Below the Fold: History is Written by the Victors (of Board of Education Elections)


History may be written by the victors — but which victors are deciding what history gets taught? Well, in America, its the winners of your state’s Board of Education elections.

And this month in Texas, the officials on that board voted to “streamline” K-12 social studies curriculum by removing some unnecessary figures. Who are some of those superfluous characters?

For one, Helen Keller, who overcame all odds to become the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college and then dedicated her life advocating for others, not to mention a historical figure who can teach children that disabilities do not dictate what your outcome in life will be.

And also, Hillary Clinton, you remember her, the first and only woman to be the presidential nominee of a major party in U.S. history. Yep, the board decided that both are less critical to learn about than Sam Houston, Bill Clinton’s impeachment and Moses’ impact on the founding fathers.

Meanwhile, up in Michigan, their board of education has also made suggestions how history should be taught. Like, removing references to climate change, the NAACP, the KKK, Roe vs. Wade, and the fight for LGBTQ rights. But, it would include teaching “how the expansion of rights for some groups can be viewed as an infringement of rights of others.” Because, I guess in Michigan, there are only so many equal rights to go around.

While the board of education officials are the victors deciding what gets to be taught, the thing to remember is that they are elected officials. So, by voting in these elections, we the voters are responsible for voting these types of “winners” out of office. Unless we want to just wait for other types of winners to step up and make curriculum decisions.

Like in Seattle, where 2014 Grammy award winner Macklemore and Superbowl 48 winner Michael Bennet are ensuring that copies of “Teaching for Black Lives” — “a handbook for equitable teaching strategies for Black students”– are in every middle and high school in the Seattle Public School system.

If those are the kinds of victors who are going to get “A People’s History of the United States” in freshman required reading — Michigan better go tap Eminem and Barry Sanders and tell them to get on it.

Nelly and Emmitt Smith, where you at?

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