many other states? That is why Beltway libs are freaking out.

Windbag said...

Something I learned NOT to say, when I was an undergrad in history was "most historians." The professor would interrupt any student who used that phrase and ask him how many historians he had surveyed to substantiate such a claim, or ask for the data that showed 51% of all historians agreeing with the statement. Brutally humiliating the first time you pulled that stunt.

Any time someone writes a sentence like that, they're playing a bogus trump card that tries to intimidate anyone who dares question them. It suggests that the question is settled, and only trouble-makers and ignoramuses would argue to the contrary.

Lame.

Seven Machos said...

AJ -- I do understand that. Absolutely. This politicization due to geography is really just another reason textbooks are shit.

Skyler -- Few students read the textbooks. Those who do get very little out of them because they are so watered-down and awful. In fact, I would argue that the students who bother to read the textbooks are exactly the students who ought to be reading far more challenging material.

Also, no shit, Sherlock Skyler. Does it really matter which battle happened where (especially in the atrophy that was WWI)? No. What matters about every war is why it happened and what were the political results.

Duscany said...

Ann

That was quite clever of you to deduce from the Post article that the reporter was most likely slanting his account.

Now if we could only get the Washington post in the interests of full disclosure tell us what percentage of its newsroom voted for Obama.

Years ago I happened to be in the LA Times newsroom shortly after candidate Bill Clinton left the building. I'll never forget the sight of women reporters returning to their desks with rapturous tears streaming down their faces.

Luke Lea said...

Of course they are misrepresenting the Arizona laws in a similar way. The intention seems to be to stir up trouble and misunderstanding, stoke the fires of bigotry, and boost "their team" in the culture wars or whatever it is. Highly irresponsible.

Maguro said...

Loved The Guns of August, but no way are you going to get typical high school kids to read that book in 2 weeks. Condensed textbooks will be a necessary evil for as long as we insist on teaching everyone a standard, wide-ranging curriculum.

former law student said...

if you really wanted to teach American high school students about history, you would have them read primary texts and actual books... assign The Guns of August over the course of two weeks.


7M, though I have the utmost respect for you, I fear you have misjudged the average HS student, who is quite unwilling to read 64 pages of prose a night, however pleasurable that might be for the typical AA reader. He's unlikely to read 640 pages for a single class over the course of a semester.

Would it make sense to assign the Sparknotes version of Tuchman's book?

Chase said...

Any time someone writes a sentence like that, they're playing a bogus trump card that tries to intimidate anyone who dares question them. It suggests that the question is settled, and only trouble-makers and ignoramuses would argue to the contrary.

I thought that was the very first thing liberals learn when they sign up. Lying is actually #2.

Bill said...

Ann Althouse said... @chuck b. Especially since I self-linked from Instapundit.

Hmm. Is this the first auto-insta-lanche?

Seven Machos said...

Duscany -- I worked for the State Department and we were all pretty much forced to go to an event where President Bush spoke.

It was the exact opposite of the Clinton rapture you speak of. People were just angry about it. I wasn't. I liked Bush to the bitter end. But I always found it interesting that people who ultimately had Bush as their boss hated the man so much -- to a person.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wow. Those standards are actually impressive. Since the textbook industry has to cater quite a bit to Texas, I hope this improves textbooks overall.

Thanks for doing the work, Althouse.

Seven Machos said...

I know The Guns of August thing is a pipe dream. I think, though, that what you people aren't factoring in is the objective fact that a huge percentage of students are not reading the textbook. Would the difference in non-readers really be that dramatic if something useful and of high quality were assigned?

New York said...

Facts don't matter anymore.

Probably it's a much better curriculum than one from a PC place like Seattle.

Palladian said...

When I was in 6th grade, I read Gibbon's "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" over Christmas to impress my history teacher, since we were supposed to be talking about classical history.

She'd never heard of it.

Seven Machos said...

Palladian -- That is so hilarious and sad simultaneously.

The really good history teacher at my high school was balling the drama teacher with the classroom across the hall -- the one who wore the tight pants with the atrocious camel toe.

GMay said...

I hadn't really noticed before the past couple of days when a couple of people pointed out, but when you read New Hussein Ham, his Mobiness is quite glaring isn't it?

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seven Machos said...

What Ham's mission is I don't know.

Ruben H said...

Thank you so much for this post, professor. As a native Texan (temporarily relocated) I take a great interest in this story and am glad you provided links so I can see the documents for myself.

I looked at the aol post from "Irene" as well. They said MLK's "Letters from the Birmingham Jail" was taken off the recommended reading list. Yet students are required to analyze MLK's "Letters from the Birmingham Jail" (113.41.c.9.D). It seems to reason that it was taken off the recommended reading list because it became part of the required reading list.

I find it utterly amazing that people take liberal MSM outlets, like WashPo, AOL, NYT, etc, at their word. They simply are not trustworthy.

bagoh20 said...

I'm used to the poor relationship that journalism often has to the truth. When you add the lazy work to the purposefully deceptive, and throw in the simply stupid analysis with the usually biased assumptions, you get very little quality stuff at the end.

I don't think this is new, but it is easier to prove today with the superior ability we all have to cross check and research in a matter of minutes. Still it is a pain in the ass to have to do so. Thanks, Ann for doing that work. I think you could call yourself a journalist tonight, in the quality sense of the word which fits the media all too rarely. Thanks

I don't actually care much about this story, but the poor reliability of the media is very important stuff and I love when it is pointed out. That's important for us to see. More people need to distrust what they hear, especially when it's what they want to hear.

WV: edify - that's right.

former law student said...

7M -- the problem is the requirement to cover all of US history. Why not let break history into segments, and let each student immerse himself in part of it? Then they would be responsible for summarizing it and teaching it to the others. They would at least have learned one part well.

Give everyone two months to prepare, and spend the next two months teaching and learning.

Skyler said...

Does it really matter which battle happened where (especially in the atrophy that was WWI)? No. What matters about every war is why it happened and what were the political results.

I guess maybe if you had better text books you'd appreciate more of what happened during the war. The events prior to the war are certainly important too.

And why would a source like Tuchman be preferable to primary source? Maybe we should limit history to living eyewitnesses.

Seven Machos said...

FLS -- That's a great idea. There's an old proverb. Goes something like: if you want to truly learn something, you must teach it.

Also, I am very pro-segements. As has been mentioned above, this Texas curriculum seems too ambitious. The fact is that some history really is more important than other history. Hit the big stuff.

Skyler -- I said above: if you really wanted to teach American high school students about history, you would have them read primary texts and actual books.

Dick Stanley said...

Wow. Thank you very much. The WaPo's been playing fast and loose in its reporting on Texas for many years. It's a pleasure to see their propagandist caught so firmly by the throat and dragged into the daylight.

Flexo said...

Loved The Guns of August, but no way are you going to get typical high school kids to read that book

No way are you going to get typical high school teachers to read it.

As for King's Letter from the Birmingham Jail, that should make for some interesting analysis since Rev. King rips into condescending white liberals and white moderates pretty good.

Alex said...

Given that 90% of students don't even read the dumbed-down textbook, it's easy to see why we're heading to Idiocracy.

Seven Machos said...

Man. Is The Guns of August really that high-level reading?

Another benefit of assigning substantive books, by the way, is cheapness. This book can be had for $2.83 used on Amazon. I realize that increased demand would drive up price, but not to textbook levels.

As for primary texts, they are very often free save for any printing costs.

Seven Machos said...

Given that 90% of students don't even read the dumbed-down textbook

Thank you, Alex. I mean, really, people: let's assume that 50 percent of all high school students go on to college (which I expect is outlandishly high. What percentage of college students even read the assigned material? What percentage of law students?

Textbooks are a huge waste of money and time.

Flexo said...

You can't have students reading original source material! If they do that, they might actually learn the truth about things.

