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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Colorado school district wants ‘patriotic’ version of APUSH course

Proposals from school boards to whitewash the American history curriculum have returned, stirring protest and outrage among community members in Colorado’s Jefferson County near Denver. In response to College Board’s new AP U.S. History course, which now consists of a far more detailed account of the Native American struggle and campaigns like the Civil Rights Movement, the new proposition calls for a more positive rendition of history.

In the past, we’ve witnessed plenty of instances where schools use the teaching of history as a tool for propaganda. For example, in 2010, CNN reported that a textbook issued in Texas excluded Thomas Jefferson from a list of revolutionary thinkers because the book’s conservative authors opposed the former president’s ideas of separating church and state.

According to 9NEWS, Jefferson County’s Board of Education member Julie Williams created a ludicrous proposal for changes in AP U.S. History classes. Teachers, she said, should emphasize the “friendlier” aspects of the U.S. in their curriculum.

“Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights,” her proposal read. “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

In other words, she opposes the new framework’s inclusion of materials like the Native American genocide, which “do not promote patriotism.” According to her, “patriotism” is the primary goal of teaching American history in school and should never depict Americans in any way other than morally upright and correct.

Williams continued, “I don’t think we should encourage kids to be little rebels. We should encourage kids to be good citizens.”

Jefferson County students, however, aren’t responding to this proposal like her ideal “good citizens.” In fact, hundreds of students from at least five schools in the county marched out of their classrooms to protest holding posters that read “Education without Limitation!” and “My Education is NOT your political agenda!”

It’s a huge relief that these students are being “little rebels.” These students aren’t carping about trivial matters; they’re pushing our country to maintain its standards of objective education in a knowledgeable and noble manner.

To begin with, this country was founded by “acts of civil disobedience.” Throughout American history, these acts have played a critical role in the development of our country, from  the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement; it’s impossible to teach actual American history without discussing them.

If educators like Williams intend to denounce the rebellious American spirit, they essentially argue that many accomplishments achieved through civil disobedience, such as black rights and women’s suffrage, are “wrong.” Textbooks that ignore the continued relevance of such movements are not only hopelessly biased, but have the absolutely unacceptable intention of propagandizing history.

It’s dangerous to make students ignorant of past mistakes; such ignorance breeds intolerance and all else that comes with a lack of understanding of different cultures.

As for patriotism, it should never be encouraged by leading students toward ignorance and illusion. Patriotism isn’t about believing in the faultlessness and perfection of one’s country; it’s a loving attachment to one’s homeland, and a constant desire to make it the best place it can possibly be.

We Americans who value truth and freedom of thought should not be so concerned with patriotism as to abandon objective teaching in our schools.

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