This past weekend, a very dear friend and her husband came to visit for the weekend. As usual, we enjoyed sitting out on our deck, and because it's been unusually warm this December, we spent the afternoon enjoying the balmy weather and good conversation.
But one item of information she shared really shocked, and then disturbed me. She, herself, had been part of a conversation with someone else who was a teacher. And of course the problems with our education system were a central theme of their discussion. The teacher bemoaned the lack of funding for education, and then dropped the bombshell .... when forced to make cuts, the school mandated the elimination of American history classes from the curriculum. My response was, "Of course they did!"
Under the title of A New Blueprint for History Education, The American Historical Association, reports this on their website: "History education is being sidelined throughout the country, especially at the K–12 level. The recurrent standards controversy over what part of our national history should be taught and when (as in the cases of Texas and North Carolina) should not overshadow a larger cause for concern. Over the past few years, counties, districts, and schools have begun to implement plans to reduce or eliminate history courses in the lower grades. When districts decide to drop history from their curriculum, administrators assert that they must do so because their students read and write far below grade level. To address and remedy this lack of proficiency, districts direct teachers to focus exclusively on English-Language Arts instruction, a focus that will almost surely intensify with the near national adoption of the Common Core State Standards." (For more information on these bureaucratic standards, see my post of July 12th, 2012.)
Follow this reasoning to its conclusion, and it all comes down to money. The federal 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation tied student performance to federal funding. Many states evaluate schools through similar federal/state accountability systems. In general, these scores focus on two NCLB measures: reading and mathematics. It is a fact that the literacy rate is dropping in our school systems due to a variety of reasons (over-crowded classrooms, non-English speaking students, and lack of parental involvement). Schools with student test scores that do not meet goals established under these systems risk losing funds and autonomy. To improve school ranking, schools therefore focus heavily on reading and math, with the result that administrators often eliminate history from the curriculum entirely, or reduce it to as little as 30 minutes per week.
This is all in an attempt to standardize curriculum, but the results are devastating. Because the history of colonial America, the Revolutionary War, the expansion and industrialization of the 19th century, and the Civil War are usually taught in elementary and middle schools, these subjects would be eliminated under the new curriculum guidelines (no history courses in the lower grades). That means that they will only receive any kind of comprehensive history lessons in junior high and high school, where they concentrate on 20th century history. Is this perhaps the real agenda?
Before you think I am just jousting with windmills, let me tell you something one of my History professors at the University of Texas told our class over 35 years ago --- I have never forgotten it. He told our class of impressionable college freshmen that he could not, in good conscious, teach anything about American History before 1945 because America was "imperialistic" and "greedy". I remember thinking, "But I love American history; especially early American history." And I found anything in the 20th century boring. My naive and inexperienced mind couldn't recognize what I can now see as the Progressive mindset of that professor. I can also recall other pronouncements from his position of influence that broadcast his hatred for capitalism and American greatness. The seeds were planted all those years ago in fertile minds, and I'm sure some of those students are now serving on Education Boards that are promoting this curriculum as the way forward.
For me, the real question is this ..... is there more to this movement than securing educational funding at the expense of a particular subject? Should we not consider that at least some part of this plan might be to control and influence our children in the exact decisions listed above? If we deny them the historical perspective of how our country dealt with the ratification of the Constitution (ballot propositions); the contentious Presidential election of 1860 (candidates); the Boston Tea Party (grassroots campaigns); or the fur trade (employment opportunities) that swept the country and Europe, then we can persuade them to think and act along socialist and progressive lines. If they don't learn about the self-determination, enterprise and inventiveness that was so prized in the first two centuries of our nation's history, then they will fall right in line and become robots for a global agenda.
So I urge you to check into your local and state school systems. Are they sacrificing our history; perhaps even re-writing it, in return for more federal dollars? This is a trade we can ill afford to make.
Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."