Friday, March 05, 2021

College Scholarships as Reparations: Virginia Gets Woke

If it were possible for each of us to trace our ancestry by millennia, it’s a fair bet that everyone in the world would be able to find slaves somewhere. But should such genealogical discoveries be a basis for a college scholarship? Costly, unconstitutional and wacky as the idea seems, many lawmakers in Virginia think it is. And it soon may become law.

On February 5, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 61-39 to approve a bill (HB 1980) that would require the state’s five colleges and universities established before 1865 – the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Military Institute, Longwood University, and the College of William & Mary – to offer four-year full scholarships and other grants to applicants who can prove descent from slaves who had worked as builders, maintenance workers or groundskeepers at these institutions. The bill’s sponsor, Delegate David A. Reid (D-Loudoun County), who is white and a career Navy man to boot, calls passage “a small but important step to acknowledge and address that the foundational success of five universities was based on enslaved labor.”

The bill, in other words, mandates reparations. And when it comes to reparations, “small” steps have a way of becoming big ones. That all the slave owners and slaves in Virginia are long deceased makes no difference to zealots like Reid. Neither does the possibility that not all the slaves were black (a great many slaves in the New World in fact were white). The only qualification to receive a scholarship is an ability to show descent from slaves.

The vetting process, needless to say, would be time-consuming. That’s why the bill requires that affected colleges and universities work with the Virginia State Council for Higher Education in constructing family trees of the laborers. In the case of the University of Virginia, for example, an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 living persons would qualify for scholarships.

If the bill passes the Virginia Senate and is signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam, who is a reparations advocate, the program would take effect in the 2022-23 academic year. Affected institutions would not be allowed to cover program costs via state subsidies or tuition hikes; they would have to tap into endowments or private funds. In addition, these institutions must build a memorial to enslaved laborers on former and current “institutionally controlled grounds and property.”

A few schools have gotten a head start in the latter endeavor. The College of William & Mary, in obsequious fashion, is creating a $2 million memorial to slave laborers, set for completion by the end of 2022. Brian Coy, a University of Virginia spokesman, notes his school has “already undertaken a number of initiatives to reckon with our own history of slavery and segregation, as well as the continuing societal impacts of those institutions.”

Supporters rationalize this shakedown by claiming that Virginia’s colleges and universities, if not the state itself, owe their existence to slavery. “Virginia wouldn’t exist without the labor of enslaved people,” remarks Delegate Reid. “All of our higher ed institutions have benefited from this history.” This is nonsense. Excellence in higher education, whether in Virginia or elsewhere, is the result of a sustained commitment to teaching, research and community service. It has nothing to do with slavery, past or present.

Meanwhile, a descendant of University of Virginia slave laborers, Myra Anderson, offered this slice of moral browbeating. “This university flourished based on their [her relatives’] blood, sweat, tears and labor, so I see that offering scholarships is a way to create an educational atonement because there’s nothing that can be done to compensate for slavery.” For the record, a sixth great-uncle of Ms. Anderson, Thrimston Hern, was sold by the estate of Thomas Jefferson in 1827. That apparently qualifies her for a full-ride college scholarship.

As Democrats currently control the Virginia Senate by a 21-18 margin, this legislation may become law. Whatever the outcome, it should be understood in the context of the campaign for monetary reparations payable by whites to blacks. Corporations, state governments, churches and other institutions increasingly are hopping aboard this bandwagon. My monograph published last year by National Legal and Policy Center, Slavery Reparations: Revival of a Bad Idea, dissects the misleading nature of this campaign.

Congress, led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex., this January reintroduced a reparations bill (H.R. 40), the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Africans Act. This measure has been kicking around continuously since 1989, but it may succeed this time. At this writing, it has nearly 175 House co-sponsors. President Biden announced his support for a commission a year ago while on the campaign trail. Supporters speak of the “debt” being in the trillions of dollars. That would cover many scholarships, among other taxpayer-funded giveaways.