We need to keep students far, far, far away from things like Common Sense and the Federalist Papers and Lincoln's addresses. Better to have some WashPo-quality teacher "paraphrase" history for them.

Seven Machos said...

Flexo: Ha! I once read a liberal commenter somewhere suggesting that conservatives pining for Western Civilization coursework are full of it. The argument went that the conservatives don't really want young, impressionable people reading the crazy, radical ideas in the vital tomes of the Cannon. Instead, conservatives want a watered-down understanding of certain acceptable ideas.

There's definitely some truth to that critique and the exact same process at a much shallower, dumber level is going on in these curriculum debates.

Penny said...

So many comments, and so fast?

If I were generous, I would say that there are way too many of us who stayed home on a Saturday night.

Not THAT generous. lol

Is anyone else?

Seven Machos said...

Hey, man. I got little kids.

Kirk Parker said...

Kohath,

"... and sew hatred between us... "

Now you've got me in stitches.

Flexo,

What's more, King's letter comes from an explicitly Christian point of view. That's going to disturb some preconceptions right there.

JAL said...

Since those who are supposed to be our well informed, smart, gifted, elite representatives in DC don't read stuff they should before yapping -- like the "Healthcare Reform Bill" as a fer instance. Or the Arizona Senate Bill 1070 fer instance, I think it's a real stretch for you, a Law Professor, Ms. Meadehouse, to expect a weasley WaPo writer to actually READ something like the Texas curriculum he was mis-describing. I mean his job is to influence, not inform.

(People going into journalism these days don't get the "who what when where & how." They just like telling us their version of "why" so they can raise our Social Consciousness, increase our guilt or victimhood -- whichever works for you -- and serve Justice. All in a days work.)

And we all know that in order to do the above, the best way is just make stuff up.

You know -- "Fake but accurate" the byword and byline of the "Legacy Media."

Bob said...

If some podunk fucking law professor in Wisconsin can fact-check their asses and show them to be complete fucking tools without even leaving her wine-soaked veranda, what exactly does the Washington Post think it can get away with?

Thread-winner. :-)

Rose said...

I think it's a real stretch for you, a Law Professor... to expect a weasley WaPo writer to actually READ something like the Texas curriculum he was mis-describing. I mean his job is to influence, not inform.

LOL

Great Post. Why are people so afraid of letting students hear a variety of perspectives?

What happened to open an inquisitive minds? Why have baby-boomers become so limited, afraid and fascistic? What has happened to us?

We didn't want any rules, and now all we are doing is creating more and more and more draconian rules, like trying to censor our teachers. i

Alan said...

For all you folks advocating segmentation when teaching history, please note that Texas already does this. American History is taught in the eighth and ninth grades, broken roughly between the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Seventh grade is devoted entirely to Texas history. Trust me, that takes an entire year as well. Tejas has a colorful past--"Six Flags" ain't just an amusement park.

enki said...

I've never doubted that the bias of the MSM is strongly leftist, but I've also agreed with those who say that the overwhelming bias of the media is laziness. I would not be at all surprised to find, as others here have speculated, that Mr. Birnbaum's "work" was mostly based on a press release by a lefty group he feels sympatico with and thus trusted more than he should have.

The thing that people should really take away from this is that there are no Althouses checking the work on the other 100 articles in the paper, and many if not most of those are similarly unreliable, in exactly the same way.

Penny said...

"The thing that people should really take away from this is that there are no Althouses checking the work on the other 100 articles in the paper, and many if not most of those are similarly unreliable, in exactly the same way."

No "Athouses" to make our lives more reliable?

True, if you have a want ad out there for more Andrew Sullivans and Charles Johnsons.

RuyDiaz said...

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term "free-enterprise system."

Well, considering the term 'Capitalism' was coined by Karl Marx, and thus is completely misleading, it's about time somebody did something like that.

RuyDiaz said...

Correction:

I didn't trust my memory, and so I checked my assertion: according to The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, it was Comte who coined the term.

Seven Machos said...

Does it really matter which socialist/communist/fascist/propagator of philosophies responsible for the deaths of millions coined the term?

dave in boca said...

Excellent sleuthing, Ann, in digging up the actual text which the WaPo doesn't want to share with its so-called indoctrinees. Birnbaum seems to represent a whole school of post-modern marxist scribblers who do not merit by any way, shape or form, the designation "journalist." Their goal is to mislead the reader or leave the willing participant in a shell game fantasy of winning symbolically over the poor benighted unwashed.

All elites puff themselves up with grandiose hubris just before they pop like balloons and leave their remnants strewn across the landscape in shreds. The WaPo will soon revert to an Internet-based daily with far less influence and integrity than it had before the Watergate saga pushed the paper into a rip tide of pro-Democrat biases and then post-modern internationalist agitprop.

And if he's lucky, a fraud like Birnbaum will get an hour on Mess-NBC or another cable "news and opinion" outlet. Better that than reading the semi-literate lurches of a left-wing mind doing a double-clutch shuffle.

Deborah said...
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edutcher said...

May I add my kudos, Professor. Excellent analysis.

Jason said...

These fuckers lie and lie and lie their asses off. Liberals lie about everything, all the time. There is nothing in modern progressivism that is not a lie. Everything they do is perched on a foundation of lies. Every point they make is wrapped in a blanket of lies. The truth is not in them.

Around 1970, there was a Lefty puff piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer trying to make the point about how phony 'our parents' were because, even when they were in doubt, they lied. Since then, we've learned it's been the subverted, useful idiot youth who lied and knew they were lying and have been lying ever since.

Palladian said...

When I was in 6th grade, I read Gibbon's "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" over Christmas to impress my history teacher, since we were supposed to be talking about classical history.

She'd never heard of it.


This is what happens when you have teacher's unions more interested in political activism than education. If you want a real revelation, read Albert Shanker's candid remarks concerning how high a priority education was in the goals of the AFT.

Seven Machos said...

...

Does it really matter which battle happened where (especially in the atrophy that was WWI)? No. What matters about every war is why it happened and what were the political results.

You betray your ignorance. A number of the major battles - the Marne, the Somme - had a direct impact on how subsequent wars were fought and won. A lot of old ideas fell apart and new concepts were tried out of necessity. Blitzkrieg, as an example, was born at Cambrai.

Man. Is The Guns of August really that high-level reading?

I read it in my junior year of high school for a book report. As I recall, it was quite a slog.

Alan said...

For all you folks advocating segmentation when teaching history, please note that Texas already does this. American History is taught in the eighth and ninth grades, broken roughly between the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Seventh grade is devoted entirely to Texas history. Trust me, that takes an entire year as well. Tejas has a colorful past--"Six Flags" ain't just an amusement park.


Pennsylvania and probably a good many other states do the same.

ricpic said...

I would agree with Professor Althouse that the Texas standards are "impressively ambitious and comprehensive." In fact, although I don't agree with the assertion that McCarthyism and HUAC increased cold war tensions - or if they did that was secondary to their usefulness in the defense against the very real communist infiltration of our government that the Venona Papers later confirmed - I would be hard put to back my contention with a specific fact argument. My point being that for students to write convincingly about the cold war period (or the civil war period) would require immersion in the actual arguments and documents of those periods (Jefferson Davis' actual address, for example, as well as historians' later interpretations of his words). Are high school students, or high school teachers, up to that level of rigor? Maybe not, but the ambition is praiseworthy.

Lastly, the WaPo is concerned about protecting American sovereignty? Har har.

Bob_R said...

Very good post. As others point out, the stakes here are high because Texas is a huge textbook market, so textbooks will change to accommodate. This is why concerns about "deletions" from the curriculum are misplaced. The material will stay in because it will be in the standards from other states.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse: So would you agree that these are really impressively ambitious and comprehensive standards?

Oh, please Althouse! I went to high school in New York State and we never got to the end of World War 2. I remember teachers complaining about how ridiculously detailed their instructions were and how no one could possibly cover them all.

