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Views Among Educators Tilt Toward Anti-American
The Forum ^ | 09/23/2003 | Julie Sorenson

Posted on 09/26/2003 11:33:46 PM PDT by wallcrawlr

Here’s a pop-quiz for anyone whose tax dollars pay for the education of our future generations:

What do you want students to know about America?

-- A. The United States “is a unique country that stands for something special in the world.”

-- B. American capitalism causes problems in the world.

-- C. We have a terrible future, and NOT talking about the dark side does more harm than good.

-- D. There is no reference to God in the Constitution.

-- E. Don’t care.

OK. Pencils down. What? You didn’t know there would be a test today? Well, you have until Oct. 22 to give your answers. The Minnesota Department of Education wants you to look over its proposed new standards for science and social studies, written this summer by volunteer parents and educators. (In case you missed it, new math and language arts standards were written last spring.)

The proposed standards are published at, along with a place to e-mail your comments. Better yet, travel to speak at one of the hearings. Not only will you be heard, but you’ll hear what everyone else is saying at these hearings, as I did a few days ago.

Now then, let’s look at your answer. If you checked “A,” you agree with 84 percent of American parents who described what they want the schools to teach about our country. In the survey, sponsored by the Fordham Foundation, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, 85 percent of parents said that “to graduate from high school, students should be required to show they understand the common history and ideas that tie all Americans together.”

Citing this study, Minnesota’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Cheri Pierson Yecke, asked the history and social studies committee members to “look to the greatness of America as you write new standards for the children of Minnesota.”

If your answer is “B,” you agree with Christine Thompson, a board member for the Moorhead Public Schools. She testified that the proposed new standards contain “not enough teaching on the problems capitalism has caused in the world.” While many educators testified that the new standards contain too “broad and expansive” a list of subjects that must be covered, other teachers bemoaned a long list of topics which are not required, each of them focusing on shortcomings and dark moments in American history.

Answer “C” is a direct quote from testimony given by Dr. Phillip Griffin, a retired philosophy professor from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He was resoundingly applauded by Thompson and other local educators who apparently believe that focusing on America’s negatives will give students a positive education.

“There is a lack of … criticism of prevailing world views,” he said of the proposed standards. “The anti-war, anti-wealth, pro-outsiders people are not represented.”

Answer “D” is what Wesley Twombley, a North Dakota State University employee, says should be added to the standards if students are required to acknowledge that there are four references to God in the Declaration of Independence. “Social Studies is no place for religion,” he said.

I believe it is decidedly impossible to accurately tell the story of our nation’s birth without referencing the religious motivations of the country’s founders. To try to do so is completely dishonest.

If your answer is “E,” heaven help us. Should the majority of Americans join you in your apathy, we won’t long have a United States to study.

Thank you for completing this test. The results will be posted well into the future.

Sorenson is secretary of Valley Edwatch, Moorhead, a group that promotes information on education. E-mail

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Minnesota
KEYWORDS: antiamericanism; fifthcolumn; leftists; publiceducation; teachers
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Tilt?? We are talking completely horizontal here.
1 posted on 09/26/2003 11:33:47 PM PDT by wallcrawlr
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To: wallcrawlr
Some teachers need to wake up to the reasons parents want school vouchers.

"B. American capitalism causes problems in the world."
Without capitalism, America would be one more Third World Country looking to some country with capital for help. Teachers should include how capital funded the Civil War, kept our nation free, etc.

"C. We have a terrible future, and NOT talking about the dark side does more harm than good."
Focus on the negatives and relay little hope for the future? This may be one reason that suicides of those ages 10-14 has risen over 100% during the last decade.

