The Future Of Teaching U.S. History???

Alexandra Petri is a satirical columnist for The Washington Post.  This week, she opines on the re-writing of history to suit the racists in Florida, led by none other than Governor DeSantis, and it is both appalling and yet at the same time humorous.  Remember, this is tongue-in-cheek, satire … until it becomes reality.

Excerpts from a civics textbook I assume would be welcome in Florida

By Alexandra Petri

20 March 2023

“Rosa Parks showed courage. One day, she rode the bus. She was told to move to a different seat because of the color of her skin. She did not. She did what she believed was right.”

“Rosa Parks showed courage. One day, she rode the bus. She was told to move to a different seat. She did not. She did what she believed was right.”

— Two versions of a first-grade lesson from Studies Weekly, a publisher whose social studies curriculums are currently used in Florida elementary schools. Studies Weekly revised the lesson more than once, omitting any mention of racism or segregation, to submit for a state review of social studies materials.

American history is full of many heroes, whose accomplishments we will have no problem telling you about in the state of Florida! They fought for justice, which was brave of them, if a little redundant, because there was no specific injustice to fight against. Here are just a few of their stories!

Harriet Tubman is considered an inspiring figure by many because she made many trips on foot, often with other people. She specifically led trips from the South to the North, often at night. At night, you can see the stars! It is great to lead trips. She was a hero.

Frederick Douglass was famous, too! We celebrated him during the Trump administration for being someone “who’s done an amazing job” and whose contributions are still being “recognized more and more.” He also gave a noteworthy speech about the Fourth of July. Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July?

John Brown is regarded by some as a heroic figure. Famously, he went to what is now West Virginia (Wild and Wonderful!). He also grew a luxurious beard. Once, he was very excited to visit a weapons arsenal. We support West Virginia tourism!

Abraham Lincoln was a tall man who did something that was a very important thing to do, and especially at that time. He was president during the Civil War, which was fought from 1861 to 1865 between a group of people whom it was universally agreed would make wonderful, handsome statues and some other people who may have had reasons. He even made a proclamation, probably unnecessarily! He famously went to the same play as John Wilkes Booth, a very talented actor who also loved to exercise his Second Amendment rights! It is nice when actors support the Second Amendment. Too often, woke Hollywood doesn’t.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and some of her friends went to Seneca Falls, N.Y., and had a conference there. At the conference, she talked about things related to ladies. Seneca Falls is a nice place to visit, especially in the summer!

Jonas Salk was a famous doctor. He invented a vaccine against polio, which was good because it made not being vaccinated against polio a choice, which it had not been before. Giving people choices is wonderful!

Rosa Parks was asked to move to a different seat, but she didn’t. People who sit are heroes! For instance, Thurgood Marshall famously sat on a bench. He was a hero, too.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933. She spent 71 years of her life on the planet at the same time as Ronald Reagan! This was a big achievement. She also famously sat on a bench. We love it when people sit!

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and told people about it! King made some people upset, probably because it is annoying when people recount their dreams to you at length, but possibly for other reasons. He is no longer with us, but he is still celebrated today because his works provided so many out-of-context quotations for White people to use to explain why it is not important to fight racism any more. (Which was never important to do, because it did not exist.)

John Lewis was a hero! He famously marched across a bridge. This upset some people. People have strong feelings about infrastructure. Have you ever walked across a bridge? He was such a hero that they named a whole road after him and then some people wanted to rename a little piece of it after Donald Trump!

The Little Rock Nine went to school! Some people did not want them to go to school, and there were protests and guards were called in. It is sad: Even today, some people just don’t want other people to learn! They went anyway. It is good to go to school, where you can learn so much about history!

Time For ‘Toons!

The time has come to share some of the political cartoons from the past week with you guys.  I must say that as much as we are bombarded with political drama, environmental crises, social disruption, it is a boon for the political cartoonists who NEVER have to go digging for a topic these days!  Oh, if only I had some artistic talent!  But alas … a five-year-old child can draw better than I can!  These ‘toons and artists show that we CAN find humour, even in the darkest of times.

King Ron???

Every day there is something new that DeSantis or his henchmen have done to further stifle civil rights, human rights.  The latest is the board of trustees 9-3 vote to shut down one college’s diversity office.  Others will no doubt follow.  Seems to me that we can all see where this path ends.

Also in Florida there is Senate Bill 1316, titled Information Dissemination.  The bill would, in part, require political bloggers such as myself and some of you, to register with the Florida Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics, else be subjected to a fine.  WHOA … think about that one for a minute.  Freedom of speech???  First Amendment???

