June 11, 2006

Missing the bus

Florida's Omnibus Education Bill

"If you just require students to memorize information, that's not the best way to create active citizens... we're just creating little robots." --Jennifer Morely, American history and government teacher, as quoted in
New Florida law tightens control over history in schools

If America stands for anything, it is our right to question authority figures and their self-serving "facts." Florida's new "factual history by law, by god" bill, passed by a Republican legislature and signed by Gub'na Jeb!, appears to be yet another attempt to remove critical thinking and freedom of speech from the state's classrooms. In questioning the prescriptive nature of the law's mandated, "don't ask, don't tell" curriculum, Rep. Shelley Vana wondered "whose facts would they be, Christopher Columbus's or the Indians'?"

Evidently this new drive for factual history relies upon the same constructed logic of the high school principal who once lectured me that controversial books like The Catcher in the Rye and Slaughterhouse-Five were inappropriate for high school students -- that good teachers should teach reading while avoiding controversy. He was unfazed by my suggestion that high school students should already know how to read, and that the study of literature demands more than basic skills of reading comprehension.

Will this become the typical page from a textbook of the future?

Following 9/11, everything changed. President George "Dubya" Bush invaded Iraq to protect America from the gathering threat of terrorism and the looming weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a madman. The president was passionate in his personal calling to liberate the world of evil tyrants and make it safe for democracy. He might have succeeded, but partisan politicians, the liberal media, and leftist extremists of his era failed to support the Coalition of the Willing, thereby undermining the best efforts of god-fearing patriots.

Despite the Iraq catastrophe and a loss of US prestige in the world, however, President Bush -- still counseled by Cheney-Rumsefld's PNAC team of visionaries, exhorted by his conservative phalanx of religious leaders, and assisted by historic leadership and the loyal support of the Republican majority in Congress -- remained steadfast in the righteousness of his crusade, both at home and abroad.

The Bush legacy was to strengthen presidential powers, to establish the Doctrine of Preemptive Warfare, to rescue the federal courts from activist judges, and to monitor and criminalize a multitude of self-absorbed, non-American, anti-capitalist activities that were threatening the country's security and destroying its moral fiber.

The U. S. Constitution had become quaint.


Bryan said...

I hope you've had enough Florida "history" to be buttoned up and locked down. It looks like Alberto is going to be a bit stronger, though not quite a hurricane yet.

aikane said...

Yeah, so far it appears Alberto may split the difference between us (Tampa/Pensacola areas), possibly nosing ashore around the Big Bend. Hope the Panhandle is spared (I have lots of family up there, including my parents, but also have cousins on Cedar Key and nearby mainland).