What most public schools have to offer->

2 posted on 09/27/2003 12:18:33 AM PDT by Susannah (Arnold Schwarzenegger is not the Terminator....he's the Kindergarden Cop!)
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To: wallcrawlr
There's no real problem here. Yes the US is a special country that has had a great and positive impact on the world. Likewise however, american capitalism has caused problems in the world and continues to cause problems just as socialism and communism cause their own brand of problems. Students should be aware that capitalism isn't perfect and has problems that will beed to be addressed by their generation just as it has been addressed by all the genertions before them. America doesn't have a pure brand of captialism, we have regulated capitalism to prevent monopoly abuses with some socalist safety nets.

To send our children out in the world with only the "america is special" education is as much a disservice to them as sending them out into the world with only the "american capitalism is evil" message.

3 posted on 09/27/2003 12:55:03 AM PDT by pcx99
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To: pcx99
If you have kids grab a history (oops excuse me that should be social studies) text book and see if you can find any mention of that "America is special" stuff.

My experience in public school history classes (not THAT long ago) was that America was a place that Native Americans got slaughtered, blacks were enslaved, women and immigrants were subjugated and poverty was systematically perpetuated.

It always struck we as odd that so many people wanted to come to such a horrible place.
4 posted on 09/27/2003 1:44:50 AM PDT by Elephant in VT
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To: wallcrawlr
Critics Call Local High School Course Un-American [Full Text] A new elective course in international affairs at Farmington Hills High School has stirred up national interest for its alleged un-American content, Local 4 reported.

The course was brought to light when cable's FOX News Channel aired a story Monday night about some local parents who were angered over the course's content.

According to the cable station's Web site, many of the class readings come from left-wing Web sites like,, and that apparently attack the administration of President George W. Bush. After FOX News aired the story, the Farmington school district began receiving nasty e-mails from outraged citizens across the country, Local 4 reported.

The district's superintendent, Dr. Robert Maxfield, believes the district was misrepresented in the cable station's report. Maxwell defends the new course, calling it fair and balanced.

"To say that we're somehow un-American for teaching kids to think for themselves, for teaching them to become savvy about what it means to be an American citizen in an increasingly complex world is sheer poppycock," said Maxfield.

But Maxfield admits that when the course was initially drafted, there were some concerns.

"(There were) concerns it may be seen as anti-Israeli; concerns it might be seen as pro-Palestinian," Maxwell said. "Of course, our job in a community like this where 85 different languages are spoken by our children is to be sure we balance world affairs as best we can."

Maxfield said the district brought in critics, consultants, professors from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and people from the Anti-Defamation League to make sure the final course description was balanced.

A group of local parents banded together to try to persuade the school board to hold off the elective, but the school year had already officially begun and the class was on the roster, according to the FOX News Web site. The board approved the course by a four-to-three vote.

The cable station's Web site also reported that after numerous parental complaints, Pro-Bush materials, such as government Web sites like, were added to the class' reading list.

The Farmington school district has given all 130 students who chose to take the elective course the opportunity to transfer out, but so far no one has taken that option.[End]

"Taliban Johnny," was educated at Redwood High School in Northern California where there is heavy emphasis to empathize with what is foreign. And a look at the school's history courses speaks volumes.

Bad faith abounds in debate about the war***A FEW DAYS AFTER the United States attacked Iraq, I traveled to Chicago to address a group of high school history teachers.I urged them to conduct debates about the war, so that students could arrive at their own views of it. Afterward, one of the teachers pulled me aside. ''Thanks so much for your talk,'' she said, smiling graciously. ''Unless we debate the war, our students won't know that it's an enormous mistake.'' Like the teacher, I regard the attack on Iraq as an enormous mistake. But her comment contains its own cynical error: It presumes anyone who debates...***

CNN helps impending war take shape in classrooms*** With links to ready-made lesson plans from sources like CNN and National Geographic, Doyle said the district can put constantly updated teaching tools in every class…………….Only one of the 19 students in Waldo Rodriguez's 12th-grade government class at Miami Senior High believes the United States should invade Iraq, but almost all believe it is inevitable. When the discussion turned toward Bush -- or, more accurately, against him -- Rodriguez focused the conversation on the separation of powers. The president is commander-in-chief, he said, but Congress funds and declares war. Impending war shaping studies in classroom Economics classes discuss how stock... ***