Megyn Kelly says she took her children out of 'hard-left' private school because her son, 8, was subjected to a 'three week trans-education experiment' and her kindergartner had to write essay on problems with the Cleveland Indians' mascot

Megyn Kelly has told how she removed her three children from their private Manhattan schools after the teaching took a 'hard left' turn.

Kelly and her husband, novelist Doug Brunt, are parents to Edward Yates, 11; a nine-year-old daughter, Yardley; and son Thatcher, seven.

In November Kelly revealed she was taking her children out of school and leaving New York City.

Her sons attended the $55,900-a-year Collegiate School on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Her daughter is believed to have attended the $57,385-a-year Spence School on the Upper East Side.

On Friday night she explained that decision to Bill Maher on his HBO show, Real Time.

'We loved our schools,' she said, explaining that the boys went to all-boys schools, and her daughter an all-girls school. 'Loved our teachers, loved the students and faculty and parents. 'They were definitely leftist - we are more center right - but that was fine; my whole family are Democrats.

'But then they went hard left, and then they started to take a really hard turn toward social justice stuff.'

She said her sons' school in particular troubled her. When he was in third grade, she said, they 'unleashed a three-week experimental trans-education program.'

Kelly said it was difficult for her son to understand, and not helpful. Her son was in a class where the children were eight and nine at the time.

'It wasn't about support — we felt that it was more like they were trying to convince them,' she said. 'Like, come on over.'

She also said her kindergartner, Thatcher, 'was told to write a letter to the Cleveland Indians objecting to their mascot.'

Kelly said: 'He's six. Can he learn how to spell Cleveland before we activate him?' She added: 'If he's going to be activated, Doug and I should do it.'

Kelly said it was a question of 'reason and unreason'.

Collegiate School is ranked as one of the best private schools in the country and also claims to be the oldest.

It counts JFK Jr., his nephew Jack Schlossberg, and Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff among its alumni.

Roman Abramovich and CNBC broadcaster Andrew Ross Sorkin are among those who sent their children there.

Maher read from a letter which was circulated among a diversity group at the school that said things like 'there's a killer cop sitting at every school where white children learn.'

The letter, written by the executive director of Orleans Public Education Network, Nahliah Webber, also claimed 'white kids are being indoctrinated in black death'.

Maher continued reading: 'I'm tired of white people reveling in their state-sanctioned depravity and snuffing out black life with no consequences.' He added: 'There [are] racist problems problems in this country, but this is hyperbole. And this is making people crazy. This is not the way we get to the Promised Land.'

Kelly agreed, saying: 'It's divisive, it's racist, and it's had exactly the opposite effect of the one they intend.'

Kelly cited the rhetoric was 'divisive and counterproductive', and it was not just her children's schools but all the schools in the city.

It was unclear where her three children were now enrolled.

Kelly has since September been hosting her own podcast.

The former Fox News anchor spent a year at NBC with a daytime chat program, Megyn Kelly Today - leaving in October 2018 following a controversy over her remarks about blackface at a Halloween party.

'When I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as like a character,' she said at the time, in comments that precluded her departure.


UK Universities minister compares ‘decolonisation’ of history to ‘Soviet Union-style’ censorship

The universities minister has claimed courses are facing “decolonisation” by tutors who she complained were “censoring history” like the Soviet Union.

Michelle Donelan suggested books were being removed from reading lists in an effort to prevent students being forced to confront “hate speech”.

The Tory MP for Chippenham insisted that "a lot of the talk" surrounding the issue was about removing elements of history rather than adding alternative viewpoints.

However, the minister’s comments were criticised by historians who suggested she had misunderstood attempts to place subjects such as the British Empire in the context of questions of race and slavery.

Speaking to a Daily Telegraph podcast, Ms Donelan said: “As a history student, I’m a vehement protector and champion of safeguarding our history.

"It otherwise becomes fiction, if you start editing it, taking bits out that we view as stains.

