Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Long Read: History Is Written By The Winners

I grew up in North Carolina and went to public school there, eventually graduating from the state's residential magnet high school for science and math.  It was one of the best learning experiences of my life, which is why it saddens me to see 20 years later that the Koch brothers just bought North Carolina's high school history and civics classes to teach Tea Party doctrine to students.

Public high school students in North Carolina will be taught from a lesson plans and worksheets prepared by a organization closely tied to the billionaire Koch brothers, if the state’s Department of Public Instruction gets its way. According to the Raleigh News and Observer, the Virginia-based Bill of Rights Institute received a “$100,000, sole-source contract with [North Carolina] to help develop materials for teachers to use in a course on founding principles that the state requires students to take.”

The N&O also notes that the organization receives funding directly from David Koch and from two Koch family foundations, although, if anything, this description understates the Institute’s ties to the conservative billionaires. Two of the Institutes four board members are employed by Koch entities — one is a senior vice president at Koch Industries and another is director of higher education programs at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation — and many of the Institute’s other top leaders also appear likely to push a political agenda in line with the Koch brothers’ anti-government views. Board member Todd Zywicki, is a George Mason law professor and a leading opponent of Wall Street reforms such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Institute’s president, David J. Bobb, founded two centers at Hillsdale College, a conservative institution of higher education that proclaims its opposition to “the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so called ‘social justice’ and ‘multicultural diversity.’

At every turn the lesson plan is that America was formed by armed resistance to centralized, federal government and remains plagued to this day by high taxes and Washington DC interference.  The lesson plan also includes a call to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, instead allowing state legislatures to choose Senators to "avoid the corruption of federal elections" and holds the Commerce Clause as the source of many woes the country suffers from.

It's pretty subtle and nasty stuff, and worth a read.  Especially for those of you with kids in high school, understand that this lesson plan is coming to dozens of red states pushed by state legislatures controlled by Republican corporate interests.

Got to get them hating the federal government while they're young, you know.

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