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December 13, 2019


I have a question. You wrote: "Through public schools' lack of civics education and their deficiencies in teaching U.S. history and its Constitutional foundations."

When did that happen? I grew up in a blue collar home, middle-middle class, educated in a public school. I remember being taught history, civics and facts about my government from a very early age. (As an example, teacher had us working on scrapbooks about the '72 election that we were to fill with articles clipped from the newspaper and photos of government offficials and candidates that caught our interest and then we shared and talked about them. I was about 8 years old, it was age appropriate and I learned a lot and felt like I was part of the election.) There was heavy emphasis on history and it was covered from every angle including state and international steadily built from grade to grade. It wasn't a prep school, or a wealthy school, just a school with a flagpole and some swings. That's just how it was, we learned about our country, and were taught to participate in it.

So what happened? Who ended all that?

We were certainly taught US and World History, and Civics when I pass through. We did the same thing for the 1968 election that you described for the 1972 election. And I just checked my old high school curriculum, where these classes are still being taught. So I'm glad for that, but still distressed that, even with these classes, the school continues to churn out Young Republicans. But it's southwestern Ohio, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that much.

It evolved, Freesia, sometime between your generation and the new generation; secondary schools and institutions of higher education began placing a more-valued emphasis on STEM and demoting the humanities.

I should add that generalizations, even gross ones, are a common and necessary evil in shortest-form commentary.

The punishment-based No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2002) emphasized English Language Arts and Mathematics - at the expense of Science, History and Civics. NCLB did bring up the "floor" - but at the expense of the "ceiling."

Because the State is the central organizing unit of public education in our country (although the feds do have influence; see above), the US is all over the proverbial map on education: the best in the world, the worst in the Western world, and every stop in-between. My kids received an excellent education (better than what I received) with a very rich curriculum. Required reading in high school included Elie Wiesel's "Night" as but one example.

It's all very sad. I imagine the GOP constant push to defund education hasn't helped.

That, and their efforts to stuff state education boards with fellow wingnuts, most of whom have no background in education, but by god they’ll make sure to stamp out evolution, sex ed, black history, and anything else that might taint their lily white evangelical ideology.

That's true. For all their fantasies about our country being taken over by Sharia law and indoctrinating our youth in "madrasas" they sure seem determined to create the "Christian" version of it.

I'm remembering something that was going on a few years back, I can't remember the details, but it had to do with the publishers of text books down in Texas rewriting history in the books and excluding things that didn't fit their political and religious ideology.

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