United States students against mandatory authoritarian pro-capitalist indoctrination

This video about the Jefferson County school board in Colorado, USA is called Accountable to No One.

By Thomas Gaist in the USA:

Colorado high school students protest “patriotism” indoctrination

25 September 2014

Hundreds of Jefferson County high school students walked out of their classes this week in response to a proposal submitted by members of the Jefferson County school board seeking to revamp the county’s US history curriculum.

Reports from local media confirmed that hundreds of students from Dakota Ridge, Chatfield, Arvada West, Pomona, Ralston Valley, Evergreen, Wheat Ridge, and Golden high schools participated in the walkouts and demonstrations which included the blocking of a main intersection in suburban Denver on Wednesday morning.

The proposal, submitted by a three-member majority of the school board calling itself the “Board Committee for Curriculum Review,” stated:

“Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions.”

The walkouts came on the heels of a “sick-out” involving some 50 teachers on Friday, which was planned in response to the US history curriculum proposal and to new teacher evaluation measures.

A statement issued Monday by Conifer High School teachers participating in the sick-out denounced “the Board’s insistence on censoring the college preparatory AP US History curriculum,” saying it would “require teachers to completely ignore certain aspects of American history.” The statement further condemned the imposition of “an arbitrary, nontransparent evaluation system that vests absolute authority in administrators.”

Students organized their own protests for the following week via Facebook after learning of the teacher sick-out. The students were strongly warned against participating in the demonstrations by school administrators but proceeded to walk out anyway, local parents said.

Jefferson County, the second largest school district in Colorado, is among several districts that have become focal points for controversy surrounding efforts to revise the AP US History curriculum (APUSH) nationwide.

Opponents of the revised history curriculum, described by Jefferson County school board member Julie Williams as unduly emphasizing “race, gender, class, ethnicity, grievance and American-bashing,” have sought to alter local education statutes to favor a more “conservative” approach to US history.

Such efforts have already met with some success in Texas, where operating rules drawn up by the State Board of Education (SBOE) in 2013 contain language almost identical to that of the Jefferson County proposal: “The materials should not include selections or works that encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law. Violence, if it appears, should be treated in the context of its cause and consequence. It should not appear for reasons of unwholesome excitement or sensationalism.”

The Texas SBOE rules state openly that historical curricula should be designed to promote “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods; investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control; and prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined in a free market.”

No serious history of the United States could be written without giving extensive treatment of “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of law,” including such epochal advances as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the struggles of the labor movement over a century, and the civil rights movement. Presumably the defenders of private ownership are outraged by positive treatment of the greatest state attack on “private” property in world history up to that point, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves throughout the Confederacy, without compensation to the slave-owners.

The Jefferson County student protests appear set to continue, in one form or another. The JeffCo Students Defending History Facebook page announced Wednesday that students and teachers should come to school on Friday dressed as historical figures or movements responsible for “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

Protests and sick-outs continue in Colorado against “patriotic” curriculum: here.

4 thoughts on “United States students against mandatory authoritarian pro-capitalist indoctrination

  1. Pingback: US military and CIA interventions since World War II | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Big Banking-Big Media links, in Canada and Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. 75 years ago: US big business condemns high school textbooks

    A Great Depression breadline in front of National Association of Manufacturers propaganda poster 1937 © Margaret Bourke-White/Timepix.

    On February 21, 1941 a panel of academics, commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers to review social science textbooks, announced a substantial portion were critical of American capitalism, its government and history, and tended to create discontent and unrest among students.

    The texts were the product of the 1930s Great Depression and the rising struggles of the working class. The reaction against them by NAM came on the eve of US entry into World War II.

    The panel reviewed 6,000 textbooks, which comprised 90 percent of the texts used in secondary education. The two questions asked by the panel in appraising the educational material were: “What is the attitude of the writer toward the American form of government?” and “What is his attitude toward our system of free business enterprise?”

    They produced a catalog of excerpts from the texts that attempted to explain the history of the US from the standpoint of the class struggle; that detailed the rise and consolidation of the richest capitalist families and their control of political parties and government; that described the ruthless suppression and exploitation of the working class; and that scorned the conception of the “free press” and demonstrated how newspapers were controlled by the rich.

    Dr. Ralph Robey, professor of banking at Columbia, who headed the panel, commented on his findings. The textbooks “emphasize the small number of large corporations, rather than the large number of small ones,” he said. “What you get is a critical attitude that is destructive in its influences. Let’s teach the pupils something about the principles of democracy or private enterprise before we start to tell them it is all run by a bunch of crooks and is no go.”



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