Wednesday, March 3, 2021


From the perspective of the 2018 framework, nations, cultures, religions, and civilizations are out. The categories that matter instead are oppressor and oppressed.

The Washington Examiner

by Stanley Kurtz

February 25, 2021 11:00 PM
Winning control of both houses of Congress and the White House had Democrats pondering ways to secure national dominance, whether that be by pushing to add Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico as states or abolishing the Electoral College. But one tactic hasn’t received nearly as much attention as it deserves: the manipulation of civics education.

Required adventures in “action civics,” student protest and lobbying for course credit, will eventually be paired with a push to lower the voting age to 16 or 17, an idea Democrats have already broached at the national level but that can be done more easily, at least for certain elections, by state legislatures.

Massachusetts is ground zero for the effort to foist leftist “action civics” onto the rest of the country. That effort is led by a Cambridge-based nonprofit organization called iCivics, assisted by influential academic centers for newfangled “civics” at Harvard and Tufts. Generation Citizen, an action-civics nonprofit group with a long-standing presence in Massachusetts, is another key player.

In 2018, this coalition managed to gut the highly regarded Massachusetts K-12 standards on the history of America, the West, and the world while putting oppression-obsessed curriculum standards in their place. The coalition’s crowning achievement, however, was to introduce an “action civics project” into the Bay State’s K-12 standards at two points, eighth grade and high school. In practice, the supersized Massachusetts action-civics requirement was a way of turning leftist political protest into homework.

The Massachusetts action-civics coalition is about to go national under the name "Educating for American Democracy." Once Joe Biden’s Department of Education dangles carrots in the form of federal dollars, while brandishing regulatory sticks, red states will be alternately seduced and pressured into requiring the supposedly bipartisan and respectable practice of “action civics,” a term few people have even heard of.

The adoption of statewide requirements in action civics will invite America’s overwhelmingly leftist teacher corps to import its politics into the classroom. A wave of federal funding for “civics” will spread the leftist curricula backed by centers such as Harvard and Tufts to red states and will establish required teacher certification programs in leftist action civics at the same schools of education now churning out woke radicalism. Under the guise of restoring traditional civics, the red states will have been hoodwinked into subsidizing, and even requiring, the political hijacking of their own children.

Let us have a look, then, at what is about to be touted nationally as the Massachusetts civics miracle. It is, in reality, the Massachusetts civics fiasco.

Over the decade from 1993 to 2003, Massachusetts developed what was widely acknowledged to be a first-rate curriculum framework in history and social science, the product of a bipartisan “grand bargain” between Republican Gov. William Weld and a Democratic legislature. The Massachusetts history standards were held up by many as a national model, yet they were not without controversy. Sandra Stotsky, the administrator responsible for developing the 2003 Massachusetts history framework, proudly owned that it was “not a politically correct document,” by which she meant that it avoided a double standard in which only the West could be criticized.....

...At this point, iCivics joined the fray. Founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to teach civics via video games, iCivics had a centrist reputation. Under the leadership of Louise Dube, however, the group now turned sharply to the left. Dube joined with Generation Citizen and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation to form the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition, the alliance that would lead the fight for a new civics law, and for a radically redesigned history framework as well. Dube met frequently with legislators to pressure them on controversial matters like action civics. Her special focus, though, was running administrative coordination and input on replacement of the 2003 history framework. The history curriculum that emerged under Dube’s influence in 2018 was a leftist professor’s dream.

In the new Massachusetts curriculum, the story of the West was whittled away, picked apart, and scattered into “optional” modules that effectively killed it off. Positive points about the West and unflattering facts about non-Western societies were removed or reduced to insignificance. The abuses of the Chinese Cultural Revolution highlighted by the 2003 framework, for example, now went unmentioned. The story of the Puritans and their New England descendants was drowned out by an extraordinary amount of required detail on the depredations suffered by Native Americans. The central thread of American history was lost. In 2018, Boston’s conservative-leaning think tank the Pioneer Institute published “No Longer a City on a Hill: Massachusetts Degrades Its K-12 History Standards,” a scathing and perceptive critique of the History and Social Science Curriculum Framework approved earlier that year under the influence of Dube and her coalition.....

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