"A fundamental part of our history is about learning from it, not repeating the mistakes, being able to analyse and challenge why those events happened, how those decisions were made so that we don't repeat those actions in the future."

Ms Donelan said: "If we're going down this road of taking bits out, are we then going to end up putting bits in that we wish had happened?

"It's a very dangerous and odd road to go down, and certainly it has no place in our universities, I would argue, and it has no place in academic study.

"And it just doesn't work when governments try to remove elements of history. Look at the Soviet Union, look at China. There are multiple examples where it's been tried. It doesn't work."

Ms Donelan said she was in favour of adding in sources from "less well known sources and often overlooked individuals in history" but claimed that "most of the narrative that is coming out... is about removing elements of history, about whitewashing it and pretending that it never happened, which I just think is naive and almost irresponsible".

But the minister’s comments were met with exasperation among academics.

Charlotte Lydia Riley, a lecturer in 20th century British history at the University of Southamptonm tweeted: “This historian says Michelle Donelan is talking out of her arse... she doesn’t understand decolonising the curriculum, she doesn’t understand the purpose of history and she seems a bit hazy on the Soviet Union.”

Laura O’Brien, a historian of 19th and 20 century France, said there was “absolutely no evidence” key texts were being removed from reading lists as the minister claimed.

She added Ms Donelan “completely misunderstands and misrepresents” deconolonisation, writing: “Efforts to decolonise curricula do not seek to ‘leave out the bits we see as stains’. Hardly! If anything, they draw greater attention to questions of race, empire, slavery, colonisation, and to diversify - not censor! - the voices included in reading lists.”

Ms Donelan’s intervention comes after schools minister Nick Gibb rejected compulsory lessons about the British Empire and the slave trade and said they would risk lowering “standards”.

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has also claimed that some campaigners wanted UK history to be taught “in a way that [suggests] good people [are] black people” and “bad people [are] white people”.


Protecting American Children from Today’s Educational Activists

A friend of mine told me a story that left me with a cold shudder. He is an old-fashioned left-leaning "liberal" and a strong advocate of public education. All his children attend public schools. In fact, he is vehemently opposed to the idea of promoting private schools on the premise that its implementation will result in a more stratified society because, he believes, poor whites and blacks will be disproportionately disqualified from attending such institutions.

In good faith, he has always entrusted his children’s education to what I had typically referred to as Government Schools. He was confident that his children would receive a robust education from K-12 grade.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, he was forced to monitor the classroom activities of his children. Unemployment had left him more time to inconspicuously sit-in -- especially on the classes of his 6th grader son.

He was shocked, one afternoon, to come upon an assignment being conducted during an English class in which all the white students in the zoom online course were required to place their arms beside a brown paper bag. How his 6th grader had acquired a crisp brown paper bag was a mystery to him. The teacher asked them if they noticed a difference in color between their skin and the brown paper bag. All of the white students nodded, and some verbally assented. The teacher asked them if the color of the bag looked close to the color of some of the students identified as black in the class. His son peered at the zoom screen and raised the icon button identifying his acknowledgement. The teacher then announced with full moral rectitude and intransigence the following:

If your skin color is different from the color of the paper bag, then you are part of a problem in America known as systemic racism that does irreparable harm to all black and brown people in America. Further, if your skin color is different from the brown paper bag and you are identified as white you enjoy something called white privilege which means you are practicing racism every day without knowing it.

Each such student that had a different color than the brown paper bag bore a collective guilt. The teacher then went on to ask the class if they had ever heard the term, “Reparations.”

Out of some sense of visceral, atavistic paternal protection, my friend slammed down his son’s computer and told him to go to his room for a while. He said he stood with his fingers pressed into the metal cover of the computer, shaking with incredulity.

I explained to him that guilt implied wrong-doing, and that because his son at age twelve had committed no egregious harm against any black person that he would eventually grow to feel a burgeoning sense of resentment. Over time, as his mind grew more focused and the charges against him repeated had been codified into a cultural norm, he would feel that he was the real cause of all harms directed at black people. I said that something evil and sinister was going to take root in his son’s psyche.

My friend grew alarmed. But I pressed on. His son, I told him, would grow to feel resentment towards black people. It would be mild at first; a contemptuous discharge fueled by a growing sense of his superiority and empowerment that he, by the power of his whiteness, could cause so much harm and that he, by that same magical power of whiteness, could alleviate the misery and suffering of blacks. I told him it would not end well, His son’s curriculum would include a phalanx of black and white progressive nihilists who would call for the annihilation of “whiteness” which, his mind would come to understand as: the annihilation of all white people from the earth including himself. His son, I told him, runs the risk not just of becoming a racist, but of a white supremacist. Becoming a white supremacist, he will come to believe, will be his only default position from which to protect his life from the early stages of assault being waged against it -- starting with the seemingly benign comparison between his skin color and that of a brown paper bag. And all this from white liberals masquerading as anti-racists.

Be careful how you proceed with his education, I warned him. It is not too late for you to assume responsibility and assert control of his mind by extracting him from one of our many national security threats destroying our American civilization: our Government schools on the tertiary level, and our nation’s universities. The decision is yours.

Doubtless, readers have been keeping up with reports of how our public schools have become inundated with what is becoming known as “Culturally Responsive Teaching.” Teachers are required to implement “action civics” in the classroom, leading students in activism on behalf of various causes.

A school district in San Diego conducted a “white privilege training” for its white teachers who were told they were racist for being white, and for upholding racist ideas and policies. They were made to feel ashamed for teaching on stolen Native American land.

Seattle Public Schools also held racially charged teacher-training sessions that accused them, unequivocally, of murdering the souls of black children everyday through systemic institutionalized, anti-black, state-sanctioned violence. They, too, were told they were natural racists because of their mere possession of white skin, and that they had to self-consciously reject their “whiteness.” Any objection to their indictment of being racists, they were told, no matter how well-argued or factually grounded, would be dismissed as a reflex of their whiteness, as “lizard brain,” which was proof of their white fragility.

These stories come on the heels of decolonized courses in which Shakespeare, Homer, Chaucer and other classics are expurgated from curricula in high schools and colleges in the United States (I cannot keep up). The idea first started by Rutgers that grammar is racist, has been extrapolated on to the disciplines of science and math -- they, as well, are racists disciplines, we’re being told.

It is obvious that today’s cultural activists are guilty of massive child abuse in our classrooms. They have criminalized independent thinking, logic, reason, and so, have ended up conceptually breaking the minds of our children. They have usurped the purpose of educational from one of learning to one of, ultimately, Marxist indoctrination and the destruction of the values that undergird American civilization. They are using children as political pawns, weapons of mass destruction, and objectified instruments in their war against the United Sates of America.

They have declared war on this country’s children and their precious minds -- openly, vulgarly, and with full forethought of malice.




Monday, March 01, 2021

Boston Schools Will Suspend New Advanced Learning Classes -- Because They Have Too Many Whites and Asians

They just will not admit that most blacks cannot do demanding mental work

A program at Boston Public Schools (BPS) for high-performing 4th, 5th, and 6th graders will be suspended for a year while administrators figure out how to reduce the number of whites and Asians in the selective program.

Boston schools are nearly 80 percent black and Hispanic while the program, known as Advanced Work Classes, has 70 percent white and Asian enrollment. Obviously, the reason for that is plain-as-day racism… or something.

Boston PBS station GBH:

Superintendent Brenda Cassellius recommended the one-year hiatus for the program, known as Advanced Work Classes, saying the district would not proceed with the program for new students next year.

“There’s been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address,” Cassellius told GBH News. “There’s a lot of work we have to do in the district to be antiracist and have policies where all of our students have a fair shot at an equitable and excellent education.”

New students will be admitted in the fourth grade by standards to be determined at the school level, according to a BPS spokesman.

There will be no new students admitted in the fifth or sixth grades, the spokesman said, but those already in advanced work will be allowed to continue.

Maybe there’s racism in the way the kids were chosen for the advanced learning classes?

The program was open to all students in the Boston Public Schools who took a test known as Terra Nova in the third grade and received a high score. Those students were placed in a lottery conducted by the central administration office, and lottery winners received letters inviting them to apply to the program. Last fall, 453 students received invitations, 143 students applied and 116 enrolled this year, officials said.

If they look hard enough, I’m sure they’ll find racism in the lottery.

The fallback position when playing the numbers game is always racism. There can be no other rational explanation. And if there is, it’s because the person pointing out the rational explanation is racist.

A rational person might look at the 453 students receiving invitations and ask why more blacks and Hispanics didn’t even apply. Not all of those 453 students could have been white and Asian. Why did black and Hispanic kids not want to take the advanced classes?

As far as the method of choosing candidates, the idea that the Terra Nova test is racist is so 20th century. Testing companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to hire experts and develop questions to remove all possible biases from these standardized tests.

Once again, we’re faced with the uncomfortable truth that maybe — just maybe — it is differences in the culture that account for the discrepancy in numbers. It shouldn’t and doesn’t suggest inferiority. It suggests that other forces are at work in some communities of color that make appearing to be intelligent something to avoid — even a stigma — and high achievement is frowned upon by peers.

Perhaps you could blame those attitudes on the impact of racial inequities over the centuries and how it affects children. But to make the argument that there is something inherently racist in encouraging excellence is wrong for any reason. That’s the message Boston schools are sending to children and parents of all colors.


Why Universities Should Not Be Anti-Racist

During the last year, many universities throughout North America have declared “anti-racism” to be their official policy. Consider this sample of quotations.

“We must ask how Princeton can address systemic racism in the world, and we must also ask how to address it within our own community.” —Christopher L. Eisgruber, president, Princeton University.

“The University [of Toronto] is strongly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and to confronting and eradicating anti-Black racism. Anti-Black racism impacts everyone, and it is our collective responsibility to foster and promote Black inclusion.” —Cheryl Regehr and Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice presidents, University of Toronto.

“The University of Ottawa reaffirms its commitment to combatting Racism.” —Jacques Frémont, president, University of Ottawa.

I stand against a strong tide, then, when I say that universities should not involve themselves in any anti-racism initiatives at all. It is not the business of a university to combat racism or to call it out or to promote racial justice or harmony.

In fact, enlisting itself in anti-racist struggles cannot but turn a university away from its academic mission.

But surely, one might counter, racism both outside and within the university has hindered the advance of research and prevented students and scholars from reaching their potential. It is the business of a university to promote research and learning and to create conditions under which scholars and students can engage in their academic pursuits pleasantly and productively. Racism, then, affects the university at the heart of its mission. That is why anti-racism is indeed the university’s business.

To respond to that objection, let me remind us that the point of the university as an institution is to protect and promote academic endeavors. The university should use its resources to support the academic mission of investigating, interpreting, and evaluating the things of the world.

These resources should be distributed fairly and on academic criteria alone. Since race is not an academic criterion, it should not be used in deciding resource allocation.

My key thought in rejecting anti-racist initiatives is that to distribute resources on any grounds other than academic need or merit is for the institution itself to rank a non-academic value or end above its academic mission. If any institution wishes to hobble itself, no better way exists than for it to prefer extraneous ends to its own proper ones.

To distribute resources fairly according to academic criteria is to be entirely blind to race. Hiring, promotion, student housing, research grants, academic programs, curricula—no university decision in any of these areas should involve the thought that here we can do our part to help as good anti-racists.

Another objection to removing the struggle against racism from consideration is that professors tend to teach and research in the narrow range of what has historically interested Europeans. Because of the lacunae in curricula and research these biases introduce, a university would promote its mission by encouraging its faculty to study black and other minority people and topics in a liberationist spirit—or so we are invited to conclude.

Certainly, a curriculum heavy on the thought of canonical Western authors can be criticized for narrowness. Narrowness, though, is an academic fault, given that scholars, as scholars, want to develop comprehensive understandings of the world.

Opening research and teaching to neglected areas is an academic imperative. It should not, however, be done in order to make minority students and professors feel welcome. Nor should it be done because it’s thought to correct past social wrongs or to create a more just future.

If Eurocentrism is a problem in universities, it’s an academic problem, not a social one. As an academic problem, the solution lies in a renewed commitment to academic values themselves.

The point of the research and teaching must be to study and understand the phenomenon, not to stimulate or direct activism.
Nonetheless, shouldn’t the institution try to make black and minority students and professors feel welcome and valued? Wouldn’t an official stand against racism and for quick action to deal with racist utterance or behavior be excellent ways to show minority scholars that they’re valued? That students perceive themselves as unwanted because of their race will certainly affect the quality of their work or sour them on the university. So here, at least, we’re told, anti-racist initiatives directly promote the academic mission.

While being black might be important to a black person’s identity and sense of who he is, a black person who is a professor or student is also an academic. Part of his identity is tied up with being an academic. That is the only part of his identity a university is competent to nurture and honor.

A university nurtures and honors our identity as academics, whatever race we are, by enabling us to pursue our academic ends within an academic community. Black students, that is to say, should feel welcomed simply as students—as junior or apprentice members of a community of scholars and intellectuals.

Race-conscious policies meant to promote respect and goodwill within a university community threaten grave harm to the academic ethos of a university and to its academic mission. They do so by restricting discussion and the free and open expression and exchange of ideas. Students and even, sometimes, professors need to be socialized into the ways and values of scholars and intellectuals so that they value the discussion of disturbing matters over whatever disturbance they might feel.

One thing scholars and intellectuals do not do is complain of being offended by what someone has said or the way he has said it.

That is because they conceive of themselves as intellectually and morally autonomous agents able to consider and evaluate even views that pain them to hear. Respectful campus policies, though, must come with enforcement mechanisms that will encourage taking offense and complaining. They function to prevent people from acquiring intellectual or moral autonomy.

Respectful-campus policies do not make minority students and others feel valued as equal members of a university community since such policies exempt them from academic ways. Instead of helping the student to become an intellectual, the university mollifies or coddles him, thereby confirming him his dependence on authority and short-circuiting his mental development.

Nothing I have written speaks against making race, racism, or anti-racism a topic of research, teaching, or discussion at a university. If a professor wants to inquire into these topics, he should be free to do so. If a department judges that holding a course on them is in the students’ interests as budding intellectuals, then it should create and staff such a course. The course might focus on the most effective ways of countering racism.

The point of the research and teaching must be to study and understand the phenomenon, not to stimulate or direct activism (though professors and students are welcome to use what they discover or learn in their work as activists).

I could end by making the point that a commitment to applying academic criteria and only academic criteria to academic matters is, ultimately, the best anti-racism policy a university could adopt. Any university serious about promoting anti-racism would do well to hold itself to academic criteria and not seek to secure social justice through direct action.

I believe that that point is true, but I’m going to forgo making it. To say that universities should stick to their academic mission in order to serve anti-racism, or even to serve justice, is to prize a university’s policies and procedures for a reason other than their contribution to academic life. That would be to set a goal or a value above the academic mission and academic values, a goal to which the latter must answer.

For my part, I would hold universities to university values even if serving those values did little to further racial justice or harmony. Fīat investigationem ruat cælum.


How the College Board Mangles the Teaching of History

The College Board is a not-for-profit company that has a great deal of influence over American education. Its Scholastic Aptitude Test (the SAT) is the most widely used test for assessing the college readiness of students, and its many Advanced Placement exams allow students to show that they have learned subjects well enough not to have to take introductory college courses.

Predictably, the Board has succumbed to the general trend toward “political correctness,” or to use the word currently in fashion, “wokeness.” That is to say, the Board has revised its materials to fit in with leftist beliefs.

That is particularly true with regard to its three history exams: AP European History, AP U.S. History, and AP World History.

Those exams have been revised recently and in a new report on them entitled “Disfigured History: How the College Board Demolishes the Past,” David Randall puts them under a microscope. Randall, the director of research for the National Association of Scholars, concludes that each of the exams is deeply flawed in that their teaching of history is “grossly politicized to the left.”

Why does that matter? Because, Randall explains, most high school history teachers will teach to the AP tests, hoping to maximize the chances that their students will score well on them. For that reason, material that isn’t on the tests won’t be taught, and the material that is covered will be taught just as presented. So even if a teacher disagreed with the purported facts presented in the Board’s materials or thought that important people or events had been omitted, he probably would not change or add anything, even if his students would gain better historical comprehension.

Therefore, the College Board has a powerful impact. It molds the way history is taught and the way students understand history as they enter college. That would be good if history were taught well, but Randall shows that it isn’t.

The AP exams include numerous trivial facts that support leftist ideas about the supposed need for government to rectify social ills, while they leave out much that is crucial to understand how and why history unfolded as it did.

In particular, Randall notes, the exams “can scarcely bear to mention liberty.” That differences in the degree to which people were free of government control matters in respect to prosperity, progress, and science is not an idea that students would draw from the AP materials.

What students get instead are repeated doses of Marxist-based analysis about group power relations.

The European History exam is very weak on the intellectual history of liberalism (in the original sense of the word) that sparked the economic growth in the Dutch Republic, England, and France, and which is key to understanding the roots of the American Revolution against monarchial control. Nor do students get any sense of the role Europeans played in scientific breakthroughs that made life better for everyone. As Randall observes, the Board was at pains to avoid the appearance of that leftist hobgoblin, “Eurocentrism.”

The way the Board shades the material is also evident in the way it covers fascism and communism. Students learn that fascism was a bad development that “rejected democracy.” But the key point, Randall writes, ought to have been that fascism rejected liberty.

Moreover, the Board repeatedly finds euphemisms for the horrific violence that communist regimes inflicted on people. It uses the phrase “liquidation of the kulaks,” which won’t make much impact on most students, rather than explaining that Stalin’s government chose to starve millions to death and arrest others and send them to slave labor camps just because they owned farmland the government wanted for collective agriculture.

One more thing—the name Christopher Columbus never appears. Important as his discoveries were, the Board treats him as an unperson to appease leftist sensibilities.

The AP U.S. History exam suffers from the same flaws as the European history exam does. It avoids the important roles of liberty and religious faith but presents lots of tendentious Marxist economic and social theorizing. The importance of liberty and religion are omitted in the coverage of such crucial events as the Constitutional Convention, abolitionism, the women’s rights movement, and the civil rights movement.

Randall notes that with regard to the Constitutional Convention, students learn that the Founders insisted on a division of power within the government, but not why. The fact that the Founders feared that government power would become a threat to the liberty and property of American citizens unless it was kept limited by the Constitution never appears. Nor do students ever hear about liberty-based opposition to American expansionism, Prohibition, the New Deal, or other instances of growing governmental power.

The way the Board treats slavery is revealing. Here I’ll quote Randall at some length:

Particularly telling is APUSH’s odd description of the Gettysburg Address as articulating “the struggle against slavery as the fulfillment of America’s founding democratic ideals” – which peculiarly truncates a document whose most notable phrases include “a new nation, conceived in liberty” and “a new birth of freedom.” APUSH gives the distinct impression that the problem with slavery was that it rendered men unequal, not that it rendered men unfree.

But bad as are the European History and U.S. History exams, the World History one is worse.

The great flaw in that exam is its fevered efforts at “balance,” which is to say, avoiding any hint that Europeans, with their distinctive attachment to freedom, have had an outsized impact on the whole of the world.

