Archive for October, 2014
Guest Commentary by Renard Blanc: Revisions for U.S. History Course Curriculum in Jeffco School District
Renard Blanc is a Colorado resident who has worked in college libraries and the computer industry.
Dear Jeffco Board of Education Members,
With regard to the current controversy concerning emphasizing patriotism and minimizing civil disobedience in the teaching of History classes in the Jeffco School District, may I first state that I totally support you in your understanding that patriotism is an integral and very important part of teaching United States History.
However, you are very incorrect attempting to down-play the importance of civil disobedience by either minimizing or not teaching it at all as a part of the curriculum of classes on American History.
Why does the curriculum of American History classes have to include either patriotism or civil disobedience, exclusive of one another? Both patriotism and civil disobedience are critical aspects of the history of the United States, and both are inherent in our freedoms as documented in the Constitution.
May I remind you, since you seem to have forgotten, if it wasn’t for civil disobedience, which led to the Declaration of Independence and ultimately the American Revolution, the quintessential acts of civil disobedience to this day, we wouldn’t be the United States of America but still subjects of the monarch of Great Britain. You cannot teach the tenets of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, and the Constitution of the United States, without fully addressing the importance of these acts of civil disobedience as being ultimate acts of patriotism, up to and including giving our lives for the right to live free.
Being a patriot must include the right of protest and civil disobedience. You cannot have one without the other. To minimize teaching the historical and present acts of civil disobedience in the United States is to be profoundly unpatriotic. To imply that civil disobedience is un-American and unpatriotic is not only plainly and simply wrong, it is a complete misunderstanding of what the founding fathers intended for the newly formed United States and its continued health as a free nation, ensuring the rights of individual freedoms of its citizens going into the future in perpetuity.
Attached is a copy of the Declaration of Independence which I suggest you re-read (assuming you have read it since you claim to be patriots) as a reminder of what a patriot really is and how civil disobedience was the very first patriotic act in the formation of the United States of America.
An additional “reminder” for you with regard to civil disobedience is the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights (emphasis mine):
Amendment 1 (Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Just a little bit of research will turn up mountains of evidence on the importance of civil disobedience that led to our independence from Great Britain, and our continued struggle as a nation to retain and maintain our rights to freedom and to protest, here and now, today, in the United States of America. Without civil disobedience, would we have had the landmark decisions to have equal educational opportunities available to all races, creeds, and religions, for both men and women?
You obviously see the protest of the students and teachers against changing the history curriculum as a consequence of the current curriculum of promoting liberal ideology, brainwashing and indoctrination in the classroom. And, I would have to agree with you that these influences are definitely present here and that the protestors are seeing only the part that supports their agenda of what they want to be taught in history classes. But, even though I agree that teaching a liberal agenda which emphasizes civil disobedience and minimizes patriotism, or doesn’t teach patriotism at all in history classes, is wrong, the opposite is equally egregious. You must teach both in their proper context, emphasizing neither, or you are simply promoting an alternative political agenda and not teaching the truth of our freedoms and what it means to be a patriot in our country.
Your current curriculum change to minimize (replace?) teaching about civil disobedience and emphasize (replace it) instead with teaching about patriotism due to your claiming to be patriots belies your true intent. You do not intend nor desire to teach the truth in your history classes on the United States, nor of current events. You intend to propagandize a political agenda. Politics should only be taught in history classes to bring to light all the differing aspects, philosophies and attitudes of the different parties throughout our history and present day, most importantly, without presenting a bias towards one or another or propagandizing for or against one or another. To do otherwise is a political agenda which has no place in the classroom.
Our founding fathers are turning in their graves over your decision. I accuse you of being just what you claim to be against. You are the ones who are unpatriotic!
Thank you for your attention and hopefully, consideration, of these thoughts.
To True Patriotism…