DALLAS, Texas — It was a week of a hijacked education narrative in Jefferson County, Colorado where hundreds of students protested “history curriculum changes that would promote patriotism.” That is right. They were protesting patriotism and capitalism, although they were all for civil disobedience.
It was just one head-turning headline after another that dominated the Denver area since September 22, all triggered by high school teachers staging a sick-out, stricken with the ideological flu that was brought on by the school board pushing back on College Board’s radically redesigned Advanced Placement US History (APUSH).
Just a week before in Austin, the Texas Board of Education (SBOE) took a strong stand against APUSH. Breitbart Texas reported that the SBOE made it a rule that teachers must confirm that they teach the state’s Social Studies standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS), when teaching Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) acceleratedlearning high school Social Studies courses. That is because APUSH is administered by the College Board and does not adhere to the comprehensive Social Studies TEKS.
APUSH has been under fire by education experts and policy makers for its progressive political bias and historical revisionism that stands to undermine traditional Western and American cultural values. On September 19, the SBOE also passed a resolution to send a message to the College Board. They asked for a rewrite of the framework that is fraught with historical errors and omissions.
APUSH, as critics Jane Robbins (American Principles Project) and retired AP Teacher and author Larry Krieger wrote about the TEKS and APUSH, that they are like oil and water, they do not mix.
However, in Colorado, teenagers spilled into the streets with signs like “Teaching Partial History is a lie,” and “There is nothing more patriotic than protest.” WHO-13 out of Des Moines, Iowa quoted one student as saying, “The censorship of US history is wrong. I think it’s pretty communistic” and another as saying, “I understand that they want to take out our very important history of slavery and dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it portrays the U.S. in a negative light.”
9 News, the Denver NBC affiliate, reported that the teacher’s union president applauded the student protesting against the Jeffco school board’s “conservative majority,” accusing them of being the ones trying to change US History.
So, in this fractured fairy tale where fiction is reality, the conservative members of school board are the bad guys for trying to push APUSH back and preserve US History.
Breitbart News has reported extensively on how APUSH erases portions of US history, ignores key figures and American institutions while reframing US history under a negative historical light without context or counterbalance.
These changes have come under the leadership of College Board president David Coleman, who is also the architect of the Common Core State Standards. Colorado is a Common Core State.
Breitbart Texas spoke to Julie Williams, the Jeffco board member who has been vilified for her role in creating a proposal that would force APUSH to include “instructional materials that present positive aspects of the nation and its heritage,” a committee to regularly review texts and course plans, starting with Advanced Placement history, to make sure materials “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” instead of encouraging “or condone civil disorder, social strike or disregard of the law,” according to the Denver Post.
Williams told Breitbart Texas that the proposal they are trying to pass is to preserve US history from the progressive APUSH and it is similar to actions taken by the Texas SBOE.
“Texas passed its resolution against AP US History. In Colorado, people are talking about that,” she said. “What does it hurt to look into this? Our students deserve to have the best, appropriate education possible,” she added. Williams emphasized she’s not asking to discontinue AP US History.
“Without looking into this, we could be harming our students,” she said. She indicated that over the past year “APUSH and a new fifth grade Sex Ed curriculum were slipped into the schools with little public knowledge.”
Williams is a first term board member and full-time working mother of two, one child identified as gifted and one as special needs. In her race, she won with 61 percent of the vote and it’s an unpaid board seat. She told Breitbart Texas, “I was voted by the people, for the people, and to be the people’s voice.”
Holding steadfast to that responsibility, Williams said, “What we are trying to do is the opposite of what’s being reported,” explainingthe curriculum review committee she proposed was for transparency. The idea behind it was that before spending tax dollars on more unfunded mandates, of which Common Core and APUSH are, an advisory council would look at APUSH critically.
Williams never imagined that defending freedoms, liberties and US history, would result in being accused of trying to censor others. However, educrats have been working overtime to seize the narrative, steamrolling over any opposing opinion that comes along with lefty logic. Even in Texas, the leftwing Texas Freedom Network paid a swat team of educational ideologues to review the Social Studies textbooks and sway public opinion on the instructional materials that publishers submitted as part of the current 2015 textbook adoption process.
Williams told Breitbart Texas that the Jeffco school board previously questioned if Colorado should remove themselves from the other unfunded education mandates — the Common Core and the high-stakes testing consortium PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). Williams proposed setting up an advisory committee of parents and community members to provide counsel on what direction the district might go – with or without Fed Led Ed.
Williams said she wanted “to have minority and majority reports in writing for the board to determine what’s best for the kids.”
This idea was tabled due to pressure, she said. A similar but separate APUSH resolution was not tabled, according to Williams, although it was reported as tabled by ABC affiliate, 7 News Denver.
The Denver Post also reported that beside the Board’s actions of promoting patriotism, the teachers were “upset about the school board’s plans to change their pay scales” which Williams also said wasn’t accurate.
She told Breitbart Texas, “the school board upped pay raises from a base of $11.4 budgeted by Jefferson County and then, with other legislated funds provided teachers with the first raise they’ve received in four years.”
She said that with the “conservative board’s help,” the approved increase was a total of $18.4 million and it was for pay increases based on “effective and highly effective” teachers per Colorado Senate Bill 191. As a Common Core state, it is required to link teacher evaluations to the PARCC high-stakes testing.
Williams said that what changed was that in the past, the teachers’ union controlled salary negotiations and teacher compensation on step/ladder program.”
She suspects that the union isn’t too happy with the situation created by the Common Core. The Jefferson County Education Association is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the largest teacher’s union in thecountry. The NEA supports the Common Core.
Williams told Breitbart Texas that 400 teachers met the effective and highly effective criteria in the district and got a raise but 96 partially effective didn’t get a raise. Instead, they got professional teacher development.
While high school students stand along roadsides with poster board signs paid for by mom and dad’s free enterprise system jobs that read, “Censoring history = No Education,” it is Williams who questions exactly who is hijacking US history.
She said, “Our message of liberty and constitutional values do not fit into their liberal box. They want to rewrite history books to progressive ways. We are looking out for our kids.”
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.