Who cares what textbooks say about the civil rights movement or capitalism? Those pages might as well be blank. If you don't keep the standards simple, you're a fraud who doesn't care about history at all, you're only interested in propaganda. Clearly, the same spirit is at work at the Washington Post, but I don't see anyone in this discussion who isn't free of its influence.

Richard said...

Well done, Professor. It's analysis like this that makes you a must visit link on my bookmarks list.

Paul Zrimsek said...

But is the text in those PDFs actually what the WaPo story is talking about? This story suggests it might not be:

The board attempted to make more than 200 amendments this week, reshaping draft standards that had been prepared over the last year and a half by expert groups of teachers and professors.

As new amendments were being presented just moments before the vote, Democrats bristled that the changes had not been vetted.

I think what you've been looking at may be what those draft standards looked like before they were "reshaped".

Michael said...

FLS: Great idea!! Let every student do her own thing but do it really really well!! And then she could teach the rest of the class on that topic. Wouldn't that be really really groovy and plus she would learn so much.

Thank you for very neatly summing up the dumbing down.

mesquito said...

I'll leave it up to the class.

What'll it be: Kings and battles, or dialectical materialism?

PJ said...

The left has taken a lesson from the Catholic church. It's much easier to make people believe (and behave) as desired when your priests have monopoly control over access to original texts and explication of same for public consumption. The idea of people drawing their own conclusions about texts without official intermediation is associated with the Reformation (i.e., all hell breaking loose). The WaPo is a modern cathedral, and its reporter is just doing God's work. STFU, heathens.

AllenS said...

Michael Birnbaum had a story to tell. He could hardly care what the facts are.

Tag: making shit up

Roger J. said...

Great post and good comments--may I posit one minor quibble? Has to do with original sources. Original sources are from documents like letters, census records, tax records and the like--Anything written by subsequent historians are secondary sources who, admittedly, use original source material but interpret it based on their own values. Even the wonderful Tactius interprets the events of his times based on a Republican pov--While the Julians gave him lots of material, even Tacticus is a secondary source. Getting access to original sources (in the historiographal sense) is not an easy task.

Ari Tai said...

How many generations of (WaPo) journalists must we go back thru to find someone actually schooled in these issues? Even better, someone who studied the original correspondence, court evidence, etc? Else we're left with little more than the quality of reporting on a topic outside of the experience of the reporter and likely worse, because if it were say, a new disease, at least they'd acknowledge their deficits and interview the discovers before writing. And even then be happy to find out later that they (innocently) misrepresented –only- half of the topic.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Random Musings said...

So kids are going to get a well rounded history lesson? Horrors!! Teach our children about the main characters on both sides of the Civil War? What injustice!! I'm glad the Washington Post is watching out for the next generation.

David Guenthner said...

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term "free-enterprise system."

The Post also had this wrong. The previous standards used "free-enterprise system," but the tenured academics on the writing panels switched that term out for "capitalism" (with negative connotations) in their drafts. The majority on the State Board put the language back as it was.

http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2009-03-26-socialstudies-testimony-bt.pdf

Bill Harshaw said...

I think Paul may be right--the posted pdfs are before the last go-round of amendments. Look at the document properties of the pdf's. Last modified in April, so any changes would not be reflected.

Donald Douglas said...

"Especially since I self-linked from Instapundit."

God, that makes the post right there. I bow to her Majesty! LOL!

"And yes, this is all my original work, based on my suspicion that it was misparaphrased and my digging up and reading the documents."

I saw this angle on the Texas School Board at Newsbusters earlier, but Ann, you're always breaking the bigs! Love it!

Hagar said...

To understand how textbooks are made (and today they are "made," not written), buy or borrow a copy of Dick Feynmann's "Surely you are joking Mr. Feynmann!" (1985) and read the chapters on his experiences as member of California's Blue Ribbon Panel of distinguished experts consulting on textbook selection 40 years ago.

I am sorry that it has come to this, but it is high time that someone pushed back at least a little.

As for public school history classes, I think the books probably had ought to stop at V-J Day.

History has always been an interest of mine, and though I grew up in a quiet little country with much less controversy about its history than here, I can remember shooting my hand up in class to object to some statement, and the teacher looking over to me and saying, "Yes, I know, Hagar, but for the purposes of this class, we will go with what is in the textbook!"

LarsPorsena said...

Althouse at her best. I could kiss you AA. But in a chaste brother-sister way if you know what I mean.

RuyDiaz said...

Does it really matter which socialist/communist/fascist/propagator of philosophies responsible for the deaths of millions coined the term?

stevenmachos;

It matters to me. Now I know something I thought I knew yesterday.

To recap; it was Auguste Comte who coined the term. The term is misleading because it implies that capital, not consumer taste, determines what is produced in the marketplace. The Texas board of education is acting reasonably by avoiding its use.

Jason (the commenter) said...

PJ: The left has taken a lesson from the Catholic church. It's much easier to make people believe (and behave) as desired when your priests have monopoly control over access to original texts and explication of same for public consumption. The idea of people drawing their own conclusions about texts without official intermediation is associated with the Reformation (i.e., all hell breaking loose).

As if members of Protestant denominations go to Sunday School and find theologians from several denominations ready to battle it out. Catholics and Protestants all bow to authority.

If anything, the Washington Post is learning lessons from the Protestant church. The source material is freely available, but they never expect anyone to look at, or question it.

Kelly said...

Does anyone have children here?? It's been my experience that text books are rarely used.

Teachers rely on handouts and video. This year my daughter has done projects such as building a model of a hooverville, a castle and an ABC scrap book on Greece. All time-wasters in my opinion.

She is in the 6th grade and rarely does she have an assignment that requires reading from the text book in any class. The text books are messy anyway; full of bullets, distracting pictures, highlighted wording/bolded wording/underlined wording, little boxes within boxes to highlight an important point. It's hard to find paragraphs amongst all the garbage. I could see how an ADD kid would get totally distracted from viewing a text book.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"... the posted pdfs are before the last go-round of amendments. Look at the document properties of the pdf's. Last modified in April, so any changes would not be reflected."

That is hardly the point of this post.

The employees of the Washington Post are not uneducated. They know how to link their readers to the source documents upon which their stories are based. We needn't take the Washington Posts' word for what these documents say. They could easily link their readers to the source documents themselves.

In the past, a newspaper could argue that it is too expensive to print every source document. But that argument doesn't wash in the digital era. Pixels are essentially free.

So now why wouldn't the Post show the actual documents that their reporting is based on so that readers can decide for themselves?

I'll tell you why: They don't want their readers to have access to the source documents. So they deliberately do not link to them.

They want their readers to be dependent on the Washington Post's recitation of the facts - which as Ann has revealed is deliberately inaccurate.

They also learned a lesson when CBS released the source documents underlying their claims about former President Bush's wartime service. The internet wasted little time in proving that those source documents were faked and that led directly to Dan Rather's firing.

Mr. Birnbaum and his cohorts learned that lesson well. So, they refuse to link to source documents.

The result is that you can't trust what you read in the Washington Post. Any story might be true, or might not be true. That's the game. They report some things straight. The result is that we're forced to fact-check every article. They know this. They know we'll tire of that task and then they can resume their propaganda distribution.

The best use of the Washington Post is to see what stories they're willing to lie about.

That reveals what the left is up to; and what the left fears. Pravda had a similar use.

The Washington Post is willing to lie to its readers in an easily detectable way about what is being placed into the textbooks our students will be forced to consume.

That in itself is very revealing.

Kevin T. Keith said...

"students are required to "understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system," so what is the problem?"

Well, one of those terms refers to a general economic practice (enterprise), one refers to a commercial environment or trading system (market), and one is the name of the overall economic system that incorporates the previous two, and its underlying ideology (capitalism). So they are not synonymous, although they are related. It does not surprise me that the members of the Texas Board of Education do not know what "synonymous" means - it surprises me that they know the word "synonymous" - but that hardly makes them right.

