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American History: What Do We Teach our Children?

September 28, 2014

Tags: Truth telling, teaching of AP history, Jefferson County schools. elected school boards

Should we have elected or appointed school boards? Common sense says elect them. But track records say appointed boards usually (but not always) perform better. I live in Denver right next to Jefferson County where a recent election brought new members to the school board; along with some already on the board they created an ultra-conservative majority--with an agenda. They fired the superintendent who, by most measures, had outstanding achievements. Then they decided to change AP history instruction making it more patriotic by teaching "respect for authority" and by eliminating the teaching of civil disobedience. Some teachers called in sick in protest. Then school students got involved, staying out of school and marching. The Denver Post called it "A lesson in civics." The College Board sided with the students saying they would not give course credit to less than factual history. The Post's editorial page editor, Vincent Carroll, wrote, "History is not a morality tale. It does not exist to make us feel good or bad, although it often does both... let's keep the politics--left and right--from tainting its presentation." By the way, Thomas Jefferson, for whom Jefferson County is named, once wrote, "Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself."




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