Within the next 18 months, it is almost certain that DeSantis will have turned Florida into an authoritarian state where only straight, white, male, Christian people are welcome.  Why not just do it all at once?  Why doesn’t he just step up to his podium and say to the world …

“I hereby declare that the people of Florida are no longer free citizens, but wards of the state who will be strictly guided by the rules I and my brownshirts impose.  Those found in violation will suffer the harshest of penalties.  All federal laws are hereby revoked in the state of Florida and I will make all decisions from this point forward.”

Given his popularity in Florida and elsewhere, it would seem that a good number of people in this country are yearning for exactly such a dictatorship.

Meanwhile in Texas, U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales is facing censure by the Texas Republican Party.  Why?  Because he voted in support of the gun legislation last year that received bipartisan support in the wake of the mass shooting of children in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers.  Gonzales may also face ‘censure’ for his support of a bill to codify same-sex marriage.  I guess Texas plans to join Florida in being “the place ‘woke’ goes to die.”

Is all of this really what the people of this nation want?  If not, then why aren’t the people of Florida holding protests daily in front of the Governor’s mansion in Tallahassee?  Why aren’t they writing countless letters to their newspapers, peacefully making their voices heard?  By the time the nation wakes up, it may be too late.

Who Will It Be????

Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again.  No no … not the ‘holiday season’ … well, yeah, it is that too, but I was referring to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year!  Tomorrow, Time will announce this year’s person.  I looked at the list this afternoon and the first name stunned me … China’s Xi Jinping … the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.  Okay, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering they nominated the former guy as recently as 2020.  But still … shouldn’t Person of the Year be an honour held for people who have done and/or are doing something good in the world?  Yes, I do realize that they don’t necessarily award it to ‘good’ people, but rather those who were the biggest newsmakers of the year, but still …

And it gets even better …

The U.S. Supreme Court in all their “glory” is also on the list because, according to Time, it is “incredibly influential this year due to its conservative supermajority.”  Time seems to applaud their decisions that have set women’s rights back to the last century and taken authority to try to save the planet from disaster away from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis both made the list, as well.  Elon because he “has garnered controversy surrounding his takeover of Twitter” and Ron because a) he won his election, and b) his little stunt of flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard that gained him lots of attention.

Others on the list include MacKenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos ex-wife), Liz Cheney, and Janet Yellen … all decent sorts who have done some good, but not Person-of-the-Year sort of good.  I suppose we should just be thankful that Kanye West, Stuart Rhodes or Nick Fuentes aren’t in the running!

There is really only one person on the list who I consider worthy of the honour of being named “Person of the Year” and that is Volodymyr Zelenskyy (and Time didn’t even spell his name right!)  He is fighting the Russian bear on behalf of the people of Ukraine and has never once wavered, never considered backing down.  He is truly a man of courage and convictions, and if I had a vote on the Time Person of the Year, my vote would be for President Zelenskyy!

A Few Thoughts From The Bouncing Mind

I don’t know if it’s the weather, the holidays or what, but I cannot seem to concentrate on any single topic long enough to write a more in-depth post for the past few days.  I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with my brain, I think.  Or would that be a heart-to-brain talk?  Is the brain even available for a chat, or is it out to lunch?  For now, though, I will share with you just a few of the thoughts that bounced around in my brain last night!

Today’s the big day!!!

The runoff election in Georgia will determine whether Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock or Republican challenger Herschel Walker will take their seat in the United States Senate on January 3rd. My fingers are so tightly crossed that they’ve lost all feeling in hopes that the people of Georgia are smarter than the Republican nominee and will vote for a man who has a proven track record in the Senate, a man with integrity and values.  Let Mr. Walker go back to his vampire movies while Senator Warnock helps make the laws that will govern us all.

Will the Court do the right thing?  Don’t hold your breath

Will they rule for or against the LGBTQ community?  It seems to me that if you own a business, you welcome customers … all customers.  What savvy business owner would turn away a paying customer because of the colour of his skin or his religion?  Or his gender identity?  Remember the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in 2018 where a Colorado bakery refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because the owner of the cakeshop thought same-sex marriage was a sin?  What is it with Colorado, anyway?  The latest case before the Supreme Court is about whether a Colorado web designer, a woman who creates websites for a living, can refuse to create a website for a same-sex couple simply because their life choices go against her narrow-minded religion.  

