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I was listening to the Texas Board of Education Friday at work via the technological wonder of live streaming.  Like many meetings it was somewhat boring.  But it was music to my ears.  On Friday, May 21, 2010, the children of Texas were liberated from left-wing politically correct history and social studies texts and curriculum. 

Here’s the video from Fox News with my heroine, Regent Law grad Cynthia Dunbar: 

This wonderful event will also bring liberty to kids around the country as Texas texts are sold in other states.  I have briefly blogged on this before. 

The Texas Board of Education has reformed the history and social studies texts and curriculum in awesomely favorable ways.  Virginia should follow suit.  What did they do?  Here are several areas where they enhanced the curriculum:

1.  A balanced approach to the McCarthy era with references to actual Communists found in the US Government like Alger Hiss;

2. A balanced approach to the Judeo-Christian, Biblical origins of American law and the struggle for liberty;

3. A more respectful treatment of the South and the Civil War;

4.  A study of how the UN adversely affects our sovereignty;

5.  More of a pro-free enterprise and free markets curriculum;

6.  Referring to the US as a “constitutional republic” and discussing the decline in the value of the dollar against gold;

7.  Retaining BC and AD rather than the politically correct BCE and CE;

8.  The doctrine of “American Exceptionalism”, that we are a special place and nation in history;

9.  A mention of people like Phyllis Schlafly and the fiscal health of Social Security and Medicare.

The left is of course outraged!  A California state senator has already introduced a bill to ban Texas texts from the Golden State:

In California, a key state Senate Committee passed a bill Tuesday designed to prohibit any textbook approved in Texas to be used in the Golden State.

“While some Texas politicians may want to set their educational standards back 50 years, California should not be subject to their backward curriculum changes,” said Leland Yee, D-San Francisco.  “The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation’s diverse history.  Our kids should be provided an education based on facts and that embraces our multicultural nation.”

Some people fear the truth.  The ACLU has weighed in as well:

“They have politicized the textbook process.  And I think that our schoolchildren deserve better than politicizing it,” Terri Burke, Texas ACLU Executive Director . “We really believe this curriculum should be turned over to experts who know something about history, about education, about the learning levels of schoolchildren. We ought to have people who really know it being the ones who write it and vet it and tell us that this is what kiddos oughta learn.”

There were protests:

While liberals yesterday packed the hearing room, held news conferences, and shouted ‘don’t indoctrinate, just educate’ and ‘get your hands off our textbooks, leave it to the experts’, sources here say 10 years ago, when Democrats enjoyed an identical majority, they too manipulated the curriculum to fit their agenda.

The debate began when a review group of teachers recommended replacing Christmas with a Hindu holiday and removing partially or entirely Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, religious references, and Christopher Columbus.

Of course the political correctness and left wing indoctrination is typical of many public school districts.  One board member proposed these five items:

Board Member Don McLeroy will address the below ideas at the meeting:

1. Contrast what the Founding Fathers meant by separation of church and state vs. how it is practiced by government today

2. Analyze the cause and effect of eugenics:  Early in the 20th Century, 60,000 poor and mostly minority Americans were  sterilized against their will because they were considered genetically inferior…

3. Evaluate efforts by the United Nations to undermine U.S. sovereignty including a gun ban and the redistribution of American wealth

4. Discuss the fiscal health of Social Security and Medicare

5. Discuss government abuse of property rights and the taking of land w/o compensation – and the adverse impact of affirmative action on when more qualified workers are passed over by minority applicants.


Another idea proposed is “American exceptionalism”:

Clashes among members of the Texas Board of Education over the content of students’ textbooks have come, in part, to focus on a once obscure intellectual concept — “American exceptionalism” — that has now seen the president of the United States weigh in.

This is a bete noire of the left.  Criticism of American exceptionalism is severe:

Acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates, who teaches at Princeton University, has derided the notion that there is a distinctly American idea, one that is distinguishable from the core concepts that have animated Europeans, Scandinavians, and other cultures.