More importantly, every change made to the curriculum was made for a reason. It's the reasons for those changes - and their combined impact - that are the problem.

Maybe it's true that only half the historical figures they are required to know were Confederates, but the board went to lengths to add Confederates to what they wanted the students to know.

Maybe it doesn't say the UN "imperil[s] US sovereignty", but it adds the UN - bizarrely - to a list of factors that "control territory [and] create conflict/war".

It doesn't literally say that Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's ideas about slavery were "equivalent", but it adds Davis equally with Lincoln to the list of people to be listened to on that question. (I wonder: when Davis notes, in his speech, that "the cultivation of our fields has progressed as heretofore", does the Texas Board of Education require the students to know how that was done, and by whom? When he refers to "the production of the great staple which constitutes our exports", are they required to identify what that crop was, and how it was grown? When he claims that, in the new Confederacy, "the rights of person and property have not been disturbed", will the students be told which persons did and did not have such rights, and exactly what that "property" consisted of? When he invokes the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to assert his right to destroy the country they created and continue to enslave its citizens, when he accuses the North of "wanton aggression" in the war the South started, and when he warns that the North, not the South, will hold a "terrible responsibility" for "the suffering of millions" in trying to end slavery, do the standards dictate the repulsed rejection of his moral perversion, or is that optional? When he offers advice on how to handle the situation when the South wins the war and the North later asks for admission to the Confederacy, what degree of contemptuous mocking laughter do the standards call for?)

Why exactly do the students have to add so many Confederate figures and documents to their studies? (When they study WWII, do they have to read "Mein Kampf"?) Why are Confederate figures elevated to parallel US Presidents? How is the existence of the UN placed in parallel with "control of resources" as a reason for war? This isn't accidental. Each of these changes and "balancings" represents a statement of relative values - and the values the Texas Board of Education has chosen to go out of its way to raise to greater significance are the moral sanctity of the Confederacy, the supposed threat of the existence of the UN, McCarthyism, and red-baiting. Better these clowns should just take their place with McCarthy and Jeff Davis on the dungheap of history.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"This year my daughter has done projects such as building a model of a hooverville, a castle and an ABC scrap book on Greece. All time-wasters in my opinion."

Kelly, are you married? Does your husband work? Knowing what you know ... why wouldn't you quit your job for a few years and home school your children at this critical time? Resume your career later on.

Your children need you. They're depending on you to protect them from these people who are destroying their future by not educating them.

Protect your children! Get them as far away from public education as you can. Sacrifice yourself for them.

You will never regret it.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

The most revealing event at this hearing was the following:

""I have let down the students in our state," said board member Mary Helen Berlanga (Democrat). "What we have done today is something that a classroom teacher would not even have accepted," she said, sweeping a pile of history books from her desk onto the floor.

Unable to win the argument, Ms. Berlanga the Democrat threw a temper tantrum, violently sweeping books from her desk onto the floor.

Democrats know precisely how important it is to control the narrative that will be taught to children in school and they cannot abide children finding out that Democrats opposed the Civil Rights movement or that the Democrats have Ku Klux Klan members in the United States Senate.

They don't want our children educated. They need them ignorant and they'll violently lash out if they don't get what they want.

weffiewonj said...

It looks like WaPo may be referring to subsequent amendments to the pdf cited by Althouse. See here, though I can't authenticate the documents, linked by Talking Points Memo:
http://www.tfn.org/site/DocServer/McLeroy_Amendments_-_May.pdf?docID=1461

The amendment still does not say McCarthyism was vindicated by the Venona Papers, and other news reports show further amendments were made.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Kelly: She is in the 6th grade and rarely does she have an assignment that requires reading from the text book in any class. The text books are messy anyway; full of bullets, distracting pictures, highlighted wording/bolded wording/underlined wording, little boxes within boxes to highlight an important point. It's hard to find paragraphs amongst all the garbage.

Whenever I think of my public school history education, it makes me want to pick up a history book and read. There's so much we didn't cover!

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

There is also this: "describe the role of individuals such as governors George Wallace, Orval Faubus, and Lester Maddox and groups, including the Congressional bloc of southern Democrats, that sought to maintain the status quo [in the Civil Rights Era]." That's obviously not from the Civil War, but I can see why it's annoying to Democrats.

What I can't see is why Republicans wouldn't be the least bit annoyed with trying to describe the role of George Wallace, given the ultimate disposition of his supporters.

The document on economics does use the term "free enterprise system" throughout, but students are required to "understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system," so what is the problem?

You mean, other than the fact that you can't find an economist who believes that any economy in the world is anything other than a mixed system?

traditionalguy said...

The written documents are continuing to have little to no meaning under a regime that truly believes that whatever they say is the Law and the Truth forever. We are already a seduced nation under a one man ruler.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Flexo: Ha! I once read a liberal commenter somewhere suggesting that conservatives pining for Western Civilization coursework are full of it. The argument went that the conservatives don't really want young, impressionable people reading the crazy, radical ideas in the vital tomes of the Cannon. Instead, conservatives want a watered-down understanding of certain acceptable ideas.

There's definitely some truth to that critique and the exact same process at a much shallower, dumber level is going on in these curriculum debates.


Yes-yes! See Socrates: Trial and Execution of.

Thanks for being honest, Machos. Always a pleasure.

F said...

Ann:

First of all, congratulations on a well-researched (and fast! do you ever sleep?) critique of Birnbaum's article. I agree with others who say you should send this to the WaPo for publication.

My second thought is an extension of what Jeremy said early on: this is an ambitious curriculum, and if the kids in Texas really study according to it they will be worlds ahead of their fellow students from other states. That would be a delicious irony, no? F

LarsPorsena said...

Skimmed the PDF's.
Nit pick. Under inventors I didn't see Edison but they included Pasteur.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Why am I finding myself in an unusual level of agreement with Machos' posts this morning?

Not only one of them, but quite a few of them.

Gahrie said...

the Texas Board of Education has chosen to go out of its way to raise to greater significance are the moral sanctity of the Confederacy, the supposed threat of the existence of the UN, McCarthyism, and red-baiting. Better these clowns should just take their place with McCarthy and Jeff Davis on the dungheap of history.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

traditionalguy said...

The missing ingrediant is "Critical thinking", and that has dropped away because the new facts are all bunko and fraud that cannot withstand any critical thinking performed in schools. It really has been caused by the surrender of the teachers to the stories that hate White European American culture.

LarsPorsena said...

"Why exactly do the students have to add so many Confederate figures and documents to their studies? (When they study WWII, do they have to read "Mein Kampf"?"

It's American History and for all their faults, Davis and Lee ("so many Confederate figures") are Americans.

TML said...

No one's appalled by the VERY FIRST GRAFF?!: The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards that minimize the separation of church and state and say that America is not a democracy but a "constitutional republic."
The US has never been a democracy. It's always been a constitutional republic. Nation of laws. What editor would ever let that screaming piece of bias stand? Amazing.

Moira Breen said...

Kevin T. Keith: I wonder: when Davis notes, in his speech, that "the cultivation of our fields has progressed as heretofore", does the Texas Board of Education require the students to know how that was done, and by whom?

Yeah, I'm sure the plan is to remove any mention of slavery from the study of the Civil War. Easy to get around that minor detail, I'm sure.

(When they study WWII, do they have to read "Mein Kampf"?)

Uh, yes? As in "duh"? Perhaps only those with a serious interest in WWII would actually read the thing, but students should at least be aware of its existence and what's in it. Since the Mr. A. Hitler has some slight relevance to the unpleasantness in the middle years of the last century.

Better these clowns should just take their place with McCarthy and Jeff Davis on the dungheap of history.

You seem to be laboring under the bizarre misapprehension that history can be taught or understood with no mention of the Bad Guys or the losers.

Kirby Olson said...

This is why all the newspapers but for a few are going under. They will suffer the fate of Pravda and other tools of the redistributionists.

