10/5 Sunday Post – A Letter From A JeffCo Alum

How to improve AP History in JeffCo Schools

(We received this letter originally on our Facebook page.  It has been reposted here with permission from the author.)

Dear JeffCo School Board,

I know that you have your hands tied at the moment, dealing with wayward faculty and disobedient youth. I want to do my part and take on the responsibility of some of the important tasks that you poor, beleaguered officials have on your “to do list.” I have already started to compile a list of potential edits – or let’s call them “improvements” – to be made to future AP history textbooks. I just started today, so the list is short. With you as my inspiration, I plan to provide more improvements that will greatly benefit the impressionable minds of future Americans. Through our shared efforts, we can teach our youth that the U.S.A. is the greatest thing to happen to God’s green Earth.

RECOMMENDED CURRICULUM IMPROVEMENTS

  • European settlers learned how to cultivate non-GMO, gluten-free products from indigenous people, and reciprocated such generosity by producing some of the most effective diseases and species depletion native populations had ever experienced.
  • The institution of slavery was widely celebrated as America’s first affirmative action success, providing housing, food, and jobs to hundreds of thousands of displaced African-Americans.
  • When framing the Constitution, the Founding Fathers were prophetic in their reluctance to address the “slavery question.” Their foresight made certain that the joy of Civil War reenactments and harmonious race relations would be bestowed upon future generations in perpetuity.
  • Shay’s Rebellion was the United States of America’s first experience with dirty, rotten hippies. 
  • In an attempt to show compassion toward native people, the American military provided Indians with blankets that once comforted the souls and warmed the backs of small pox victims.
  • After careful sociological experimentation in Ludlow, Colorado, John D. Rockefeller and the Colorado National Guard helped bring about the eight-hour workday and other important labor reforms. This project also served as the model for future, successful collaborations involving corporate philanthropy and military benevolence.
  • Out of concern for the plight of Japanese-Americans, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted the first national summer camp for the minority group. It was so popular, happy campers stayed beyond the summer for several years.
  • Joseph McCarthy’s valiant efforts helped inspire future NSA programs and Facebook privacy policies.
  • The Manhattan Project worked tirelessly to introduce nuclear energy to Japan, which shaped the country’s future energy policy that never once jeopardized its people.
  • Agent Orange improved the manufacturing productivity of the Vietnamese people by providing them with extra – and very nimble – fingers to be used on the assembly line.  
  • In 1961, President John F. Kennedy set the precedent for America’s commitment to arming “moderate rebels” through his victorious Bay of Pigs campaign.
  • Rosa Parks bravely secured closer seating for all future Americans who wanted to sit closer to the air conditioning while enjoying public transit.
  • If not for the heroism of John Rambo, Forrest Gump, and R. Lee Ermey, the United States military would have not successfully fended off the Vietcong, Oliver Stone, and the Beat Generation.
  • Kent State taught all college-bound Americans the value of not missing your class lectures.
  • Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seal created the first all African-American nonprofit dedicated to preservation and proliferation of large African kitty cats.
  • All it took was the election of Ronald Reagan to end the Cold War, secure world peace, and end history on a good note. Everything else after this point is just pure conjecture at this point.

orwell.jpg

In all seriousness, if you think that the teaching of history demands a specific lens – whether it celebrates patriotism or downplays disobedience – you don’t want history; you want propaganda. Totalitarian regimes understood that controlling the past meant controlling the present and shaping the future.

I refuse to buy into any of your rhetorical spin. If you actually read the course curriculum guideline, you will see that the College Board is encouraging the teaching of history as it should be taught: the critical analysis of the ever-changing patterns found within human civilization, not the mindless memorization of dates, people, and events. I hated history because all I got was the latter when I was a student in the very same school district you govern. In middle school, I was forced to pretend that I was a historical figure – wearing era-appropriate garb and all – and mindlessly drone on about his accomplishments in front of my class. I retained nothing and despised the subject matter. If it weren’t for some great history teachers later in life, I might have avoided the topic entirely during college and missed out on what is truly a lifelong passion of mine.

What is going on in Jefferson County is actually a microcosm of a larger takeover of school board governance by ideologically-narrow zealots like you. You are a part of the same narrow agenda that suggests “intelligent design” belongs alongside evolution in science textbooks and “American exceptionalism” is the most important lesson in the history of our glorious, infallible nation. (If you are looking for more suggestions on how to further botch education, may I recommend watching “The Revisionaries” on Netflix?)

I encourage you to listen to the concerns of your students. They are demonstrating one of the most vital and patriotic activities that history teaches us: dissent. If not, I hope the JeffCo voters relocate you to the dustbin of history where you belong.

Sincerely,

A Jefferson County Alum

4 thoughts on “10/5 Sunday Post – A Letter From A JeffCo Alum

  1. You are obviously very intelligent and eloquent. Unfortunately, because the board is too obtuse and simple mindedto understand are only interested in holding their positionthat I fear for the students of Jeffco where I was both a studentand later a teacher.

  2. Dear Jeffco Schools Alum:

    You are very correct in your letter to the BOE. However, Nancy Haynes is also correct: the BOE is too obtuse to understand what you have written. Look, WE get it, and it is most humorous and sarcasm, mixed with satire, is, well, a passion of mine. I even have a Union Card!

    Yet, this BOE will not understand what you have written. Their response, when it comes, I think will be more like Frankenstein’s monster’s response to fire, a flinging about of arms and unintelligible grunts of fear and anger than anything based in reason and logic.

    THANK YOU for writing this letter. It was amusing and quite appropriate. It’s just that the intended target of it is, most likely, too ignorant to understand it.

    No, wait. That’s not fair. They are not too ignorant. Everyone who has a pulse knows the various and sundry missteps in American History. The people you target in the letter, they know of the Trail of Tears. They know about Wounded Knee. They know all about the Japanese Internment Camps. They probably do not know how we intentionally gave syphilis to a population of a Guatemalan prison just to see what happens, but then, how anyone could live in America and NOT know we did the same thing in Tuskegee, is beyond me.

    No. They are not “ignorant.” They are willfully ignorant. They have taken the things they have heard, have been taught and have learned and tamped them down so tightly in their brains, that they do not recognize the Truth about the cost, in real human terms, of how this America came into being. Truth is, they don’t want to know anymore. Intellectual frauds that they are, they don’t want to know, either.

    They cannot process the Truth…so, in their Cognitive Dissonance, they don’t want your kids to know it, either. If everyone is taught the same things only they believe, why, then, everyone will be the same, right?

    All will be great; just as soon as everyone believes their sanitized version of History.

    They are not ignorant, sir. They are not.

    They are morally, ethically and intellectually bankrupt FRAUDS that the good people of Jeffco, in their fervent desire to “cut costs,” or save money, actually VOTED into office.

    Only now, once those frauds were in office, have the good people of Jeffco come to the realization, that the True Cost, which is being exacted on their CHILDREN, is keeping any of these charlatans and “carnival barkers,” as I call them, anywhere near the education of children.

    Buyer’s remorse doesn’t even begin to describe the half of it.

    Best Regards,

    Mike Jardine

  3. Bravo! The letter writer is proof that prior JeffCo boards did their jobs. Let’s hope the current one will, too. If not, I hope they are shown the door–the one that will hit them in the butts on their way out!

  4. Great letter. It really communicates a point.

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