Ignorance and political nonsense clearly aren’t problems just on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE). A Colorado Board of Education member this week echoed the ridiculous complaints of her right-wing counterparts in Texas about the new framework for the popular AP U.S. History course for high school students. Critics have charged that the new framework is unpatriotic and worse. Here’s how Colorado board member Pam Mazanec argued on her Facebook page that students should learn about American “exceptionalism” instead of “negative viewpoints” about our nation’s history:
“As an example, I note our slavery history. 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?”
For the record, well over 1 million Union and Confederate troops were killed, wounded or died of disease in the very bloody Civil War that led to the supposedly “voluntary” end of slavery in this country. Recent scholarship (bad word for right-wingers, we know) suggests that the number of military deaths was about 750,000. And we won’t bother asking how Mazanec wants history classes to handle the legacy of that war, including the horrors of poverty, racist violence and segregation.
How did ignorant politicians like Mazanec get in the position of censoring and rewriting fact-based history in our schoolchildren’s classrooms? The simple answer is too many people who know better either didn’t vote or weren’t paying attention when they did. Elections matter.