Florida: GOP bill draws teachers' anger***The GOP-dominated Senate Governmental Oversight and Productivity Committee on Tuesday approved Fasano's proposal (SB 1652) to limit payroll deductions only for the cost of collective bargaining and grievance adjustment. The committee split along party lines, with six Republicans supporting the measure and three Democrats opposing it. "This bill is telling me to shut my mouth," said Maureen Dinnen, president of the teachers union, who was visibly shaking with anger after the vote. "We voted to support candidates who were chosen based on their educational positions."***

5 posted on 09/27/2003 3:04:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: wallcrawlr
Views Among Educators Tilt Toward Anti-American

Well no s$it!


7 posted on 09/27/2003 3:20:13 AM PDT by Hoverbug (whadda ya mean, "we don't get parachutes"!?!)
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To: pcx99

To send our children out in the world with only the "america is special" education is as much a disservice to them as sending them out into the world with only the "american capitalism is evil" message.

ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8 posted on 09/27/2003 4:09:46 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: CasearianDaoist
You mean rubish as in degenrating someone elses opinion without providing a basis for your own? Kinda like all them democrates calling GW names without exactly going into details on the issues.

If you're going to post, have the decency to do it in a constructive fashion. If you wanna hurl names and insults go to the democratic underground, you'll be more at home there with others of your kind.
9 posted on 09/27/2003 4:50:08 AM PDT by pcx99
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To: wallcrawlr
Change "have" to "may have" on answer C, and all the answers are correct. Children should be taught both the good and bad sides of American history. Although most of the "bad stuff" should be left till high school when they're old enough to balance things better.
10 posted on 09/27/2003 5:21:07 AM PDT by Restorer (Never let schooling interfere with your education.)
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To: LVjinx
They can have all the ill-informed opinions they want. They do not have the right to push those opinions onto the students under the guise of education.
11 posted on 09/27/2003 5:31:54 AM PDT by alnick
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To: wallcrawlr
Sort of makes you feel the need for a "homeschooled" college.
12 posted on 09/27/2003 5:38:47 AM PDT by freeangel (freeangel)
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To: pcx99
Blah, blah, blah...Go back to DU. That is where you belong!

And do not instruct me on how to post. I have nothing but contempt for mindless apologists for the left wing. Your intentions are quite obvious and in a tiny minority on this site (and you know it.)

I spent 2.5 years in Viet Nam, Buster, so do not give me a lecture on "decency," "partiotism" or just what the proper comportment of an decent and pratiotic American should be (as if a communist apologist and "useful idiot" like yourself even knew the meaning of these concepts.) People like you are not part of the solution - they are part of the problem.

If you think that you are a conservative, you are either lying to yourself or lying to us. My guess is that it is a little bit of both. It just goes to show you that you can take a Democrat out of the Party but you cannot take the Party out of him.

To confuse the indoctrination of our youth by our enemies with freedom of speech is idiocy, to imagine that their intent is anything but subversion is ignorance of the basest sort, and, above all, to knowingly condone it is treason.

Again, Absolute Rubbish!

13 posted on 09/27/2003 5:44:10 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: CasearianDaoist
Well after reading your "my argument is so week I have to wrap myself in the flag and say I'm a vietnam vet", "I don't know you or anything about you but you're not a conservative because I said so" post, the only relevant -- to the topic -- point I saw as the following...

Note you still haven't provided any facts or background to your post, only name-calling and hysterical mumbo-jumbo that wasn't supported by the original post nor mine.

