We Have Met The Enemy, And They Are Where We “Educate” Our Children

A few years back, I reported on the “education” my daughter, Bun, got in a summer “Economics” class at a Saint Paul Public School.

Among the lessons she “learned” from the teacher:

  • We’ve had five black presidents: Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Harding and Coolidge were all afro-American.
  • People are “disregarding their blackness” to “reap white benefits”: The teacher cited the “one drop rule” – people with “even a drop” of black blood, so says the teacher, are black – and disregard their “blackness” only for the swag, apparently.
  • Minorities have “no rights”: the “teacher” didn’t elaborate.
  •  The teacher told the class that the government “may have blown up” the levees in the poor black neighborhoods of New Orleans. He also said that White New Orleans put police on the bridge between Black and White New Orleans to send black refugees back to their deaths, as white people sat on the levees and watched the black people die. He apparently did an impersonation, in a “white trash” voice; “Hey, Bill, grab me a brewski; that n***er is trying to swim”. Because, says the teacher, “Black people as a rule can’t swim”.
  • The class studied a packet from Ebony Magazine; the first one is called “A Child’s View/A Young Man’s View/An Elder’s View” of Obama; it was their considered opinion that most people who didn’t vote for Obama were motivated by race. The class is also supposed to write whether they do or don’t agree with Obama. According to Bun, it was intensely intimidating.
  • “Hurricanes follow the path of the slave ships”, apparently as God’s punishment for slavery
  •  “Sharks, to this day, folow the route of the slave ships”, as a matter of evolutionary adaptation.  According to the teacher, sharks “evolved” to live in the subtropical trade wind zone because of the centuries of slaves being tossed overboard from slave ships.

I used to think it was merely an incompetent, crank teacher (who happened to be Afro-American) abusing his position.

But after reading John Fonte at NRO reporting on Minnesota’s proposed new Social Studies standards for public schools, I’m starting to think Buns’ old teacher was merely ahead of the curve:

Nine years ago a group of history professors from the University of Minnesota sent a letter to the state’s education department. They complained that the history/social-studies standards for Minnesota presented American history too positively. The historians wanted early American history described in terms of “conquest,” “subjugation,” “exploitation,” “enslavement,” and “genocidal impact.” For these academics, the story of America primarily meant slavery for African Americans, genocide for American Indians, subjugation for women, xenophobia for immigrants, and exploitation for poor people.

And yesterday, the Department of Education held one of the pro-forma hearings that the bureaucracy always holds to give a rubber-stamp of “openness and transparency” before going ahead and doing what the DFL’s pet bureaucrats were going to do anyway.

Here – barring an unlikely ruling from an Adminstrative Law judge or, even less likely, a veto from Governor Dayton – is what Minnesota’s schools are going to be teaching your kids, if they go to a public school, according to Fonte’s piece:

For example History Standard 20 for the period 1870–1920 declares: “The student will understand that as the United States shifted from its agrarian roots into an industrial and global power, the rise of big business, urbanization, and immigration led to institutionalized racism, ethnic and class conflict, and new efforts at reform.” [italics added]

Less biased standards might suggest that “the student will understand” that the growth of business enterprise, urbanization, and immigration led to greater prosperity for most Americans, including African Americans who moved to large northern cities and Ellis Island newcomers who chose to become Americans. Further, the period 1870 to 1920 witnessed tremendous technological development and inventions for which Americans are famous: including great advances in medicine; the promotion of public health (including a clean water supply and indoor plumbing), the sewing machine, typewriter, phonograph, and electric light bulb.

So we’d like to think.

But “social studies” aren’t about history, or fact of any kind; the new standard are about indoctrination:

But, American achievements are downplayed while the overarching theme becomes “institutionalized racism.” Of course, this logically means that the major “institutions” of American liberal democracy — the courts, Congress, the presidency, state and local governments, businesses, churches, civic organizations — and the entire democratic system and its civil society are racist and therefore, clearly, illegitimate.

The stated purpose of the Minnesota 2012 standards is “to identity the academic knowledge and skills that prepare students for post-secondary education, work and civic life in the twenty-first century. . . . Students need deep knowledge of this information in order to make sense of their world.”

While the 2004 Standards specifically examined 9/11, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and terrorism, the 2012 Standards, incredibly, include no references to 9/11, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, the Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, the Gulf War of 1991, or terrorism itself. Nor is there any hint of a global conflict with terrorists described either as President Bush’s “War on Terror” or President Obama’s “War against violent extremists.” True, there are two tepid references to the “Arab Spring,” but this is hardly adequate to provide the “deep knowledge” needed for students “to make sense of their world.”

