I have been reading a lot about the Texas School Board controversy and what they have accomplished in setting Social Studies standards for that State. This is something that really scares me the hell out of me – that a relatively small number of people can force their will on what and who will be studied in school.

This then brings up another question regarding the Common Standards…what happens in 10-20 years and a small but dedicated cadre of people who might be dedicated to a certain philosophy decide, to change our soon to be “National Educational Standards” to meet their beliefs. That is unthinkable and many say there are too many safeguards in place to ensure that it never does happen, but isn’t that what most people thought in Texas too, also look at what happened in the 1930’s in other Countries when governments decided what needed to be taught and studied in school?

Be careful of what you wish for with National Education Standards, they will be much easier to control by a small number of people than today’s 50 State and/or the many local Educational Standards that exist today. Remember:

“Once you have the minds of the children, then you have the future of the Country”.

I don’t remember where I read that quote, but it has stuck with me since High School and I believe it to be very true!
Publishers have their biases that they put into their textbooks and then add in directions from State Standards, History already has enough different influences.  If you read a U.S. History book from the 1960’s and compare it to one written in the last few years, the lens through which we look at the past has changed. Today’s textbooks are much more politically correct in their efforts to offend no one and what is highlighted as important is different.
There also has been a drift away from the glorification of the American Ideal and that the United States is always right in what it does, to a more balanced view of our History that includes its warts as well as its achievements. I do not believe that this is a bad thing, U.S. History does have its high points, but do we not, have the responsibility to also discuss in the classroom things that we were wrong about as a Country and how we can avoid repeating those mistakes.
In my view the rewriting of history happens all the time. It just usually is not done as blatantly as it was done in Texas and with such an agenda to gloss over other cultures and religions who played such critical roles in our Country’s achievements and development or to attempt to change one of the foundations of our Democracy – the Separation of Church and State. I find that the following quote sums up my belief on this subject:

So the attempts to weaken the Separation of Church and State in this Country needs to be watched closely and not weakened, if anything we need to strengthen this Separation even more to ensure that no single religion is allowed to be considered our National religion. If any religion is allowed to be our Country’s State religion it is my opinion it will suppress the freedom to practice other religions. This is not what our founding fathers intended and it is not the direction we should be heading.  My background is Christian and I believe strongly that it should not be considered the United States “official” religion.  We need to maintain our Country’s religious freedoms.

It is said that the Victors gets to write History, so we need to be careful about who we allow to be the Victors and who we allow to re-write our History. Vote carefully when voting for those little boards or elected officials, they may have more power than you thought possible.

I am a nobody, from a no where small town in the middle of Maine, but to my way of thinking re-writing Social Studies (History) standards to meet a certain philosophy (political or religious) is dangerous to the way of life we have become accustomed to and that is all too often taken way too much for granted in the United States.

Open minds, don’t close them.

Have you made a difference today?  How?

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