The Wall Street Journal is pretty good. I have read somewhere that it is the only major newspaper that is still in the black. The others are all in the red.

My local newspaper's editorialist blasts the local churches at least once a week for promoting every kind of bigotry. Then he blasts the locals (who are largely churchgoers) for not supporting his newspaper.

SGT Ted said...

Why exactly do the students have to add so many Confederate figures and documents to their studies?

So that the students learn about what shaped the debates, sparked the division and subsequent civil war that killed 600,000 Americans. Your refusal to even consider that students wouldn't be able to figure out from those documents why the south was wrong is pretty insulting.

Also, you should consider that the southern revisionist party line is that the "war of Northern Aggression" (in which the south actually initiated by firing on Fort Sumpter without provocation)and that it was about "States Rights", but when you refer to what people like Jeff Davis etc actually said about the Norths efforts in trying to end slavery, it makes it crystal clear that that the war was ultimatey fought over slavery. Many prominent sosutherners were quite open about that. Their POV should be exposed for what it is.

And if our HS students can't understand that slaves were/are considered property,(Dred Scott) heaven help us.

roesch-voltaire said...

Ann good job of reporting i.e. actually taking the time to read the text in detail, but this lack of effort and time is not just a product of liberal news media-- for example Fox News is not much better with their line:They also required that public school students in Texas evaluate efforts by global organizations such as the United Nations to undermine U.S. sovereignty. I suspect this is another example of reporters spread thin and not given the time to research their topics. This is a problem at all levels of media particularly at the level of investigative reporting. And as many have noted this is a general problem in education where original sources are frequently pass-over in favor of the bland texts. And teachers as sharp as and challenging as Kevin T. Keith would barely last a year in most schools.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why exactly do the students have to add so many Confederate figures and documents to their studies? (When they study WWII, do they have to read "Mein Kampf"?)

Re: Mein Kampf. I would say yes. At least excerpts.

If you are to study history, you need to study all sides of the event in order to understand what happened and to be able to relate that history to present events.

That is exactly why.

If you don't study all sides and just get a distorted, warped and inaccurate presentation of history.....it is propaganda.

Propaganda is what our public school system has been force feeding our children from the 1960's to today.

It has to stop. This is exactly why Texas (God bless them) has stood up to the sausage machine of leftists propaganda education.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"My local newspaper's editorialist blasts the local churches at least once a week for promoting every kind of bigotry. Then he blasts the locals (who are largely churchgoers) for not supporting his newspaper."

What is the name of that newspaper?

SGT Ted said...

Also, eliminating unpopular but prominent hostorical figures from history is what totalitarians and Communists nations do, in order to prop their own evil ideologies.

Why would anyone want to censor out who these people were and what they said, especially in a History class?

Flexo said...

The left has taken a lesson from the Catholic church.

PJ, you are full of crap. Do you write for the Washington Post?

I would tend to guess, though, that you learned that misinformed anti-Catholic bigotry that you spouted from contemporary schools. But if one thing is clear -- if what they teach in schools about America is filled with crap, what they say about the Catholic Church is 1000 percent complete crap.

My advice, don't betray your ignorance further with your comments.

Moira Breen said...

Kelly: The text books are messy anyway; full of bullets, distracting pictures, highlighted wording/bolded wording/underlined wording, little boxes within boxes to highlight an important point. It's hard to find paragraphs amongst all the garbage. I could see how an ADD kid would get totally distracted from viewing a text book.

No kidding. It's as if they were deliberately designed to destroy any developing (and necessary) capacity for focus and concentration. Even my kid's math textbooks were an ADD mess.

Sometimes we'd pick up cheap "classic" (mainly math) textbooks from Amazon that cover the topics (ostensibly) covered in the Bright! Flashing! Colored! Lights! (Caution! May induce Epileptic Fits in Susceptible Readers!) official textbooks. Going from the new to the old is like being transported from the Vegas Strip to a Zen garden.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

Here's another great story illustrating the abject incompetence of the press, this time from the NY Times.

The headline is: "U.S. Implicates North Korean Leader in Attack

The actual story, however, says there is no evidence linking Kim Jong Il to the attack.

Unnamed Source: "We can’t say it is established fact."

But that didn't stop the NY times from saying Kim had been "implicated." The story cites no evidence whatsoever to support the headline.

Claim: "... the assessment was based on [officials'] sense of the political dynamics there rather than hard evidence."

So, here we have no facts, just some unnamed officials' out-of-the-ass "sense" of things. But the NY Times claims in the headline that Kim Jong Il has thus been "implicated" in the torpedoing of a ship.

I mean, you can't make this shit up. We have morons running the country, and even dumber morons writing about it.

pakurilecz said...

many of my FB friends complained about the standards. my standard question was "have you read the standard?" usually i would get back links to the NYT, WaPo, the Daily Show. to which i responded. that doesn't answer my question, I don't want to know what someone else thinks, I want to know if you have read the standards. usually I here crickets chirping after that

Flexo said...

It's much easier to make people believe (and behave) as desired when your priests have monopoly control over access to original texts and explication of same for public consumption. The idea of people drawing their own conclusions about texts without official intermediation is associated with the Reformation (i.e., all hell breaking loose).

Anyone who had bothered to put in even a modicum of research, not to mention simple thought, into the question would know that "people," i.e. the everyday person in the world, did not own, or even have access to, even a single book until well after the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. The Church did not suppress reading -- books for public consumption simply did not exist!

Moreover, even after the printing press, there was not a large-scale distribution process for the sale of books. And even if there were, what good would it have done for the everyday person since very few people were illiterate??

Even when Luther, et al. were pushing the idea of individual interpretation of scripture, he still meant the elites, those who knew how to read and were wealthy enough to own books.

setnaffa said...

Ann, you're awesome today!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Perhaps only those with a serious interest in WWII would actually read the thing, but students should at least be aware of its existence and what's in it. Since the Mr. A. Hitler has some slight relevance to the unpleasantness in the middle years of the last century.

The implication of Mr. Keith's interesting logic seems to be that it would be wicked to mention Hitler at all. Less danger of moral contamination if the kids study a Hitler-free WWII along with their Davis- and Lee-free Civil War.

Brent said...

Jason, the Commenter - are you really that willfully STUPID? You said:

If anything, the Washington Post is learning lessons from the Protestant church. The source material is freely available, but they never expect anyone to look at, or question it.

The most successful Protestant churches in America are all about each individual member DAILY reading his or her Bible themselves. Members are encouraged to be like "Bereans". who personally examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11.

Successful protestant churches want just the opposite of what you lied about them. They believe that personal reading is essential to Christian life success.

Afraid what I'm saying is true, Jason? Afraid to be called out just like Althouse called out Birnbaum?

Just look here - unless you are afraid.


And here. Just 2 examples - want a hundred more?

You pulled a Washington Post, Jason. You just did what Birbaum just did in the article Ann tore apart!

I suspect you are ignorant about pretty much everything Jason.

Jason's new name here: Jason, the Washington Post

Largo said...

DBQ,

I once spent some time with a book I found in a high school library were I was teaching briefly. Virtually no commentary, but a reproduction of original documents. Photos, letters, propaganda posters, memos, etc, from Germany, from the thirties through the mid-forties.

Even though I knew of the history, the vividness was something new. And it awakened an historical interest in me--a sense of what it means to do history, because you have to actual "do history" in a sense, because you have just the artifacts, and you are on your own.

AllenS said...

Clicking on Mr. Keith's profile, I see that under Industry he put in Education.

PJ said...

@J(tc): As if members of Protestant denominations go to Sunday School and find theologians from several denominations ready to battle it out. Catholics and Protestants all bow to authority.

