Words Fail

I’ve been following the protests in Colorado over efforts to make that state’s AP History course “more patriotic.” A part of the backstory has just emerged, and it is absolutely appalling.

One of the members of Colorado’s state Board of Education arguing for “more patriotism” in the curriculum cited the “fact” that the United States voluntarily ended slavery proved “American execptionalism” and argued that this perspective should be taught to students.

Here is her Facebook post complaining that the AP U.S. History curriculum downplays America’s “noble history.”

As an example, I note our slavery history. Yes, we practiced slavery. But we also ended it voluntarily, at great sacrifice, while the practice continues in many countries still today! Shouldn’t our students be provided that viewpoint? This is part of the argument that America is exceptional. Does our APUSH Framework support or denigrate that position?

And this–this!–from a woman who sits on the Colorado Board of Education.

Words fail.


  1. “…ended it (slavery) voluntarily, at great sacrifice…”! Too bad words didn’t fail this Board of Education member before going public and showing her lack of education.

  2. As the great-grandson of TWO men who were wounded THREE times while serving in Union forces during the Civil War (aka the War of the Southern Rebellion) I wonder how this beknighted woman reconciles ‘voluntary’ with ‘rebellion.’ What fool put her in such a position of influence?

  3. I can’t really blame this woman for wanting to feel good as an American, to spark that American spirit and morale again! However, the choice of her words were a little………unwise. We definitely didn’t end slavery voluntary. If we did end slavery voluntary then the Civil War would have never happened in the first place. Stuffing the nation’s skeleton’s back in the closet will only collectively repress the population into more of a psychologically dysfunctional circus then it already is. I think we have a crisis of communication when it comes to how we should express the spiritual needs of the nation. I agree we need to build morale in the classroom but not at the expense of rewriting a historical tragedy. Objectivity still has to be the guiding light.

  4. Wow, talk about a revisionist perspective and the utter denial of the civil war. At what cost should a state follow a model such as Arizona’s curriculum of history, knowing that Kids deserve to know the accurate history. Even Europeans study our history and there is no denying that Americans before the Civil War practiced slavery in the south. The fact that what sparked the Civil War was a threat to the way of life and comfort that the Southerners lived and in due part to the ideals of industrialism, that the loss by the Confederate states ended slavery and began an era of reconstruction could fail to resonate with the mind of a member of the Board io EducArion is absolutely appalling.

  5. Blinded by ideology like many others in influential positions. Education should include treating students with enough respect to tell them the truth; let them figure out how to handle the facts. It’s called critical thinking.

  6. She’s right. The south did end slavery voluntarily. By surrendering and being allowed to rejoin the Unite States of America.

    Now we are asking ISIS to voluntarily end beheading people and enslaving the ones that they don’t, as puppets of the Mullahs. As encouragement we are destroying their means to subjugate.

    We are also asking the Ebola virus (who’s dumber than a doornail) to voluntarily refrain from occupying humans.

    We also need to ask the fossil fuels industry to strand their assets as we cannot afford to allow them to dump their waste into our atmosphere. And we are asking the NRA to voluntarily be reasonable about the sale and distribution of their means of ass destruction.

    We do need to think of more effective ways to encourage these people to step right along in their deliberations though.

    Oh, one more. The oligarchs preying on we the people. Please keep your money out of our politics. Our country’s not for sale. The French asked Marie Antoinette to please share her cake and she also took that to be voluntarily.

    It wasn’t.

  7. She probably thinks employing immigrants (legal or illegal) at slavery wages as housekeepers is noble. I bet she has never given a thought to how our white ancestors actually stole this country from the Native Americans. This FACT should be taught in our history books. As an adult I have learned about the many disgusting things that were done to them to steal this land. Check out the story of Prophetstown some day for a much different viewpoint of our bloody and savage history. I lost all respect for William Henry Harrison after visiting there, and he was portrayed as a hero in our history books. Learning the truth about our history is long overdue.

  8. German history would look great without the WWI, WWII, and the Holocaust. Should Germans take those items out as well?

  9. The British Empire would have looked better without the likes of “Cecil Rhodes” and others of his Ilk.

  10. I would guess this woman never read Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States. Would someone please send her a copy of the book – for the love of this country? Please! If she has reading comprehension issues, maybe there is an audio of the book?

  11. America, as a land mass, is exceptional in terns of natural resources. That’s why our predecessors took it away from Europeans who took away from those who first migrated here over the Aleutian bridge.

    Americans are average like you and I. And everyone else in the world. Everyone is trying to live in peace and prosperity. Our common success in moving in that direction has created our biggest problem. Too many of us consuming too many resources.

    Truly exceptional people are required now to save us from our average selves before nature does. She’s tough and we won’t like her ways.

  12. This has to be one of the best arguments for spending more time in schools on civics education at local, state, and federal levels.

    Indiana’s 4th grade standards require instruction on Indiana’s history and government, but after that, our instruction mostly ignores state and local civics which have immense impact on our daily lives. Having said that, more instruction on national and world history and governments is needed as well.

    As this blog has noted, most of those with college degrees in math and science can’t find employment in their degree fields, but ALL of us need to understand how to self-govern and live peaceably and productively in our neighborhoods, state, nation, and world communities.

    While everyone needs to know how to read and do math, but all students do not need 4 years of HIGH school math to become a successful and productive adult. we all need to understand how to self-govern at local, state, and federal levels.

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