I have little trust of today’s Supreme Court, which is tragic in itself.  It has been hijacked by rigid right-wing partisans who are more likely to rule in favour of the web designer.  Since the additions of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Barrett, a number of unjust rulings have been issued, not the least of which was the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v Wade and set women’s rights back 50 years or more.  So, I will be shocked … pleasantly so … if the Court tells the web designer that she cannot discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. 

For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents.  If you own a business that is open to the public, it is open to ALL the public, including LGBTQ+ people.  To decide otherwise would be to throw wide open the doors of discrimination in every venue across the U.S.  Imagine, if you will, a nation where Black people are banned from Kroger or Safeway grocery stores, or where Jews are not welcome in certain clothing stores or restaurants.  If you are in business, you serve one and all.  Remember the days, not all that long ago, when in the South there were signs on doors, “Whites Only”?  Do you want to see signs on doors that read, “Straight White Christians Only”?  If your prejudices are so severe that you cannot open your mind and the doors of your business to people who are different, then you have no business being in business.  Full Stop.

It’s all relative

There was a time when Florida’s Ron DeSantis would have been viewed as terrible material for a presidential candidate.  And now … he seems to be garnering support from some in the GOP, as well as the voting public on the right.  What changed?  Did DeSantis become more ‘acceptable’ through some actions of his own?  No.  He became more ‘acceptable’ as an alternative to the madman who once occupied the Oval Office and who is running once again.  If you have no other points of comparison, and you put Trump and DeSantis side-by-side, then yes, DeSantis looks pretty damn good.  But then, compared to Trump, Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie The Shining looks pretty good!

I firmly believe that Donald Trump’s name will not be on the final ballot in November 2024, but even so, I would also hate to see DeSantis as the GOP nominee.  Like Trump, DeSantis is a bigot in most every way, but unlike Trump, he is relatively intelligent and knows how to obtain what he wants.  And, for some reason that escapes me, he has gained a significant amount of popularity, though none of my Floridian friends have any use at all for him.  Fortunately, 2024 is almost two years away and a lot can happen in two years, so I’m not going into panic mode yet, and neither should you.

The price we pay for declining education

I’ve written many times of late about the efforts, primarily by evangelicals and Republicans to whitewash the history of the United States.  I have argued that we need to keep that history — the good, the bad, and the ugly parts — in the forefront of our children’s education so they can ensure we NEVER return to the days of slavery, of Jim Crow, of the KKK.  I’ve also argued against book bans, yet today school districts are banning more and more books, further narrowing the minds of the next generations!  I think the following chart makes my point perfectly …

Need I say more?

And now for just a few ‘toons that highlight the news of the day …


DeSantis Is No ‘Golden Boy’

It seems that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is on the path to becoming the Republican Party’s next ‘golden boy’, now that the former guy has perhaps placed the final straw on the camel’s back with multiple losses in the mid-terms and then his meeting with the ignoble white supremacist Nazi, Nick Fuentes.  But make no mistake … DeSantis is not worthy, perhaps no more so than the former guy.  One of my favourite columnists, Frank Bruni, tells us why.

He’ll be sold as a paragon of reason. Don’t buy it.

By Frank Bruni

01 December 2022

Elon Musk is a geyser of gibberish, so it’s important not to make too much of anything he says. But a recent Twitter thread of his deserved the attention it got, if not for the specific detail on which most journalists focused.

They led with Musk’s statement that he would support a Ron DeSantis candidacy for the presidency in 2024. That obviously disses one Donald Trump, though it should come as no surprise: Magnates like Musk typically cling to the moment’s shiniest toys, and DeSantis, fresh off his re-election, is a curiously gleaming action figure.

But how Musk framed his attraction to the Florida governor was revealing — and troubling. He expressed a desire for a candidate who’s “sensible and centrist,” implying that DeSantis is both.

In what universe? He’s “sensible and centrist” only by the warped yardsticks of Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kari Lake and the like. But those yardsticks will be used frequently as various Republicans join the 2024 fray. And therein lies real danger.

Trump’s challengers will be defined in relation to him, casting them in a deceptively flattering light. They’ll be deemed steady because he’s not, on the ball because he’s out to lunch, enlightened because they don’t sup with Holocaust deniers. They’ll be realists to his fantasist, institutionalists to his nihilist, preservationists to his arsonist.

None of those descriptions will be true. Some will be persuasive nonetheless.

That dynamic is already doing wonders for DeSantis as he flies high over a very low bar. “Look!” say Republicans eager to take back the White House. “It’s Superman!” Hardly. But his promoters are hoping that the shadow of Trump produces such an optical illusion.