Respectfully, that misses the point. I was raised Catholic, and although we were encouaged to own a Bible we were never encouraged to read it, much less study it, in the privacy of our homes. I am not acquainted with all Protestant denominations, but the ones I know of encourage private Bible reading and study, as well as emphasizing the personal relationship between the believer and God. You don't have to have an ecumenical panel discussion at your worship service in order to prompt personal reflection on the meaning of the basic text. Also, while some Protestant denominations do a Catholic-style top-down dictation of religious doctrine, my understanding is that others don't.

If anything, the Washington Post is learning lessons from the Protestant church. The source material is freely available, but they never expect anyone to look at, or question it.

Again, the Protestant churches of which I'm aware all actively encourage private Bible reading, however much they may also encourage belief in one or another interpretation of the text. But I do agree that in the internet age, the self-appointed gatekeepers (perhaps temporarily) can't make access to the proof of their mendacity as difficult as it used to be, so the monopoly on access is not what it was in the glory days (heh) of Mother Church.

@tradguy: "Critical thinking" is indeed a neglected skill. They could well start with a class on how to critically read a newspaper.

Flexo said...

it makes it crystal clear that that the war was ultimatey fought over slavery. Many prominent sosutherners were quite open about that.

Nice qualifying weasel word there, Sarge, "ultimately."

The war was indeed "ultimately" fought over slavery. But that is not the cause for it beginning. To be sure, it was a factor, but it was not the only factor, as contemporary writings will attest.

The North did not raise up an army in 1861 to end slavery any more than the South called up troops in 1861 to preserve it.

Throughout the South, it was only a small percentage of the population who owned slaves (including a few blacks who owned slaves). And very few, if any, of the rank and file troops in the Sourthern regiments owned slaves. To be sure, many of the troops had to compete with slave labor for jobs. The everyday soldier of the South did not go off to war just to preserve some rich man's privilege.

And the Northern soldier did not much care about the plight of the black man either. Certainly, even if slavery were morally wrong, it wasn't worth getting dead over.

There were plenty of other reasons for war to break out than slavery. For the North, it was the fact of attempted seccession, and the subsequent need to preserve the Union. For some in the South, it was the threat of the federal government oppressively telling the states what they could do and not do (over tariffs, over slavery, and over other matters), which led them to choose seccession. For others, it was President Lincoln and others decision to start raising an Army to fight against the Sourthern states, which they saw as "Northern Aggression," which led them to join up to defend their homeland.

It was not until after the Battle of Antietam, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, largely as a wartime propaganda measure, that the war turned from a fight to preserve the Union to a moral cause over slavery. Only then did the war "ultimately" become about slavery.

But do not expect to read that in modern day history books.

Flexo said...

But do not expect to read that in modern day history books.

Clarification -- But do not expect to read that in modern day history textbooks.

chr1 said...

So,is Birnbaum is aiming for the wife-of-a-diplomat, nanny-using, soccer mom in the D.C. area who feels guilty about living in a $600K home and vaguely progressive...who might be inspired by such mush-headed reporting?

This is thin gruel.

Robert Burnham said...

Why is anyone surprised that Lefies will lie and distort to maintain their grip on education, politics, and culture?

Chase said...

Why is anyone surprised that Lefies will lie and distort to maintain their grip on education, politics, and culture?




See above.

GMay said...

This thread is the best evidence I've seen so far for more "open" type threads on Althouse. This blog seems to have enough readers who want to talk to/chew on other readers in the late evenings and/or weekends.

What say you professor?

SGT Ted said...

My use of "Ultimately" isn't a weasil word.

My point is, that if slavery had been eradicated during the forming of the country, the civil war would not have been fought.

The political debates leading to the election of Abraham Lincoln were all about slavery as an institution and the North and Republicans forbidding any more slave states into the union. The election of Abe Lincoln, who was very vocally opposed to slavery, but who wanted to end it legislatively, was what sparked secession. The tariffs were about punishing the southern states for continuing slavery; ei: the perception of cheap labor giving them an unfair advantage over those who had to pay wages to workers.

It doesn't matter what these people thought about blacks; thats a separate issue (Lincoln wanted to ship them back to Africa). What brought them to do battle was the disagreement on the idea that a human being could be someone elses property. Their own words make it perfectly clear.

Slavery lead to the civil war. That southerners couched their opposition to ending slavery in "civil rights" language does not change that fact.

former law student said...

The term is misleading because it implies that capital, not consumer taste, determines what is produced in the marketplace.

So it was consumer preference for poisoned dog food that prodded Chinese manufacturers to put toxic melamine in their wheat gluten?

I'm not sure I believe that. I think it was the desire to maximize return on invested capital.

former law student said...

The Wall Street Journal is pretty good. I have read somewhere that it is the only major newspaper that is still in the black.

The WSJ is the only major newspaper that has been able to get people to pay for its online content.

ricpic said...

Flexo - Everyone I know who prides himself on being sophisticated and in the know derides the importance and in fact centrality of the slavery issue as the cause of the Civil War. That doesn't change the fact that on the Union side men marched into battle singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Those same men, who didn't think much of the Negro, did acknowledge that the Negro had a soul and that therefore it was an affront to God for one man to own another. There is no way to understand the ferocity of the Civil War without acknowledging the passion, directly relating to slavery, of those who entered into it.

former law student said...

the ones I know of encourage private Bible reading and study, as well as emphasizing the personal relationship between the believer and God.

After the Word became Flesh, he founded a church, and put it under the leadership of Peter.

He did not write a Handbook to Holiness for individuals to use.

If reading the Bible contained everything necessary for salvation, why do Protestants have clergy, services, buildings, etc. etc.?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The tariffs were about punishing the southern states for continuing slavery; ei: the perception of cheap labor giving them an unfair advantage over those who had to pay wages to workers.

This argument, that the SGT offers, is probably the best mortar to fill in the gaps in a modern-day understanding/debate over the Civil War.

It's an economic argument that Americans today can readily understand, and draws the direct link to slavery that contrarians, whether Confederate apologists or not, tend to dismiss too readily.

former law student said...

The tariffs were about punishing the southern states for continuing slavery; ei: the perception of cheap labor giving them an unfair advantage over those who had to pay wages to workers.

This argument, that the SGT offers, is probably the best mortar to fill in the gaps in a modern-day understanding/debate over the Civil War.


Imagine if just ONE kid in a high school history class had learned enough about slavery in America to make that argument. That's the power of segmenting US history.

Instead we spoonfeed kids and bore them to death.

What's a more important lifeskill for kids to master: digging out the truth for themselves, or passively accepting pre-chewed information, selected for its ability to confirm the biases of one interest group or other?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

1860 was about the time where industrialization takes off full-force. How darn resentful do you think that Northern manufacturers are going to be once they realize that they're paying their laborers the wages that the slaveowners running the plantations of the South got to forego?

Both groups had, as they do now, quite a bit of power and clout in the political system.

It's a pretty straightforward argument.

Brent said...

If reading the Bible contained everything necessary for salvation, why do Protestants have clergy, services, buildings, etc. etc.?

Your statement has 2 parts that are not directly connected.

1)The Bible contains what is necessary to know for salvation: God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten (unique)Son, that whosoever believes (trusts in, clings to, relys on) in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

2) For aiding in living the Christian life is the purpose of the second part of your statement (clergy, services, etc). Attendance at church doesn't make one a Christian (salvation) anymore than standing in a garage makes one a car.

AlphaLiberal said...

'"vindicated" is inflammatory and unfair'??


What? It's a word.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

@Flexo

The dodge of southerners for over a hundred years has been that the Civil War was fought primarily over states' rights. Let me ask you, which states' right in particular was the greatest cause of contention? Could it have been the "right" to own slaves? I have spent years reading a wide range of sources on the Civil War. I was inclined to your argument when I began, but eventually had to admit that the evidence is clear-- the Civil War was fought over slavery and nothing else. The states' rights position is at best disingenuous and at worst a self-serving lie.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlphaLiberal said...