“[T]ravel to any foreign country,” Oates wrote in the Atlantic Monthly in November 2007, “and the consensus is: The American idea has become a cruel joke, a blustery and bellicose bodybuilder luridly bulked up on steroids…deranged and myopic, dangerous.”

Oates continued: “American exceptionalism makes our imperialism altruistic, our plundering of the world’s resources a healthy exercise of capitalism and ‘free trade.’

“From childhood, we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that America is superior to other nations; that our way of life, a mass-market ‘democracy’ manipulated by lobbyists, is superior to all other forms of government; that no matter how frivolous and debased, our American culture is the supreme culture, as our language is the supreme language; that our most blatantly imperialistic and cynical political goals are always idealistic, while the goals of other nations are transparently opportunistic.”

This kind of attitude among educators is why our kids get political correct pablum rather than real history.  Our nation has made mistakes but the experiment in constitutional liberty is indeed uniquely good.  President Reagan echoed the Pilgrims when he called us a “shining city on a hill”; millions of immigrants from many lands came to America (and still do – even illegally!) to seek a better life for them and their children.  The peoples of Europe and Asia liberated in the Second World War and the Cold War might think we are special.  Israel was recognized in 1948 because it was the right thing to do; not because it was politically expedient.  The humanitarian efforts of Herbert Hoover after WWI and the Marshall Plan echo a generous people.  The millions given to Haiti relief speak silently of the goodness of the American people. 

Yes we took land in the West.  But that was in our national interest to have a nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  But I would like for Professor Oakes to identify the issues and facts that make us feared and hated around the world.  We have had too many interventions, I agree.  But our history is a magnificent arc of increasing liberty and promise.  One Nation Under God.  Reagan was right: We are a shining city of a hill.  Finally, the truth is told.  No wonder the left and their apologists are furious.  I salute the Texas Board of Education.  Praise God!  Ring the bell of Liberty!  May other states and Virginia do the same thing.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Venu says:

    8. The doctrine of “American Exceptionalism”, that we are a special place and nation in history;

    Worst. Idea. Ever.

  2. Venu:

    Thanks for coming and reading our blog! Feel free to come again!

    I must respectfully disagree. The United States is not like any other nation on earth. Yes others like the Swiss fought for liberty and there is that God-given desire in a man/woman to be free and it can appear in any nation but the experiment in liberty under God is a historical fact that can and SHOULD be taught to kids in school.

    I DO NOT believe that America is perfect or above the rules. But the Declaration and Constitution and the Judeo-Christian ethical basis for law also sowed the seeds to fight slavery, desegregate lunch counters and call us to a greater good.

    Thanks again for coming and reading.


  3. Tom White says:

    I think there is no doubt that in the history of man, the United States is (was) the greatest country on the face of the earth. The doctrine being taught in American schools now is closer European thinking than unbiased thinking. To Europeans, teaching that your nation is above the rest = Nationalism = Hitler.

    However, this kind of wrong thinking is exactly what Obama (and most of out indoctrinated youth) believe to be true. All nations are equally great! Equally wonderful and should be equal in all ways, otherwise the universe is not fair.

    It started with eliminating dodge-ball as unfair. The more athletic kids pounded those of lesser physical prowess. On the surface, this would seem a good idea – banning something because not all excel at it. But in my day, the wimpy kids did not become humiliated, they became stronger. Parents didn’t run crying to the school because their kid was not as athletic, they simply encouraged them to work harder. I know. I was one of the smaller kids, mostly because I skipped a grade. Adversity made me stronger.

    In this age, even the losers get awards, and this has led young people like Venu to think this a perfectly acceptable way of life and something all nations should embrace.

    When things work out so that the weak are encouraged to rise up and make themselves equal with the strong, their lot in life is far better than the way we do things now. We weaken the strong to the lowest common denominator.

    That is a shame.