As I’ve observed for years, the last set of standards, from 2004, were bad enough; in my kids’ time in the public schools, all they really were taught was slavery and civil rights.

Read Fonte’s entire piece; it only gets worse.

And I’m afraid we’ve finally gotten to the time when our public school system in Minnesota isn’t merely expensive, incompetent and befuddled.  With these standards, our school system is the enemy.

Forget about the “the terrorists have won” jokes; even most of the dumbest people know you need to resist those who are trying to kill you.

But these standards?  They are the entire agglomerated intellectual and moral rot of the American left, wrapped up a cutesy “Raise Your Hand For Minnesota’s Kids!”-chanting package.

My dad and both my mom’s parents were teachers.  If there’s a family out there where American public education was the family business, it’s mine.

But the time has come where people who value what this country really means have to either abandon the public schools – all our kids, every single one of them – or get serious about fighting for them.

Me?  I”m torn.

5 thoughts on “We Have Met The Enemy, And They Are Where We “Educate” Our Children

  1. By their logic then, they are indirectly responsible for these “atrocities” by their forebears. Consequently, we should have a trial and convict them.

  2. Here are some things I learned after I got out of school:

    “We are now trusting to those who are against us in position and principle, to fashion to their own form the minds and affections of our youth… This canker is eating on the vitals of our existence, and if not arrested at once, will be beyond remedy.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Breckinridge, 1821. ME 15:315

    “If the children are untaught, their ignorance and vices will in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences than it would have done in their correction by a good education.” –Thomas Jefferson to Joseph C. Cabell, 1818. FE 10:99

    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” –Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

  3. OK, there are actually teachers out there who believe that racism only was institutionalized AFTER the end of slavery? Really?

    Hopefully they don’t eat spicy foods with beans before having a cigarette, or they’ll blow their heads off.

    I saw another one that was appalling lately–someone was claiming that Reagan had ordered the deaths of 400,000 people in Central America. Whatever they’re smoking, it’s gotta be good. (the context was a response to naming a public school after a murderer)

  4. In the US, students suffer from a lowest common denominator approach to education. Because educators have been encouraged by parents and politicians to not segregate students by ability (no child left behind), most educational material has been made easy enough for 99% of the students to get through. That has two effects. First, getting top grades requires doing a great deal of easy work perfectly, rather than doing a moderate amount of difficult work well. This separates the industrious from the lazy, but many very bright but non-industrious students fall by the wayside (mostly boys). Second, it is impossible to cover all of the math and science that should be covered in high school while keeping it easy, so they don’t.

    At University, the top schools are populated by industrious brown-nosers who are very good at reproducing what teachers show them, but afraid of solving problems creatively. Students are ill-prepared for, and therefore terrified of, difficult STEM subjects. Many who do enter STEM programs drop down to easier fields. Many of the students capable of taking STEM courses never take them because their grades in high school were not particularly high.

    Schools at the primary and middle school level need to challenge students with difficult material, particularly in science and math, but also in teaching them to write effectively. High Schools need to start segregating students based on their capabilities, and challenging those focused groups. We don’t need 100% of students to learn more math and science, we need the 30% who will really use that knowledge to be taught separately and intensively to prepare them for STEM programs at University. We need students who aspire to high skill but non-university careers as technicians and high skill laborers to have clear career paths that start at 15 or 16.

    And above all, we need to stop telling students and parents that getting a bachelor of arts degree is the path to success and riches. Different educational paths lead to different careers and different salaries, and children and parents need to be told the hard truths, starting as early as age 12-14. The education establishment has responded to 50% of the population entering University by enlarging liberal arts programs and ill-defined but easy degrees like commerce and business while lowering standards. Governments need to wake up and understand that with such a large fraction of the population entering post-secondary education, public universities must make their primary mission job training, and they must carry out that mission cost effectively. Every university president tries to make their university into Harvard. All of the incentives for faculty and administrators are to pursue sexy research and provide creature comforts to students, rather than teaching valuable skills to undergraduates. We don’t need more Harvards. We need efficient low cost schools that churn out professionals with marketable skills. Not just STEM skills, although we need more of those. But any graduate who receives a degree but possesses no marketable skills has been cheated by the education system.

  5. Pingback: Our Kids’ Vocabularies Are As, Y’Know, Bad As Whatever | Shot in the Dark

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