It's Recess-time Somewhere

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August 31, 2005

No Wingnut Ideologue Left Behind

As if Florida's public school system doesn't have enough problems, with trying to adhere to the ludricrous standards of No Child Left Behind, setting up for pre-kindergarten and the class size amendment.

But in order to piss off our teachers even more, drive even more qualified teachers out of the profession, and dumb down our children, we have Jeb! picking a loonie ideologue as the K-12 Education Chancellor.

Since they didn't want her in Minnesota, Jeb Bush, in a show of never-ending devotion to the 'No Wingnut Ideologue Left Behind Act,' has picked her up and wooshed her down to Florida to wreak havoc on my state.

Here's some of the doozies in which she was a participant in Minnesota before their state Senate rejected her confirmation.

A group of us in the University of Minnesota's Department of History
wrote a thirteen-page analysis focused on the history portions of the
draft standards, offering corrections and suggestions for improvement. We
called attention to serious omissions, such as the failure to consider
the impact of slavery as an institution on American society, the total
absence of mention of any rights movement of the twentieth century other
than the civil rights movement, and the almost complete omission of Latin
America from "world" history. We pointed out multiple examples of
misleading or unbalanced details in U.S. history, government, and
citizenship: for instance, the persistent conflation of the founding of
our nation in 1776 with the framing of our government in 1789, the
Mexican-American War as one optional example of westward expansion;
and attributing the fall of communism single-handedly to Ronald Reagan.
In a curriculum with strong emphasis on individual leaders only three
Native Americans were listed: Pocahontas, Squanto, and Sacagawea;
and of the twelve women mentioned by name throughout the proposed
standards, not one was principally known for her advocacy for women's
rights. Our letter, signed by thirty-two members of the department (out
of forty-four faculty, not all in residence at the time), went to the
commissioner and also to local newspapers where it immediately became
front-page news.

Rather than welcoming our expertise and accepting our offers to help,
however, Commissioner Yecke and her allies dismissed our commentary
and accused us of promoting a "hate-America agenda."


For example, in a discussion of the kindergarten Civics standard
describing the "virtues of good citizens," the subcommittee decided to
omit "sharing and cooperation" because these were too "socialist." At
another meeting, the subcommittee agreed that it would be inappropriate
to teach middle school students about the economics of slavery, because
the knowledge that human beings were bought and sold as merchandise
might "prejudice the students against a free market economy."


In perhaps the single most revealing example, a seventh grade
Government and Citizenship standard required students to "recognize
the significance of the Founders' four references to God in the
Declaration of Independence"; because, as one committee member
explained to the others, the Declaration's description of God as the
Supreme Judge, as the Creator of nature's laws, and the provider of
the protection of Divine Providence, outlined the Constitution's
separation of the federal government into the judicial, legislative,
and executive branches.

Yes, this exactly what we need in Florida! Rather than Kansas being the laughing stock of the country, Florida is ready to step up to the plate and take over those duties.