A controversy has erupted in suburban Denver public schools. A conservative school board member has proposed to revise the history curriculum so that it includes coverage of good citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority. As things stand now, the history curriculum in suburban Denver schools consists of the typical leftwing, anti-American tripe. In this curriculum the Founding fathers are portrayed as a bunch of slaveholding patriarchs who suppressed women and exploited the poor, and America is portrayed as a war-mongering, colonialist bully that mistreated poor, peace-loving Indian tribes and stole Texas and California from the hapless Mexicans. As taught by liberal revisionists, Davy Crockett and the other intrepid patriots slaughtered at the Alamo were imperialist scoundrels who got what they deserved.
As disturbing as leftwing revisionist history sounds, there is nothing new in this situation. Liberals now control public education nationwide and have long since converted the system into a propaganda machine for the left. What is different, at least in Denver, is that voters somehow broke with tradition and elected a conservative to the school board; one who knows the truth about America’s history, and insists it be reflected in the curriculum of public schools. This particular school board member—a conservative David fighting the liberal Goliath—decided she wasn’t going to just fold her hands and do nothing while school children are being transformed into the intellectual equivalent of sheep; young people who are unable to think for themselves and are, therefore, easy to manipulate. Unwilling to accept the historical revisionism of the left, this school board member proposed a new history curriculum that accurately reflects what is best about America and helps students become good, patriotic citizens who respect authority and know how to think for themselves.
You would have thought she was proposing the legalization of child molestation. In response to her proposal, teachers staged sick outs and students used social media to organize walk outs; protests reminiscent of the anti-war demonstrations of the 1960s. With the presumed superiority common to liberals, students and teachers self-righteously claimed they were acting in the highest traditions of Constitutional dissent and free speech. In other words, they wrapped themselves in the flag while defending an anti-American curriculum that seeks to undermine everything the flag stands for. I was pleased to see that the students and teachers understand their Constitutional right to dissent, but I doubt their motives. A more accurate explanation of the teacher sick-outs and student protests would be that liberal teachers do not want to give up their time-worn lesson plans on the evils of America, and students do not want to give up a curriculum that validates their victimhood mentality.
Actually, I was encouraged that liberal teachers and their thoroughly indoctrinated, ovine students actually recognized that America has a Constitution, and that the Constitution contains a Bill of Rights. I wonder who told them. Someone must have since their insistence on a one-sided history curriculum suggests they have never read the Constitution. Even those liberals who have read the Constitution don’t seem to get it. In listening to their muddle-headed protests against good citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority, it struck me that Denver’s teachers and students are missing a few important points. Here are just a few of those points:
- Liberals refuse to teach good citizenship, yet it is good citizens who work to improve their communities, and who participate in self-government by turning out to vote; a rarity in contemporary America. Good citizens build better neighborhoods, better communities, and a better America. Look around you. What do you see? You see once safe neighborhoods that have been transformed into mini-war zones ruled by gangs and corrupted by drug dealing and crime. In addition to the degradation of our communities, America now has the lowest voter participation rate of any democracy in the world. Voter apathy in America is a disgrace. It is an affront to the Founding Fathers who sacrificed so much to establish government by the people, and it is a betrayal of the Civil Rights movement that ensured government by the people meant government by all the people. A history curriculum that does not emphasize the importance of good citizenship is not just unworthy of public funding, it is dangerous. If we continue to graduate students who are not just poor citizens, but who hate America, we—meaning Americans of all stripes and political persuasions—will suffer the consequences. We are going to wake up one day and realize that the violent, crime-and-drug infested, gangbanging communities we see on the news every night have become the rule in America, not the exception.
- Concerning the teaching of patriotism, I wonder if the liberals who insist on teaching a we-hate-America curriculum have ever considered the ultimate consequences of turning successive generations of American students against their own country. America exists in a dangerous world. We have enemies in all corners of that world, enemies who are willing to die to bring America to its knees and rob Americans of their freedom and liberty. Even now we have American citizens joining ISIS and Al Qaeda to fight against America. If our public schools continue to teach students to hate America, more and more American citizens will turn against our country and fewer and fewer will fight for it. I wonder what revisionist historians think is going to happen to them when their false teaching results in the refusal of young Americans to fight and die for the freedoms liberals so smugly abuse. Young people who have been taught to hate America are not likely to join the military to defend her.
- On the matter of teaching students to respect authority, one would think that even liberal teachers would support this goal. After all, more than 1,200 public school teachers are physically assaulted by students every month in America. This is just one example of what the left’s disdain for authority has wrought. Teaching respect for authority does not mean that we teach blind obedience or stop teaching civil disobedience. America has a long and storied history of using civil disobedience to advance the cause of freedom and liberty. America’s independence from Great Britain, the Civil Rights Movement, and many other aspects of our nation’s history involved the appropriate use of civil disobedience. But when disobedience is all that is taught, students get a distorted view of what good citizenship involves, and respect for authority goes out the window. This is precisely what is happening in America now. The lack of respect for authority can be seen in assaults on teachers, police officers, other authority figures, and even parents. When respect for authority is lost, civilization breaks down. This is precisely what is happening in America right now.
America’s history is replete with many things of which every American can and should be proud. We also have aspects of our history that are not worthy of the vision established by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence and by the authors of the Preamble to our Constitution. I do not propose that these unworthy aspects of our history be ignored, but I do propose that they be presented in the proper context and presented accurately as exceptions not the rule. To do otherwise is not just intellectually dishonest, it is a threat to the long-term viability of our nation.