May 26, 2006, - 4:10 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
As we honor our fallen troops on Memorial Day, we must ask ourselves something: While freedom of speech is precious, is freedom FROM “America” even more so? Apparently, that’s the case at the Michigan Department of Education, which wants to erase “America” from tests, courses, and virtually everything else in Michigan public schools. This is something not unique to Michigan, but happening in states around the nation–whether it’s textbooks or curricula.
We cannot say enough about the brilliant, frightening, but not surprising op-ed piece about this by Oakland County, Michigan Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren. (Warren was a member of the Michigan Board of Education prior to becoming a Judge. A bright, well-spoken conservative, he’s one of the few good things that is the legacy of former Michigan Gov. John Engler.) Even better, Warren’s column appeared in The Detroit Spews, which has little good in it, these days, unless you consider the Spews’ regular Hezbollah cleric columnist good. And we do not.
Here is part of what Judge Warren has to say:
Censoring the word “America” from our own schools is something Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden would never have thought possible. Michigan has done it without a whimper.
In perhaps a well-intentioned, but pernicious example of political correctness, the Michigan Department of Education is attempting to ban the “America” and “American” from our public schools. Even though the word “America” appears in the department’s own civics and government benchmarks, the department’s style protocol for the Michigan Education Assessment Program requires that “America” and “Americans” be expunged from our testing and grade level expectations. Last week, the department ordered that our hard-working teachers not utter the words.
The Department of Education asserts that “Americans” includes Mexicans, Canadians and others in the Western Hemisphere, so referring to U.S. residents as Americans is inappropriate. In the department’s view, “America” happens to include South, Central and North America. Accordingly, when referring to the colonial period, the state bureaucracy requires teachers to refer to “the colonies of North America” or “North Americans.” After the American Revolution, the nation is called the United States (not of America).
After the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers no longer qualified as North Americans, but apparently the British, Spanish, French and Native Americans did. What people in the United States are to be called after the Revolution is not clear, so long as they are not referred to as Americans.
Although the style protocol does not require educators to change formal titles such as “America the Beautiful,” the students will apparently now believe the song is about a hemisphere and not a nation. The American Revolution is now the North American Revolution. Little did the writers of the Contract with America in 1994 realize that they were making an agreement with Mexico and Canada. The Voice of America obviously is broadcasting the inspirational messages of Brazil and Belize across the globe.
The Michigan Department of Education considers the dictate “internationally friendly.” Why being friendly to an international audience or perspective is important in teaching and learning American history is incomprehensible.
That we would sacrifice our language to the altar of internationalism is a betrayal to the American spirit.
Judge Warren concludes by saying:
The time has come for our Michigan Department of Education to recognize the error of its ways and proclaim that it is teaching about America and Americans in American history and civics. In fact, the department should repent by creating an “American Freedom Curriculum” in which K-12 students learn the principles and history of the greatest nation on earth. Then the department will be worthy of the treasure for which they are responsible.
AMEN! Predictably, after Judge Warren’s piece ran on Wednesday, Michigan Board of Education officials have been back-pedaling and issuing a gazillion different stories and denials on this. Among them is the Michigan Department of Education Social Studies Consultant, Karen Todorov. She verbally told social studies advisory
committee (a committee that is responsible for informing Michigan teachers about what the Department of Education wants done) that “America” and “American” should not be used by teachers.
Now, Todorov and her allies are eating crow. Had Judge Warren not exposed this, instead of crow, all of Michigan’s public school students would be eating–and regurgitating this absurd propaganda (minus “America”). Kudos to him for doing his civic duty, bringing it to the public’s attention, and helping put the kabosh on this absurd and detrimental movement to erase the unique American identity from the minds of Michigan’s kids.
Coming to your state? Or, perhaps, already there?
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