"explain the roles played by significant individuals and heroes during the Civil War, including Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and congressional Medal of Honor recipients William Carney and Philip Bazaar;"

The Texas Board of Ed is teaching children that the leaders of the traitorous Confederacy were "heroes."

Now, some people continue to believe this to this day, especially the right wing who loves the traitorous Confederacy.

I think they are traitors and bums and do not deserve to be elevated to heroes before the nation's children.

Fen said...

AlphaLibtard: I think they are traitors and bums and do not deserve to be elevated to heroes before the nation's children.

Which is why you'll never teach history.

AlphaLiberal said...

This ideologically sanitized curriculum is dumbing down education.

Patm said...

One gets the sense that Journalists really DO study journalism because they're not good at anything else. Apparently accessing, reading, comprehending and quoting primary source documents is too much for them. God help us. We are without an intelligent and free press in this country. Bloggers won't be around much longer if Pelosi and Obama get their way.

Fen said...

I have spent years reading a wide range of sources on the Civil War. ...the Civil War was fought over slavery and nothing else.

Wrong. You should pick up Bruce Catton's "A Stillness at Appomattox".

RuyDiaz said...

So it was consumer preference for poisoned dog food that prodded Chinese manufacturers to put toxic melamine in their wheat gluten?

I'm not sure I believe that. I think it was the desire to maximize return on invested capital.


And how is that strategy working out for those Chinese manufacturers? As opposed to those, that, you know, respond to the deep abiding consumer desire not to be poisoned.

Michael McNeil said...

When I was in 6th grade, I read Gibbon's “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” over Christmas to impress my history teacher, since we were supposed to be talking about classical history. She'd never heard of it.

I also read Gibbon's book as a kid — but because I was fascinated by the subject, not to impress a teacher — and found it to be enthralling.

However, as I've learned since, Gibbon made many errors, some of them severe. For instance, as Byzantinist J.B. Bury (designer of the highly regarded Cambridge Medieval History) points out:

“A distinguished student of the art of war has observed that Gibbon's dictum, ‘the vices of Byzantine [i.e. medieval Roman] armies were inherent, their victories accidental,’ is precisely the reverse of the truth. He is perfectly right.”

Moreover, as a bibliography in The Cambridge Medieval History, referring to Bury's 7-volume annotated edition of Gibbon's famous history, points out: “Notes [are] essential especially for chronology.”

Chase said...

by significant individuals and heroes

The conjunction "and" here means they could be either significant individuals OR heroes, or they could be both.

Are you now stating that Jefferson Davis was not a significant individual?

Really?

Do you really not get this?

Please keep posting and illustrating the intelligence level capacity of liberals like Daniel Birnbaum of the Washington Post and Alpha Liberal.

Big Mike said...

@Alpha, you need to understand what a conjunction is. Jeff Davis and Bobby Lee might not be heroes to you, but they certainly were "significant individuals" as regards the Civil War.

AlphaLiberal said...

As to the use of the word "equivalency," the idea was very clearly not the equivalence of the ideas. He plainly said the "equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses."

That is, the lesson plan places as high a value on the speeches of Abe Lincoln as the Confederate traitor Jefferson Davis. It places as high a value on learning about a US President's values as a US traitor's.

This really is a very Confederate-friendly lesson plan. Note, also that "slavery" is not considered important enough for the neo-Confederates at the TX BOE.

William said...

Actually, the Board does have a problem with "capitalism" From the Texas Freedom Network blogging the Social Studies Debate with the TBE
http://tfninsider.org/2010/03/11/blogging-the-social-studies-debate-iv/

12:04 – The current standards draft currently refer to the economic system that exists in the United States as “free enterprise (capitalist, free market).” Mercer offers an amendment to strike out “(capitalist, free market)” in the standards and leave just “free enterprise.” The board’s far-right members have repeatedly complained (absurd) that “capitalism” is a negative term and, in any case, that state statute requires students to learn about the “free enterprise system.” Scholars on the curriculum teams had argued that “capitalism” and “free market” are commonly used terms in economics courses and everyday discourse. But Mercer and his allies on the board have this bizarre fetish with the words “free enterprise” over all others. Terri Leo: “I do think words mean things. . . . I see no reason, frankly, to compromise with liberal professors from academia.” The woman is shameless. How dare she attack someone whose politics she doesn’t even know.

12:08 – Pat Hardy notes that the scholar who recommended that “capitalism” and “free market” be used in the standards teaches at Texas A&M and is a Republican. He is “not some kind of crazy liberal,” she says.

12:11 – One is tempted to climb to the top of the Texas Education Agency building and shout: “These people have lost their minds.”

12:12 – Pat Hardy is calling out the board for its silliness and the suggestion that “capitalism” is a “nasty word.”

12:13 – Ken Mercer: I think capitalism is a good word, but academics don’t. Really? And where does he get that? This is a classic example of how some board members attack and smear without any facts.

12:15 – Guess what? It passes. The Texas State Board of Education has stricken from the standards references to “capitalism” and “free market” because the board’s right-wingers think “capitalism” is a negative term. The only permitted term for such an economic system will be “free enterprise.” We wouldn’t believe this if we hadn’t just watched it happen. This is so stupid it makes our head hurt.

Big Mike said...

@Chase, I see we both understand conjunctions, even if Alpha doesn't.

Fen said...

"Born in Connecticut, he was a merchant operating ships on the Atlantic Ocean when the war broke out in 1775. After joining the growing army outside Boston, he distinguished himself through acts of cunning and bravery. His actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, successful defensive and delaying tactics despite losing the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776, the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to major general), operations in relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, and key actions during the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that ended his combat career for several years.

In spite of his success, Arnold was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress while other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments.[3] Adversaries in military and political circles brought charges of corruption or other malfeasance, but he was acquitted in most formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts, and found that he owed it money after he had spent much of his own money on the war effort. Frustrated and bitter, Arnold decided to change sides in 1779, and opened secret negotiations with the British."

But AlphaLibtard wouldnt include this in his "history" lessons...

Fred4Pres said...

1010 Rachell Maddow school of journalism.

The ends (discrediting conservatives) justifies the means (lying about it).

Chase said...

William, thank you for reprinting something we are supposed to take as fact written by a blogger with an agenda.

Truth and liberals = no connection.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

@Alpha liberal

While the ultimate cause of the Confederacy was ignoble, I have always felt that southerners were justified in celebrating their heroes. These were men of exceptional ability, loyalty and courage. A common mistake is to judge the past by the standards of today. These men were defending a reality that is foreign to you, but it was consistent with the world they were raised into.

@Fen

Yeah, I've read Catton. Would you care to answer my question: If slavery wasn't the states' right in question, which one was? Put another way, if slavery were somehow removed from the question, is there any conceivable reason the Civil War would have happened anyway?

Fred4Pres said...

Fen, if you are going to quote wikipedia (the respected scholarly tome), at least put a link so we can check your citations.

Chase said...

1010 Rachell Maddow school of journalism.

The ends (discrediting conservatives) justifies the means (lying about it).



Gosh, that is so true!

I actually can't get a liberal co-worker to discuss Maddow's show anymore because she has been caught so many times in distorting the truth. My co-worker admits it (after 3 really significant Maddow errors/deliberate falsehoods) and tells me she quit watching Maddow.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

What can I say, Chase? It's been that way ever since John Locke challenged the idea of the divine right of kings.

Fred4Pres said...

Benjamin Franklin wrote that "Judas sold only one man, Arnold three millions",

And yeah, I lifted that from the same wikipedia article about Arnold.

Chase said...

That is, the lesson plan places as high a value on the speeches of Abe Lincoln as the Confederate traitor Jefferson Davis. It places as high a value on learning about a US President's values as a US traitor's.

Nice try. Wrong.

What can be better than comparing the ideas and seeing the reality of the superior arguments of Lincoln over over the statements of Jefferson Davis.

I read both in grammar school in South Carolina. Even then and there Lincoln's poetry and rightness was obvious over Davis.

