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First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card February 21, 2010

The Horse Ain't Dead, Keep on Flogging

The news headline on the WRAL website says "A new draft of history: Curriculum change defeated by negative feedback."

So it looks as though the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction has backed down and won't be eliminating the teaching of American history before 1877 from our high schools.

But let's look a little more closely. Because the original plan is not actually dead. It's just getting a facelift.

The same people are still setting out to change the state's high school curriculum. They still have the same goals. They just discovered that, after 7,000 emails protesting the plan, they have to disguise it better.

We weren't supposed to notice. So now they're waving their hands and, presto-change-o, they're going to pretend they're not really changing anything.

But one of the options still on the table is to give school districts the option of teaching the history of the founding of America in middle school. Which still removes it as a high school course. Which is still a serious downgrade in the importance attached to the course.

In case anyone hasn't noticed, middle school courses are perceived as "lower" or "less advanced" than high school courses. So the foundation story of America, the source of all the values and struggles that made America the freest, most prosperous, most generous, most exceptional nation in the history of the world will be a story for little kids?

And the highest priority, the portion of American history important enough to be taught in high school, is still that portion which can be used to promote "progressive" issues.

Remember that the people creating this new curriculum were taught in college not to value the old "hero-centered" stories; they were taught to despise the works of "dead white males."

But America was created, like it or not, by the mostly-British-ancestry men who led the struggle for independence and created the Constitution and then fought the bloody Civil War to end the evil practice of slavery in America.

They were the good guys. They were the heroes. And if we downgrade their achievements, and then make the modern heroes of the Left the only ones we teach about in high school, it's still going to be propaganda for the Left.

And another thing: When they're designing the course for world history, they have shown no sign of eliminating that offensive proposal of including in it a unit on environmentalism.

In the history of the world, environmentalism is a blip. They're including it only because they want to win converts to that cause.

The only appropriate place to teach about the subject is in biology class, and it will be called "ecology" and it will be based solely on actual science. Which, as has been obvious all along to anyone who understands what honest science looks like, will include "global warming" only to the same extent that biology class should include "Piltdown man" -- as an example of how science can be temporarily damaged by hoaxes designed to promote a particular point of view.

It is time that tax-supported education cease promulgating the values of the extreme Leftist elite that dominates the university faculties and the educational establishment, and accept that the job of education is to transmit the values of the people who pay the taxes.

When we require people, under penalty of law, to send their children to the public schools, then there is a solemn responsibility to pass on to those children the culture that made our nation a light to the world. (Which it is, except in the delusional mindset of America-hating intellectuals who have no qualms about attacking America while sucking on the public udder.)

There are no educational experts; their "educational science" is a joke; and even if it were not, their expertise as "professional educators" would only extend to methodology, not content.

The content of courses is another matter entirely, and we all have a right to a voice in deciding that. Especially history courses, since those are the classes that create the American self-story for the next generation.

No one group should own the teaching of history in our schools -- like our government, it should be a compromise among all the beliefs that are part of our polity. But the arbiter should always be the facts, not one ideology.

State and national educational administrations have long been dominated by one elitist minority which thinks its favorite facts are the only ones that it is important to teach.

They are still in charge. That is the problem, and the fact that they are still proceeding with the downgrade in America's founding stories (and the misplacement of the religion of environmentalism in world history instead of science) says that their agenda has not changed at all.

How did this happen? It's quite simple, really. Democrats have been controlling the state government for decades. Even when there is a Republican governor, the Democrats in the legislature simply strip the governor of power. When a Republican majority was elected, the Democrats bribed enough legislators to switch parties to retain their control.

These Democratic legislators don't care at all about education -- they have no idea what's going on. They just know that they better not oppose the teachers' unions or all that lovely campaign money will dry up and the teachers will throw their support behind a rival.

And the teachers' unions, nationwide, have been captured and are now ruled with an iron fist by ideologues of the Left. Of course, they claim not: "We're just teaching the truth." But heaven help you if your truth is not right in line with political correctness -- you won't find much employment opportunity in educational administration unless you keep your head down and your mouth shut.

Supposedly, the teachers' unions exist to help the teachers get a better deal from the administrators. But these unions also own the administrations, since they are all drawn from the same pool; when it comes to curriculum, the union leadership and the administration, especially the state administration, are united against letting a breath of conservative or traditional viewpoint into the discussion.

They are also extremely protective of their prerogatives as "experts." Never mind that the "science" of education consists of true believers in the latest fad versus true believers of the previous fads.

No matter how oft-disproven a theory is, it keeps coming back and deforming educational practices. No matter how many times a "cool idea" fails in practice, they won't let go.

And when an idea is proven to work, if it doesn't promote the power of the teachers' unions, "evidence" will always be found by "experts" to prove that it isn't really working after all.

Most of the failures in our schools have been caused by educational "experts" trying to solve trivial problems by introducing changes that cause huge systemic problems. The two constants are: Every solution means hiring more staffers who require teachers to do more paperwork, and every change moves the schools to the Left and away from traditional values.

I know that those who belong to the Leftist elite will deny that there's a problem, and will mischaracterize my statements as an ideological attempt to capture the schools.

I repeat: I don't want any ideology to own the schools. I would fight as hard against a right-wing bias as a left-wing one.

But the fact is the Left owns the schools right now, and so that is the problem that must be solved; to get to the fact-based middle, we have to make changes that will be anathema to the dogmatic Left.

Do not be deceived by the strobing propaganda of the Department of Public Instruction. Their curriculum changes are an ideological move, and as long as the same people are in charge of making them, we will keep getting the same result.

Our protests so far have only resulted in whitewash and hogwash. Authority over the curriculum needs to be taken out of the hands of the Left-owned "educational experts" and returned to civilian control.

And when it comes to deciding our history curriculum, the decisions should be fully informed by real historians with a commitment to fact, not ideologues with a commitment to teaching only that which will get the results they want.

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