It’s either chutzpah or hypocrisy, maybe both, that leads Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and the Florida Board of Education to crack down on our children’s history lessons. First, they spread fear that our kids will actually learn that (gasp!) the United States has not always been purely mom and apple pie. Then, satisfied they’ve sufficiently whipped up hysteria, they require a civics curriculum that encourages children to be unthinking drones.
Chattel slavery, Japanese internment camps, Jim Crow, the subjugation of Native Americans — our ancestors did a lot of things that we shouldn’t be proud of on the way to saving the world from fascism and communism in the 20th century. We’ve yet to atone for most of them, which is why much of our history cannot help but be looked at through the prism of race — one way of contextualizing American history that is called critical race theory.
Not that it’s the only way history should be taught in schools — not that it’s even taught at all in Florida classrooms in most cases. But our educational leaders, at the behest of our governor — who has said taking an honest look at history is “teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other” — are mandating what teachers can teach in history classes in proposed rules that will be up for a vote July 14 at a board meeting in Pinellas County.
While loudly proclaiming to anyone who will listen that teachers are forcing “crazy liberal stuff” down our children’s throats, as Corcoran has termed it, they will at the same time force teachers to teach students that our laws came from the Ten Commandments. That “disorderly protesting” is a sign of “irresponsible citizenship.”
Our laws, of course, do not come from the Ten Commandments. Only three of them — bans against murder, theft and perjury — touch on our laws, and in general, killing someone, taking their stuff and then lying about it was frowned upon even before Moses came down from the mountain.
But when your education commissioner is a man with a law degree from Pat Robertson’s Regent University, perhaps this is the sort of education we should expect.
The Florida Board of Education should take a page from Florida Atlantic University’s Board of Trustees, which, upon realizing that a proposal on tenure was more controversial than members had originally thought, struck the item from its June 8 meeting, putting it off until November, if at all. ...
Our kids may not need to learn history through the prism of critical race theory — we’ll leave that up to teachers who know better than us or Corcoran how to educate children — but they do need to learn critical thinking. Forcing teachers to teach our children through red-white-and-blue tinted glasses serves no one.
This American Opinion editorial is the opinion of the editorial board of the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, consists of Deputy Editorial Page Editor Dan Sweeney, Steve Bousquet and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson.