What Voucher Schools Teach: Slaves Were Treated Well, the KKK Was a Source of Moral Authority, and Africans Still Need Religion
Republicans, and even some African-Americans, tout the potential effectiveness of school voucher programs. What they don’t tell you, however, is that many of those programs substitute in the school’s curriculum fact with right wing propaganda.
For example, Mother Jones listed a few of the most egregious historical rewrites from Louisiana’s voucher curriculum:
Africa needs religion: “Africa is a continent with many needs. It is still in need of the gospel…Only about ten percent of Africans can read and write. In some areas the mission schools have been shut down by Communists who have taken over the government.”—Old World History and Geography in Christian Perspective, 3rd ed., A Beka Book, 2004
Slave masters were nice guys: ”A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 2nd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991
“[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2001
So if you want your kids to totally forget what their ancestors went through, just enroll them in Louisiana’s voucher program, or any other privatized school system for that matter.
The attempt to rewrite history is nothing new though. Glenn Beck and other white conservatives have consistently tried to convince black and white Americans that slaves stood by their slaveowners at all costs, even fighting and dying beside them during the Revolution. It’s a nefarious attempt to blur the line between master and slave. What’s more, it’s not true. Watch this bit from PBS’ History Detectives to get a sense of what I’m getting at:
Watch Wearing the Confederate Uniform: Slave or Soldier? on PBS. See more from History Detectives.
The larger point is that privatization of schools is the quickest way to rewrite history and create drones instead of people who know where they’ve come from, and what they’ve been through. And a people who don’t know what they’ve come up out of certainly can’t tell you where they’re going.
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