Colorado Nutjob: Why Don't Textbooks Explain America Voluntarily Stopped Slaving?
The Great AP History Fight in Jefferson County, Colorado, continues into another week, and there have been a few new developments. For one thing, on Thursday night the conservative school board passed a compromise version of a proposal to review all curricular materials, with particular emphasis on Advanced Placement US History (APUSH). The original proposal would have screened instructional materials to ensure they promoted "positive aspects" of God's Favorite Nation, like patriotism, respect for authority, individual rights, and the free enterprise system, while not encouraging "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law." The compromise that passed will "reorganize existing curriculum review groups in the district to involve more student, teacher and community voices," according to the Denver Post.
In addition, a few days ago the debate reached the state level, as a member of the Colorado Board of Education weighed in with her concerns about liberal bias in the APUSH curriculum, since she believes that teachers simply don't emphasize one of the most wonderful aspects of US America's history: the fact that we voluntarily ended slavery all by ourselves, good for us!
History expert and board member Pam Mazanec, a businesswoman from the town of Larkspur (population 234), added her concerns about APUSH to a Facebook discussion of the student protests and the history curriculum, responding to an APUSH teacher that she has read the new APUSH framework, and is Very Concerned that it takes "an overly negative view of our history and many of our historical figures." Even worse, just like so many college history classes taught by liberals, the framework gets the history of slavery all wrong:
As an example, I note our slavery history. Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today! Shouldn't our students be provided that viewpoint? This is part of the argument that America is exceptional. Does our APUSH Framework support or denigrate that position?
She also asked if the purpose of the AP US History framework is simply to help students pass a test, or to "[ensure] our students have a fair grasp of our history," noting that if the only goal is passing a test, then it might suffice -- but it shouldn't. And then she suggested that we probably shouldn't trust the College Board, because who are they anyway?
Is the College Board above question? And if so, why so? Their credentials? Aren't their others with equal credentials who are critics? How do you determine who is fit to decide what our students learn?
IMO, if this framework suffices, we as a nation are in danger of losing our history and our students could be cheated out of the ability to craft an argument. I'm recalling Ben Franklin: "A republic, ma'am, if you can keep it."
The Colorado Independent attempted to reach Ms. Mazanec for comment, but she didn't respond; the paper sought comment from real history teachers, who appear to have been infected by the notion that a Civil War that lasted four years and killed over half a million Americans was not quite the same as a "voluntary" decision to end slavery. For instance, Britain abolished slavery in 1833 by an act of Parliament, which seems considerably more voluntary.
Still, it's good to know that the Colorado Board of Education welcomes a diverse range of opinions about reality. We're looking forward to their support of proposals to teach alternatives to the theory of gravity, such as Intelligent Falling.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.