“Plenty of Americans across the partisan divide would have good reason to root for him,” Jim Geraghty, the senior political correspondent for the conservative journal National Review, wrote in a recent essay in The Washington Post that praised DeSantis. Parts of it made DeSantis sound consensus-minded, conciliatory. That’s some trick.

Geraghty added: “Given the bizarre state of American politics during the Trump era, DeSantis would represent a return to normality.” The “given” in that sentence is working overtime, and “normality” fits DeSantis about as well as “sensible” and “centrist” do.

It is not normal to release a campaign ad, as DeSantis did last month, that explicitly identifies you as someone created and commanded by God to pursue the precise political agenda that you’re pursuing. Better words for that include “messianic,” “megalomaniacal” and “delusional.”

It is not sensible to open a new state office devoted to election crimes when there is scant evidence of any need for it. That is called “pandering.” It is also known as a “stunt.”

It is not centrist to have a key aide who tweeted that anyone who opposed the “Don’t Say Gay” education law in Florida was “probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children.” Those were the words of Christina Pushaw, who was then DeSantis’s press secretary and “transformed the governor’s state messaging office into a hyperpartisan extension of his political efforts,” as Matt Dixon noted in Politico, adding that she “used the position to regularly pick public fights with reporters on social media, amplify right-wing media outlets and conservative personalities and attack individuals who oppose or challenge DeSantis.”

DeSantis’s response to her derisive and divisive antics? He made her the “rapid response director” for his re-election campaign. Because that’s the normal, sensible, centrist thing to do.

DeSantis used his power as governor to punish Disney for daring to dissent from his political views. He used migrants as political pawns and sent two planes full of them to Martha’s Vineyard. He pushed for an extreme gerrymander in Florida that marginalized minority voters. He’s a darling of the National Rifle Association.

And the signature line from his stump speech is that Florida is “where woke goes to die.” I’m with him on the destructiveness of peak wokeness, but base-camp wokeness has some lessons and virtues, which a sensible centrist might acknowledge and reflect on. Can’t Florida be where woke goes to decompress in the sun and surf and re-emerge in more relaxed form?

DeSantis himself might currently reject the labels that Musk gave him: It’s the right-wing-warrior side that promises to propel him most forcefully through the primaries, should he enter them. But he or any nominee not named Trump would likely segue to the general election by flashing shades of moderation.

In DeSantis’s case, there’d be chatter galore about his 19-point re-election victory as proof of his appeal’s breadth. But another Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, won re-election in Florida by sixteen points, suggesting that forces beyond DeSantis’s dubiously pan-partisan magnetism were in play. And Florida is redder than it used to be.

The extremists and conspiracists so prevalent in today’s Republican Party have distorted the frame for everyone else, permitting the peddling of DeSantis as some paragon of reason. Be savvier than Musk. Don’t buy it.

New GOP Motto: Win Or Cheat

Among my favorite opinion writers is Frank Bruni writing for the New York Times.  His newsletter on Thursday takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the Republican Party’s new favourite toy:  election denial.  For months, they have been planning and plotting how to overcome their losses on November 8th and they will leave no stone unturned.  Never before in the history of this nation … and I hope never again, but … sigh.  Anyway, see what Frank says about it all …

Heads, Republicans win. Tails, Democrats cheated.

By Frank Bruni

27 October 2022

I appreciate little about Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, but I do thank her for her candor. For her transparency. For laying out and laying bare the double standard that she and other Republican candidates and leaders embrace:

A Republican victory in a tightly contested race means that Democrats’ desires or schemes to corrupt it didn’t pan out. Let freedom ring! A Democratic victory means that George Soros cast a magic spell over voters while a global cabal of socialists and pedophiles used space beams to scramble the results that voting machines spit out.

Those weren’t Lake’s exact words in a recent interview with Dana Bash on CNN, but that was the spirit of them.

Bash asked Lake about her crackpot insistence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump — a fiction that happens to enjoy special favor in Arizona — and whether Lake was prepared to concede graciously if her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, prevailed in the midterms on Nov. 8.

“I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result,” Lake said, oracularly and obnoxiously.

Bash rightly pressed her. What if she lost?

“I’m going to win the election,” Lake repeated, word for robotic word, “and I will accept that result.”

I don’t know how you interpret that, but here’s my translation: The only outcome she will consider legitimate is her own victory. Anything else is potential grounds for a fresh round of rancor and a new cycle of conspiracy theories. She’s poised to pump more poison into the body politic. For Lake and too many other Republicans, there are just two possibilities: validation or victimization. There’s no such thing as losing fair and square.

