Intro Unit: The Politics of Education - Enlightenment or Propaganda?

Intro Unit, Class 4: The Struggle Continues…The Ongoing Battle Against Racist Propaganda & Miseducation in Public Schools

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In recent years, conservative members on the school boards in places like Colorado, Texas and Arizona, have forced changes in the school curricula to reflect more conservative, right-wing ideology. Parents, teachers and students themselves have protested this blatant attempt to whitewash history and omit the history of Native Americans, Blacks, Latinos and others. In this class we will analyze the current struggle over the political leaning of public education from both perspectives. Below are excerpts from the school board proposals that have stirred national controversies:

From Jefferson County, Colorado School Board's proposal to revise the standards of an AP History course:

“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.” 

​From House Bill 2281, State of Arizona:

The legislature finds and declares that public school pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people. 

15-112. Prohibited courses and classes; enforcement

A. A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following: 

1. Promote the overthrow of the United States Government. 

2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people. 

3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group. 

4. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals. 

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