At the same time, the Board’s treatment of world history downplays violence and policy blunders by non-European governments. It speaks of “Mongol expansion” rather than describing the brutality of Mongol conquests. And you’d be hard-pressed to find another euphemism to exceed the way the Board treats the mass starvation that followed Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”—“negative repercussions for the population.”

Annoyingly, throughout the World History materials, students read that non-European civilizations “demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity.” That phrase recurs numerous times. It exemplifies the way the exam is, Randall writes, “stuffed with pablum as a sop to radical world history teachers.”

The College Board has been under fire for years for the way it has been slanting its history exams. (Given the heavy politicization of its history exams, other AP exams almost certainly are also biased in favor of leftist beliefs; a detailed study of, say Environmental Science seems very much in order.) It has made corrections of egregious mistakes but does nothing about the general bias in them. For that reason, Randall is not optimistic about improvements.

“The Course and Exam Descriptions need to be redone from the ground up,” Randall concludes. “The work must be done by a new set of historians who are not subject to the biases that have made the current Course and Exam Descriptions so lamentably poor.”

I believe he’s right. The College Board has a near-monopoly on standardized academic assessments. It would be a good development if a competitor entered the scene.


Australian State School stops names on senior shirts to protect privacy and boost inclusion

Students and parents of a Brisbane primary school have been left disappointed by the axing of a senior class tradition this year. Year 6 students at Forest Lake State School will no longer wear the full list of classmates' names on the back of their senior shirt as had previously been tradition.

The move, however, was made to protect the privacy and identity of some students and to ensure all students were made to feel included.

The explanation of why the change happened was recently shared with families via email after it was met with pushback. “Firstly, every parent or guardian needs to consent to having their child’s name on the shirt.

“Secondly, there are a number of privacy factors which impact on parent willingness to give consent,” the email read. “There are often factors which mean consent cannot be given.

“Thirdly, the discrimination act encourages us to operate in an inclusive environment,”

The email said the school decided to move away from the names on shirts tradition “so that those students, who are most vulnerable in our community, and through no fault of their own cannot have their name on a senior shirt, are not alienated or made to feel invisible, as though they do not belong.

“While this is disappointing for students who have looked forward to this tradition, the senior shirt will indeed be unique, three will not be another senior cohort of 2021 and the design of the shirt is unique itself. “This will be a valuable memento for students as they look back.

“In addition, as a result (of) fundraising in 2020, the P&C is funding the total cost for every student to receive a senior shirt for free.

“I cannot in good conscience offer a shirt to those students whose names will not appear on the back and feel that I have made them included.

“It has been suggested that first names only be used.

“We have many students from divers cultural backgrounds with unique names and students whose spelling of their name would lead to clear identification.

“So this is not a viable solution either.”

While some parents said they understood the reasons for the change — which is understood to have made its way through a number of Brisbane primary schools in recent years — others say their children have been left disappointed.

Mum Jelena Rosenberg said her little girl was left in tears by the news.

“My daughter just moved to this school this year with her siblings and the one thing she was excited about was the Year 6 shirt,” Ms Rosenberg said.

“When I told her there will be no names on it she was upset and cried about it as this was special to her being her last year.

“I’m absolutely shattered about this because her old school is still doing names on shirts.

“I’ll be sending my child to school with a permanent marker so her new friends can write on her shirt.

“I just don’t understand why no names are allowed as domestic violence is always going to be around and people that didn’t want their child’s name on should have just opted out, instead we all suffer because of a few people that didn’t want their child’s name on.

“I was never asked about having or not having names on and a few other mums and dads I’ve spoken to as well never got that option. It seems to have just been a school decision, not parents.

“The P&C are paying for them so they are free for parents but I find that extremely insulting as I feel I should have the option to have my child’s name on the shirt.”

An Education Queensland spokesperson said the decision was aimed at ensuring all children felt equal. “Forest Lake State School encourages an inclusive environment and P&C fundraising efforts will ensure all senior students receive their shirt, designed themselves, for free.

“Arrangements for senior shirts are school-based decisions and every day in state schools, principals respond supportively to the needs of their students.”