Republicans are fashioning a politics without accountability. They’re rigging reality itself. And Lake’s interview with Bash was one of those moments that captured, in miniature, the broader dynamics and dysfunctions of its time.

Lake argued, for example, that the bogus issue of election integrity must be prioritized and addressed because many Americans believe it should be. See how that works? You sow the seeds of doubt. Then when doubt grows, you say: Look at all that doubt! It’s a garden, it’s a thicket, it’s a wild anti-Eden all its own. It must be tamed — and you know how? Elect Kari Lake. Bow to Ron DeSantis. Because they’re spotlighting that doubt. They’re boldly confronting it. They’re not letting evidence, or the lack thereof, get in the way of emotion.

A reasonable person might ask: If the system has been corrupted, if the counting can’t be trusted, why should we accept a win by Lake? Or by DeSantis? Or by any other Republican who is telling us how degraded the vote has become, how suspicious the returns are?

That’s my favorite part of their theatrical panic: how conveniently selective it is.

The same system that tallied fewer votes for Trump than for Joe Biden in 2020 also tallied more votes for many Republican senators and members of Congress than for their Democratic rivals, but Republicans didn’t emit so much as a peep of concern about those counts. The space beams, you see, operate with surgical precision.

I shouldn’t joke. This is no laughing matter. If enough Americans exalt feelings over facts, insist on their preferred version of events rather than the actual one, refuse to subjugate their personal wants to any public good and reject the processes and institutions that enable group decisions, we have chaos. We all lose.

And I, for one, am not prepared to accept that result.

If You Can’t Win Honestly …

The failure of the United States Senate to pass the two federal voting rights bills that crossed their desks in January has led to nearly every state creating highly restrictive voting laws this year.  Thank you, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, for doing your part to destroy the rights of We the People to have a voice in our government.  In addition to the restrictive laws the states have been passing all year, there is a last-minute scramble to add insult to injury just ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections.  Just a few examples …

  • Just three days after being sworn into office, Wyoming Republican Interim Secretary of State Karl Allred sent a letter asking clerks to remove all drop boxes in the state. “I’m mindful of the fact that there have been no issues reported with the use of the drop boxes in Wyoming, but that does not alleviate the potential for abuse …”  Say WHAT???  There is “potential for abuse” in every single thing in the world, but that doesn’t mean you ban them!!!  There’s the potential that I might throw my coffee cup at someone’s head and give them a concussion, but we don’t ban coffee cups!!!  We don’t ban cars that kill hundreds … thousands of people every year!  Hell, we don’t even ban f*cking guns … yesterday, a 15-year-old child killed five people with a gun in North Carolina, but do you think Congress will act on stricter gun laws?  Hell no!  But this jerk in Wyoming wants to remove all ballot boxes, making it much harder for many to cast a ballot, to use their Constitutional voice in our government, because of the ‘potential’ for abuse!  Ballot boxes are more dangerous than guns???  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  • Last Friday, the Delaware Supreme Court struck down two recently enacted pro-voting laws claiming they ‘violated’ the Delaware Constitution. The two-page order struck down Delaware’s same-day registration and no-excuse mail-in voting laws. Another blow … a big one … to voting rights, especially for the elderly and the disabled who may have difficulty going to the polls in person and waiting in line, sometimes for hours, to cast their vote.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  • In Pennsylvania, Republicans are trying to get 242,000 people … nearly a quarter of a million … removed from the voter rolls, claiming they have moved outside the state since the last election. I find it hard to believe that so many have left the state in under two years and have no clue how they have identified those voters, but I’d bet money that most of the 242,000 voted for a Democrat or two last election and that is the actual criteria!  Other states, such as North Carolina and Wisconsin have similar efforts underway to purge voters.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
  • Early in-person voting starts in Georgia next Monday, just three days away. Yet, thousands of Georgia voters have already had their eligibility challenged by right-wing activists, empowered by a provision in Senate Bill 202, Georgia’s 2021 voter suppression law that could challenge the voting rights of some 364,000 voters! I guess those right-wingers know that their ‘man’, Hershel Walker, only stands a chance to win if they keep enough voters away from the polls.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

This is only a sampling of the latest efforts.  Republicans cannot win in a fair fight, so instead they will fight dirty.  Winning is their only goal … if democracy gets in their way, then they will kill democracy.  There was, however, one bright spot in the voting rights’ news from the unlikeliest of sources, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis …

Yesterday, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Ian made landfall leaving behind massive damage to the state, Governor DeSantis issued an executive order allowing Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties to implement emergency changes. DeSantis’ order:

  • Allows counties to extend early voting and designate additional early voting locations
  • Gives voters in the three counties the ability to request their mail-in ballot by phone and for it to be sent to an address other than the address on their voter registration
  • Provides for drop boxes to be moved and polling locations to be consolidated as necessary
  • Increases the pool of eligible poll workers to address any shortages

The Week’s Best Cartoons 10/8

As I struggled with motivation, or rather a lack thereof, this morning, I thought perhaps this would be a good time to visit TokyoSand over at Political Charge and see if she had done her usual posting of the week’s best political ‘toons.  Sure enough, I was not disappointed!  Naturally, the main topic of the week was Herschel Walker’s utterly ludicrous campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate … I’m so sick of hearing his name that if I never hear it again it will be too soon.  But other topics vied for space as well, such as Hurricane Ian, women fighting for their rights in Iran, Vladimir Putin’s failing war against Ukraine, the Supreme Court and more.  Thank you, T.S., for bringing us the best of the best each week!

Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons!

Education On The Chopping Block

The education of our young people is probably the single most critical issue, after climate change and the environment, that our nation faces today.  In recent decades, we have seen the decline of our public education system.  Schools have stopped or cut back on teaching such things as civics, social sciences, philosophy, and even literature, trading them for a more technical education based on computers and their applications.  That was bad enough, for we now have a generation of adults who in many cases are unaware of the role history has played in leading up to our lives today, do not understand how our government works, and are not deep thinkers.  They are not the problem-solvers of tomorrow that we so desperately need.  Oh sure, they can write a computer program to accomplish almost anything, but they are not well-versed in real-world issues, are not the problem solvers we need today.  Not every problem can be fixed with a computer application!

But today, rather than trying to address these problems, trying to give our youth a more well-rounded, liberal arts education, politicians and religious groups are attempting to diminish our schools even further.  I believe that there is a reason for this, that they do not want the kid from the poor side of town who put himself through college by hard work, to become the nation’s leaders of tomorrow.  However, the reason is less important than the effects, so let’s focus on what is happening in our schools today, the attempts to undermine the value of our children’s education.

About a month ago, I wrote about Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey who, rather than raise teacher’s salaries in order to attract more teachers, removed the requirement for teachers to have a college degree.  The only educational requirement to be a teacher in Arizona is that you be enrolled in college or university.  This week, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing a plan to bypass teacher certification and hire former first responders including former police officers, firefighters and EMTs as well as former members of the military.  Like Ducey in Arizona, DeSantis would rather lower the standards for teachers than use some of his budget surplus to raise teacher pay.  Obviously, the future of our country is not of any great importance to Ron DeSantis.

Meanwhile in South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem released a revised proposal for social studies standards in public schools that lays out a mostly shining vision of American history, one that omits large blocks of facts and focuses more on religion.  Noem claims she is “weeding out certain divisive teachings on race” in public schools.  Weeding out facts.  The new standards would put forth the idea that from its inception, this nation has provided equal rights and access to all races and genders.  The standards also include a significant amount of ‘Christian’ history.  Now, if I’m Jewish or Muslim, paying my taxes and sending my child to public school, I’m going to have a problem with her learning that there is some superiority to Christianity, that this nation is a ‘Christian nation’.  And if I’m Black or Native American, I’m going to have a real big problem with the whitewashing of the history of my ancestors.

And then in Arizona, there is Kari Lake, running for governor against Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs.  Lake claims she would model the educational model in Arizona based on that of Hillsdale College, a private Christian school in Michigan that’s influential in right-wing circles and is run by Larry Arnn who spearheaded Donald Trump’s short-lived 1776 Commission, created to support what Trump called ‘patriotic education.’  Ms. Lake has said she would work to “ban diversity, equity, and inclusion training in schools.”  Oh yeah, that’s just what we need!  Ban diversity, ban equality, encourage even more racism and bigotry than we already have!  Why not just start a KKK school and teach kids how to hate even more than their parents do?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

There are more examples, but you get the picture.  Our education system in recent decades has devolved.  Especially under the four-year leadership of former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, schools have lost much of the emphasis that used to be placed on turning out students who were fully prepared to take on leadership roles, to help shape the future of the nation.  If the current trend continues, I don’t even want to try to envision this nation twenty years from now.