As a point of fact we are not in a pure capitalist society because pure capitalism produces abuses which society will not and can not tolerate such as monopolies, false advertizing, ecological devistation, and a host of other ills, which I pointed out have been addressed by every generation of americans since the country began. It's not anti-american to teach our children of the pitfalls of capitalism because there are pitfalls. Nothing that can't be overcome with a bit of sound legislation (like requiring truth in advertizing, regulating monopoly powers, requiring mining companies to restore the land when they're done with a property, etc, etc), but there are problems our children should be aware of.

That's not to say they should be taught capitalism is the root of all evils. As I said in my first post, America *IS* a a uniquely special country but we got there through honesty and hard work and not ignoring our problems. Now the soviets were quite good at indocrinating their kids they got the "very special country" bit and nothing else and look where that got them.

14 posted on 09/27/2003 6:11:06 AM PDT by pcx99
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To: pcx99
I agree with you on the part about making sure they know the pitfalls, but, speaking as the father of an 11 year-old in public school, little if any time is spent discussing how "special" America is. Most of the social studies time is devoted to talking about how bad we are, and how bad we treated everyone on our way to establishing the greatest country on the face of the earth. I help my daughter with her studies, and get a chance to read some of the textbooks, and I also drop in to class every once in a while. "America is special" isn't being taught.

And therein lies the problem...
15 posted on 09/27/2003 6:44:46 AM PDT by LeftiesBinWhinin (Warning: Voting for Democrats is hazardous and possibly dangerous to your health.)
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To: wallcrawlr
"Social Studies" textbooks are mostly written by college professors, marketed by big publishing houses, selected and purchased by desk-bound administrators under the frequently close thumb of our elected school board members.

Classroom teachers are often evaluated on the basis of how well they present (stick to) the "educational material" provided.

It is a real challenge for our dedicated teachers to work around the garbage to give the kids a balanced perspective.

16 posted on 09/27/2003 7:07:26 AM PDT by rogator
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To: LeftiesBinWhinin

I absolutely agree with this. If you're going to go over what's wrong you need to emphasize that it's just a tiny part of the overall good. For instance capitalism has fantastic ecological consequences but that's only because capitalism produces so much wealth and well-being for its citizens. I think in many ways the more liberal school systems fall into the big media trap of only focusing on the negatives and overlooking the plusses much as they're doing in Iraq right now. And I also think it's important to stress that this isn't necessarilly the case in all or even the majority of the school systems. I'm a recent product of a public education and I can state, quite certainly, that I was given a healthy dose of respect for what went wrong but also a great sense of pride in our achomplishments and in overcomming those wrongs. Given the passion of American's and how the polls over fundamental issues on patriotism, god, and country diverge so radically with the liberal media I have cause to believe I'm not alone :) (I do have a few issues with my spelling, punctuation, and grammer instructors however ;)

But I do think I should point out that your post is fundamentally wrong on at least one point... I think you should re-read the last few sentences of your post again...

If you look carefully you'll see "America is special" is being taught quite well :)

17 posted on 09/27/2003 7:07:37 AM PDT by pcx99
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To: pcx99
Blah, blah, blah...whatever...

You think you are an intellectual but you are not: you are a liberal apologist. I will not waste anymre time on you, you are not worth it. End of discussion, please leave me alone.

O btw, I think that you mean "weak," not "week."

18 posted on 09/27/2003 7:50:04 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: Black Agnes; rmlew; cardinal4; LiteKeeper; Lizard_King; Sir_Ed; TLBSHOW; BigRedQuark; yendu bwam; ..
Leftism on Campus ping!

If you would like to be added to the Leftism on Campus ping list, please
notify me via FReep-mail.

19 posted on 09/27/2003 9:47:26 AM PDT by Hobsonphile (Art should celebrate God's creation. Writers should love humanity in all its forms.)
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To: wallcrawlr
Reason to homeschool #358 placemarker.
20 posted on 09/27/2003 9:49:49 AM PDT by goodseedhomeschool (returned) (If history has shown us anything, darwinism/evolution is seriously wrong.)
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