3rd Shift

Guest 3rd Shift… The Low Road to Re-Writing Our History – Propaganda in the Age of Oligarchs

More in 3rd Shift: 3rd Shift: We’re Going to Miss Him… Tailgating for Democracy… So Long Folks October 13, 2016 3rd Shift- Trump Gets the ...

by Camel City Dispatch

Editor’s Note:  In this column  by CCD’s Michael Wiseman, he takes a look at what has now happened in Oklahoma.  Like the censored history taught in post WWII Japan, serious efforts have been afoot for years to teach American children a false history in lieu of the serious questions raised by teaching the facts.  This white wash of our history is being inserted into North Carolina by a a Virginia-based, Koch Brothers funded organization called Bill of Rights Institute received a no-bid,$100,000 contract from the state of North Carolina to help develop materials for teachers to use in a course that would re-write American history in a way that removes the reality of genocide against Native Americans, slavery, the Civil War, and any other moment in American history that might not paint our nation in the most favorable light.  None of the material is accurate or it is cherry-picked, pop-history, but there are big money oligarchs who want American children to be indoctrinated with a false sense of superiority.  The greatest way to show love for one’s country is to be honest about it and try to right the wrongs of the past for a better future… anyway  I kindly step aside and let this young man do his thing… – Chad Nance


bury my heart at wounded knee
bury my heart at wounded knee

By Michael A. Wiseman

Have you heard the one about American Exceptionalism? The one where the government re-writes history books to emphasize what’s good about our national history and omits anything, factual or not, that could be perceived as slightly negative? Where oppressors and exploitive historical events are excluded from the texts (see ya, Trail of Tears), and replaced with idyllic reinterpretations of historical figures (yay Christopher Columbus!) that play nicely in picture books and Schoolhouse Rock videos?

It’s no joke.

This week, an Oklahoma legislative committee voted to cut funding for Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History classes on those exact grounds. The committee said that the course framework emphasized what’s bad about America, not “American exceptionalism.” Additional conservative rhetoric has labeled it both “revisionist” and “negative.”

11 Republicans were for the proposal, and 4 Democrats were against it.

The course was designed by private entity College Board who, in conjunction with high school and college faculty, create the series of Advanced Placement courses that allow students to earn college credit in high school. Schools are not required to offer AP courses; additionally, no student needs AP credit to graduate. The courses are simply options for students wishing to pursue higher-level work and credits.

But retired teacher Larry S. Krieger took offense with the new standards. Since 2013, he’s outlined numerous complaints with the new standards – that they misrepresent Manifest Destiny as “white racial superiority,” that the standards focus more on World War II internment camps and the moral grey area surrounding the atomic bomb rather than American soldier heroism, and that the Founding Fathers are portrayed as bigots throughout. Krieger has since teamed with Common Core opponent Jane Robbins.

german ww2 propaganda
german ww2 propaganda

And that’s where part of the confounding information is coming from. College Board also developed the divisive Common Core standards, which has been recently-maligned by government and school board officials across America for imposing some type of vague “super curriculum” designed to help big government grow even bigger. (In truth, the concerns about Common Core should focus more on the types of material being covered, the way that material is being presented to young students, and the over-rigorous standardized testing methods being used, and less about whether or not the curriculum outline came from a national level). Just breathing College Board in the same sentence as Common Core makes the former suspicious.

But for Krieger and Robbins, their stance reflects a growing fear over losing control: of curriculum, of our schools, and of American history. Krieger specifically feels that Winthrop’s “city on a hill” best reflects what America is. So when that city – with the eyes of all people upon it – is seen for slavery, internment camps, and driving an entire race of people off their land, it doesn’t sit too well with those who only want to remember the good parts.

You can’t just throw out the bad, though. THAT’S revisionist history.

And what Krieger is mainly concerned with, that history is being channeled through a progressive lens, is an errant fear. (Unless historical reality has a strong “liberal bias”.)  College Board describes their standards as “just a framework”, not curriculum. And College Board CEO David Coleman wrote specifically that the whole situation reflected a “significant misunderstanding.”

It’s unfortunate, then, that we’re sacrificing the education of academically motivated students (students who statistically do better in college after Advanced Placement classes), because of politicizing. That we’re letting a left vs. right mentality override truths about what actually happened in history. Clue: yes, Americans have done some terrible things in history, and no, ignoring them doesn’t mean they’ll just fade away. It’s important for the next generation to learn from both our successes and mistakes as a nation; AP Students don’t need sugar-coating, they need freedom to create unique opinions based around the facts.

And while Oklahoma is the first state to act, change could be coming to North Carolina and its surrounding states as well. As recently as November Krieger was campaigning to have NC’s acceptance of the AP History outline rejected. He cited the state’s Founding Principles Act, which requires that students learn about basic principles such as individual rights and equal justice, and suggested students take an entirely separate American History course before being allowed into AP.

slavery was real and terrible
slavery was real and terrible

Puritan leader John Winthrop believed the Massachusetts Bay Colony was “God’s country” foremost. Our nationhood from that colony holds us to exceptionally high standards – irrespective of religious affiliation, Winthrop’s philosophy about doing what’s best for all people across every socioeconomic standard, brings with it a level of stately duty. It’s why Winthrop’s been quoted by both JFK and Ronald Regan.

So when Krieger said, “As I read through the document, I saw a consistently negative view of American history that highlights oppressors and exploiters,” he could easily have been talking about his own work.



Leave a Comment