  4. Venu says:

    The point is American exceptionalism has no point in a history class room. History in a objective analysis of the patterns of interaction between and in societies and nations. What relevance does artificially elevating the United States have in an analytic sense of History (which is what History class is about)? For the record, America as a nation is very, very flawed. What’s exception is America as an idea because of the values that the idea of America places emphasis on, and America is somewhat great for building a country designed to try and follow that idea (though it is not perfect in that regard).

    But the point is that we need to look at ourselves for flaws. We need to look at the imperfect to see what gets us closer to perfect. We need to look at what went wrong to see why other things went right. We can’t brush things aside.

  5. Venu says:

    Oh and to Tom,

    No, I think History is something that is purely analytic and that American exceptionalim is a purely arbitrary analysis that has no place in the class room. A legitimate philosophical doctrine that can be argued (and I feel that America is not exceptional as a nation but as an idea for the values that idea emphasizes) but has no relevance in any analytical setting (and History is after all, objectively looking at History).

  6. Tom White says:

    Venu. In an ideal world we would be able to simply record actual events and leave the interpretation to the reader. Unfortunately, such a history book never has and never will exist. Objectivity has never been allowed, and never will.

    While I do not know what you learned in Virginia History, most of what I learned – back in 1966 – 1967 was about the heroic Southern Generals and how they did so much with so little. The North had all the factories, so the deck was stacked against the South, yet we held on for 4 years.

    Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis, Swampfox, Stonewall and other really cool sounding characters captured our imaginations. The Yankees, of course, were all murderous thugs bent on burning everything.

    My son is about your age and he learned a totally different, yet equally distorted version. He was taught the Civil War was fought entirely over slavery and the oppressive and evil Southerners beat their slaves and mistreated them every day. He learned how horrible his ancestors were and that even the battle-flag is an abomination.

    So, which truth do you prefer? How would you objectively tell the Civil War story in today’s politically correct climate?

    The answer is, you cannot. You would be branded a racist for telling the truth. As a young child, I met a former slave. He was born a slave in King and Queen county, where he lived in the late 1950’s. He was near 100, but still mentally fine, at least as near as I could tell. I was pretty young, perhaps 5 or 6, but I have vivid memories of him.

    His son used a mule to plow a garden and flower rows on each side of the driveway on my Great-Grandmother’s river home on the York River. My Dad and I would have to go let him know when Granny was ready for him to plow. He lived next to an old store – Roan’s Store – and I would always get a Brownie drink, and we would usually stay a while and talk to the old man.

    He lived on a nearby plantation with his parents as a boy, and he was a slave by birth. He did not remember, but at some point they became free. But they stayed on the plantation, did the same work for no pay until the owner died and they had to sell the plantation. But the owner left him a small piece of land that contained the slave quarters. He still lived there, but the house was rebuilt years earlier. It was still just a shack.

    This old man loved his former master, as did his family. They did not want to leave.

    Could a story like this be told in the history books of today? Hell NO! Such a book would be banned for portraying slavery as “not that evil”.

    My Mom grew up with a “maid” who was never paid, but given room and board in exchange for cooking, cleaning, watching the kids. When my Great Grandmother sold that farm – in Atlee-Elmont – they moved to Richmond. Mae did not want to leave the country, so my Granny found her another family to take her in. In my book, she was a slave, and this was in the 1930’s. But my Grandmother and Mom remembered her as a part of the family, not a servant.

    But history is no longer allowed to be truthful. So any stories not supporting the premise that slavery is pure evil and there was nothing good about it will not be printed. Many slaves were well treated and refused to leave when they were freed.

    Now, slavery is still wrong, no matter how well they were treated, but you will only be taught the bad side, because to treat the issue without bias would be to glorify slavery and give young minds that it was not always so bad, and many preferred to stay after they were free.

    So, teaching that America IS an exceptional nation may be spin, but I feel it is just as valid as lies of omission about slavery. Overall, slavery is a bad thing. But overall, America IS an exceptional nation. It is a shame you were not taught that. I applaud a return to teaching that America is special. There was never any question in my education that I was living in the best country in the history of the world. I am. Teaching otherwise will become a self fulfilling reality. It seems that is already has with your generation.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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