AlphaLiberal, you're flailing. It's nt a good look on you.

From Inwood said...

Prof A

Thank you, thank you for this post. My wife thanks you...

Seven M

My wife was a freelance textbook editor & writer up to the end of the last Century (former textbook writer? former textbook editor?).

Your comment, in question form, “Who Cares About Texas?” (nevermind, “What’s The Matter With Texas?”; hey let’s make that “Who Cares About What’s The Matter With Texas?”) is a good one. My wife’s editor-in-charge was always whining about a couple in Texas, now both deceased, who would complain about what they saw as propaganda in textbooks. I once asked this self-inflated EIC my question & got a TMI lecture about the economics of the business. (This from a Marxist, but I digress.)

As best as I can relay her point (AJL picks it up here also), it’s that the publishers don’t want to have to publish two sets of textbooks much less 57 (to use Obama’s number) separate editions. But she couldn’t answer my next question: since NYC Liberals fight every thing every time, why wouldn’t they come up with their own NY standards, forcing a compromise?

Of course, when one thinks about it, NY, or Establishment, "thinking" governs in the first place &, up to now, Texas (or a majority of its textbook approval board) has been able to make only marginal changes, which were fought tooth & nail (e.g., the propaganda for the now thoroughly discredited AGW theory), which is why the uproar against this frontal assault. When the Soviets controlled the printing presses….

Oh, the stories I could tell. Did you know that 27 Filipinos took part in the Battle of New Orleans? The kiddies’ textbook told ‘em.

You folks really ought to see the Teachers’ Edition of the texts. They have suggested test questions for the teachers. Let’s just say that they were sooooo PC. In case the kiddies missed it in their reading assignment, the “27 Filipinos” were in the questions for the Teachers’ Edition. And Carrie Chapman Catt was one of the 10 answers to questions & an entry to the 10 "From Columns A & B” in the chapter on the WW I period, along with Wilson, Clemenceau, Foch, & Pershing! (I helped my wife do the Q & As for the “war” chapters in one American History textbook.) Um, depends on your definition of “significant”. Save the hysterical replies. Mention her in the text as “a significant individual” during the period but she didn’t have to be one of the only 10 in the suggested Q & A. Nevertheless we were told that we must mention women favorably (OOPS there went Mata Hari, but hey, maybe not) in every chapter’s Q & A & there weren’t any women declaring war, in the trenches, or at Versailles.

Fen said...

And yeah, I lifted that from the same wikipedia article about Arnold.

So? Whats your point? You agree with Alpha that we should demonize Arnold as a traitor and ignore his earlier contributions to creating this Republic?

AlphaLiberal said...

"Are you now stating that Jefferson Davis was not a significant individual?

Really?

Do you really not get this?"

You choose the most charitable view of this. Well, you're welcome to your view.

I look at their overall actions, the way they minimize slavery and seek a partisan lesson plan for the Civil Rights Act, and our overall presence of neoConfederates at the top levels of the modern conservative movement and I do not grant the same benefit of the doubt.

William said...

I congratulate Althouse for her good work, and I'm heartened that no one here has reached my level of cynicism. I'm of the opinion that high school students have more pressing concerns than a balanced understanding of our nation's history. All history becomes the Smoot Hawley Tariff: some chunky fact that is swallowed whole for the exam and then passes undigested out of the alimentary system.

AlphaLiberal said...

I do not see where I said anything about Benedict Arnold. Nor do I find his name in these lesson plans, unless I missed one.

My point was that the Confederacy, elevated to an equivalent importance as President Abraham Lincoln, was traitorous.

Pretty telling the extent you go to flog a red herring.

And the Texas Board of Education demands students learn more about this failed ideology and they downplay the role of slavery in causing the Civil War.

Chase said...

Alpha,

The main problem in teaching history your desired way - refusing to acknowledge the existence of those you personally detest - is exactly that said by George Santyana:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

AlphaLiberal said...

Ann Althouse is appalling in this post. Sure, she got her almighty web traffic.

But Ann Althouse is putting her seal of approval on the ideological sanitizing of childrens' curriculum. She is running interference for them.

For shame, Ann.

Fen said...

AlphaLibtard: overall presence of neoConfederates at the top levels of the modern conservative movement

*rolls eyes*

What a loon.

Chase said...

I'm of the opinion that high school students have more pressing concerns than a balanced understanding of our nation's history.

Illustrate, please.

AlphaLiberal said...

Chase, why does there have to be a formal requirement that students study the philosophy and words of the Confederate leader?

And why is that more important than studying slavery as a cause of the Civil War?

The TX BOE teaching doctrine is a summary of conservative political correctness. It is misinforming the children.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Chase, why does there have to be a formal requirement that students study the philosophy and words of the Confederate leader?

As has been explained over and over. If you don't know both sides of the story or both sides of the history, you are not learning anything real or relevant. Part of the story is misleading and distorts our understanding of history.

And why is that more important than studying slavery as a cause of the Civil War?


No one has made this assertion.

It is important to understand ALL of the causes of the Civil War and the reasons (hint hint.....there is more than one reason/cause) that something in history occured.

Of course I don't expect you to understand this concept because it requires an open mind.

Fen said...

AlphaLibtard: I do not see where I said anything about Benedict Arnold.

You want the history of "traitors" scrubbed from the textbooks. Arnold was an actual traitor who's heroic contributions to the forming of the Repulic were blotted out by people like you.

My point was that the Confederacy, elevated to an equivalent importance as President Abraham Lincoln, was traitorous

I don't think you meant to type that. You just implied that, from a hsitorical pov, the Confederacy is not as important as Lincoln.

[...]

student: "but WHO was Lincoln fighting?"

AlphaLibtard: "something called the Confederacy, but thats not important"

student: "whats a Confederacy?"

AlphaLibtard: "not important, lets get back to Lincoln..."

Neil B said...

Ann, you seem to have a valid point about exaggerations of some components of the Texas curriculum requirements. But you left out the worst part, which is AFAICT authentic:
replace "slave trade" with "Atlantic triangular trade." That sure does look like "whitewashing" the meaning of it, so to speak. So I wonder, what else questionable might you have ignored? Misrepresentation is wrong and it is right to point that out, but for context and balance we need to see what in the standards might really be questionable.


(But yes, in general, not enough critics look at source material. Well, that might have helped with respect to the Health Care Bill etc. as well ...)

Lyle said...

Typical elite journalist nonsense, which then becomes common thinking among the masses when the pick it up on NPR or read the paper.

David said...

Layers of editors, right?

Problem is, the editors are as lazy, ignorant and biased as the "journalist."

A.G. said...

Why is anyone surprised that Lefies will lie and distort to maintain their grip on education, politics, and culture?

True. It's a lot easier in fact if you start with the assumption that they are lying (Obamacare provisions, budget accounting, the AZ law, and so on) and then go from there.


Related: NYT deliberately misquoted Rand Paul on Maddow show:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/05/22/rachel-maddow-show-busts-new-york-times-misquoting-rand-paul

Chase said...

Actually, I believe that history should be taught extensively from 5th grade up in American schools. And rather than exclude MLK in favor of other items, I would frankly include as much as possible. Full disclosure: My parents were civil-rights marchers.

I would frankly make history 1/3 of every teaching day (hours of instruction) from 5th - 11th grades. I believe that rather than the current balkanization of our nation that is facilitated by our educational system and encouraged by our Main Stream Media - this post is such an example - such full history teaching would encourage national cohesiveness and prosperity. Seriously.

unlike liberals, I am not afraid to have the facts taught.




This entire

Neil B said...

BTW, re Media Matters et al: aside from whatever you think of their "politics", in my experience they are rather careful in their analysis of content etc. So it shouldn't be surprise this came from WaPo instead of MMFA, rather it's just what you would expect from the now lazy MSM rather than from MMFA etc. I suggest seeing what FactCheck etc. have to say too.

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