Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Compare and Contrast this!

I find it, well.......disturbing - that we have elected to our State Board of Education folks that are so hell bent on elevating the perception to our children that America is great and it got that way simply because it is great.

Here is one of many changes the good folks at McLeroy's Neocon SBE have recommended for 8th Grade Social Studies

Now compare and contrast is good, I like to do it now, but as a kid I sucked at it.  It teaches critical thinking which is a good thing, a good type of pedagogy.  But you can only compare and contrast things that are related. Jean Pierre Godet"s "I love America" words cannot be compared or contrasted with anything Susan B Anthony's said.
Why the brilliant scholars at the Texas SBE think students will come away with something of relevance shows just how clueless these people are.  Susan B Anthony was a leader in the woman's suffrage movement, you know, when loving America for keeping the vote from woman was what made us great!

The same goes for Upton Sinclair who wrote about the U.S. meat packing industry leading to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.  And Ida B. Wells who wrote about lynchings and civil rights for blacks, and WEB DuBois who dealt with racism in America.

 To conclude that their work was the result of pessimism is to miss the big picture here.  They were moved to act because America during their time was flawed. Yes the same America that Godet loved for allowing him to dream a new dream was the same one holding others down.  Without their optimism to see that change was possible, without their personal sacrifice, without their toil for a cause that would benefit others not just themselves, where would we be?

Now the neocon way of thinking is let's forget all that bad stuff, focus on just the good.  Why?  I think I know, it's because they want the America of the past.  They don't see these people as moving us forward, they see it as a change that destroyed our American Values.  Why celebrate muckrakers - it only encourages others (students) to challenge the status quo. We will give you change that we want and you should be grateful for what you have.

Contrary to McLeroy's neocon way of thinking, historians are not obsessed by oppression when they discuss these individuals and the warts that were part of the day to day encounters.  Oppression leads to change, change is what is recorded and what should be learned.  Being told that Godet "loved America" is beneficial in what way other than "golly-jeepers that sure feels swell!"

Lets look at this from another angle:
I love King George for giving so many of us the right to dream a new dream in America.  Such words were lost on muckrakers such as Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, and Adams.  
Compare and contrast that optimism!

Note: Yea - I changed "put an end to woman's suffrage" As my kid pointed out with that look of "you idiot!"

No comments: