Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Silly Reformers. Critical History is for Kids.


Just in case you just missed it I’ll run through it quickly right now. 

Conservative Reformers took over the Douglas County School Board and the Jefferson County School Board.  These counties border the great city of Denver, Colorado.  The reformer boards—and let’s be honest, we’re talking about political conservatives—are really worried about their AUTHORITIE being threatened by that subversive subject of American History. 

So using their political power—bought and paid for by the Koch brothers and other wealthy “humanitarians”—they have demanded a review of the content taught in AP History classes.  Why?  Is it because that the students might learn about the 500 years of oppressive rule by the wealthy? Because they might learn about the exploitation of workers at the hands of corporate robber barons?  Because they might learn about women being second-class citizens in the 21st century?  Because they might learn that racism and classism is alive and well 500 years after its establishment?  Or is it that the students enrolled in AP History courses in Douglas County and Jefferson County might actually learn that civil disobedience and the struggle for basic human rights requires a direct challenge to the AUTHORITIE of those in power?  Who knows? 

What I do know is that if you feel like engaging in a discussion about this topic there are plenty of strands on Facebook where one can enter a “dialogue” with concerned citizens with little understanding of the real issue at stake—the freedom to learn!

Below is a post from me and some of the dialogue that ensued.

Tim:  Get over your stupid white suburban distorted view of reality. America's negative past is simply a look back at the facts. Learning the truth for the first time tends to be shocking when you find out how many have suffered for others to "own" the American dream. And this is why it must be taught. Our blatant disregard for others over the past 500 years must be laid out in front of the next generation. They can change this disaster of the 1% only when they recognize the suffering and exploitation caused by the 1%. And this is why "conservative" board members want a "review." They fear that their unearned privilege will be "questioned" and that their "authority" will be dismantled. Don't turn this into some BS patriotic attempt to save American youth. The kids are not alright. And why should they be?

“Sally”: Tim our public schools have not been teaching complete history for quite some time. I know my dad was a history teacher and shared much of what has been left out of text books with me. By the way The United States of America is only about 238 years old. Not sure where you are coming up with 500 years? I would prefer that factual and complete as possible history be taught to all students in middle and high school. The good and the bad. Being that said you can still be patriotic and be proud to be a US citizen. You are a bit accusatory and judgmental calling people "stupid white suburban distorted view of reality". Not all of us were born and raised in privilege as you assume. We have worked to get where we are.

Tim: America was exploited since "discovery" in 1492. Learn history before you critique others.

“Sally”: Tim, we have only been a county for 238 years. I personally have exploited no one as I am not part of Christopher Columbus or his crew. I know my history and likely better than most! Your comment is extremely offensive and you do not know your audience. We are not going to win over the majority of the people in this county with comments like yours!

“Sally”: So “Susan” what white suburban privileged people is Tim intending to insult?

Tim: You're white and I'm white. We have privilege. You don't have to be direct descendants of Columbus or any of the white "explorers". We benefit. Except now that neo liberals and conservatives are the 1% even middle class whites think they’re included in the American dream. Wake up! You're not!

“Sally”: Tim works as a Dean at a College in Madison Wisconsin which is like um super uber liberal. Unlike Douglas County which is super conservative. I am personally an Independent voter and see why many in our community are not going to listen to a liberal like Tim who says we have a "stupid white suburban distorted view of reality". 

“Stuart”: Tim was out here in person prior to the last election to lend his support at public speaking events. My impression from listening to him and reading his posts over the years is that he is passionate about saving public education here and elsewhere throughout the country. I would imagine he is well aware of the difficult demographics here, but I respect him for freely speaking his mind whereas a lot of people who actually live here can't or won't for fear of reprisal.

“Chip”: I read Tim Slekar's first comment as referring to our "leaders" needing to get over their distorted view of reality. As in those who want to dismantle public education and further control (censor) what our children will be taught in order to have a little Legos Movie kind of world. Not those of us who are already awake and fighting to stop them with every ounce of our beings.

Our "leaders" are preaching to limit government over reach by grossly over reaching their own governmental power. It is eerily reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

Tim is working hard to show the rest of the country what a ridiculous example Douglas County schools have become. I do not believe he intended those comments to most on this page, but rather at our school board and Jeffco's (and their die-hard blind supporters) for attempting to continue steamrolling their political ideals into our public schools which should remain non-partisan. 

There’s a lot more but I think you get a sense of the “conversation.”  Below is my last post to the Facebook strand.
Tim: My biggest fight is for the institution of public education.  It is our only hope if we are ever to even slightly begin to realize that our human connections are much bigger than our political, and national delusions.  Delusions!  Assuming that there is some kind of "American" history separate from human history is intentional ignorance.  “Sally”and all you other "republicans”. Wake up!  You will never unseat your "reform" board believing in your silly identity politics.  That's what guarantees them power.   Learn something about this fight for the right to learn.  That's what this is at its most basic level.  This isn't about patriotism and love of country.  This is about a "reform" board with the power to actually DICTATE what is and is not important for children to learn.  You love freedom?  Then stop whining and making yourself feel good.  This isn't about you or me.  This is about whether you and me and 1000s finally demand that learning (one of the most basic and fundamental human rights) be free and the freedom to learn never be "approved" by those in power.  Why?  Because those in power will always demand learning that perpetuates the status quo and maintains the civil and social structure of our society—a structure that forbids questions and rewards obedience.

Jefferson County students you deserve a “BustED Pencil!”  Thanks for showing the adults how to speak truth to power.

And to all the other activists fighting for public education and the freedom to learn in Jefferson and Douglas County, please keep up the fight and keep “busting pencils.”


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