If you wanted to know exactly how bad things are for the thousands of students protesting the Jefferson County School Board’s proposal that AP History classes be revised, simply look to the state level.
In a widely-mocked attempt to indoctrinate students into right-wing viewpoints that had some students stripping off their clothes in protest of “censorship” of their history classes, three conservative members of the five-person JeffCo School Board attempted to alter history classes to “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights,” as well as ensure that they do not “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strike or disregard of the law.”
The board member who initially proposed this ridiculous idea was shocked — SHOCKED — that anyone would accuse her good-spirited attempts to bend history to her political whims of being anything but in the best interests of the students. Julie Williams cited the embarrassment that is the Texas Board of Education as “proof” that her suggestion was anything but the most moronic thing to happen to education since No Child Left Behind.
A sensible person would decry these attempts to alter U.S. History to fit an agenda — but then there’s State Board of Education member Pam Reilley Mazanec. This particular board member feels that right-wing attempts to alter U.S. history are a good thing because the new curriculum standards miss some important points — most notably, that the United States voluntarily ended slavery.
Manzanec says that the AP U.S. History test too often portrays “the negative viewpoint as the answer.”
“As an example, I note our slavery history,” she wrote to a woman who teaches AP U.S history in a discussion thread on Facebook. “Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today!”
“Shouldn’t our students be provided that viewpoint? This is part of the argument that America is exceptional. Does our APUSH (AP U.S. History) framework support or denigrate that position?”
“The idea that the United States voluntarily gave up slavery is an outright misrepresentation of history. The United States engaged in a civil war to end slavery. There was nothing voluntary about it,” said Wheat Ridge High School AP History teacher Stephanie Rossi . “I’m just flabbergasted at anyone who would make that claim. Flabbergasted.”
“To say the United States voluntarily gave up slavery is like saying that Germany voluntarily surrendered at the end of World War II,” added Anton Schulzki, the AP coordinator at William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs.
Patrick Demmer, a pastor at Denver’s Graham Memorial Community Church said that the slavery remark shows “she’s willfully ignorant at best or she is racially disingenuous at worst.” He added, “She shouldn’t be on the education board.”
“What her comment and that whole movement is trying to basically do is repaint history in a way that takes away the ugliness and the hurt and abuse that the African American in America suffered and endured to get to where we are right now,” Demmer continued.