Allen B. West

South Dakota drops requirement to teach about slavery, the Constitution, Native Americans

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As LTC (Ret) Allen West often says, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Sadly, it appears as a nation we are all doomed, as less and less of our history is even being taught in our schools.

Take what just happened in South Dakota as an example – particularly disturbing since South Dakota is a red state, not liberal blue. As of next year, South Dakota will no longer require kids to learn about Native Americans, slavery or the Constitution.

As the History News Network reports, “the South Dakota Board of Education approved new guidelines that do not require high schools to teach [early] U.S. history beginning next year.

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There is no requirement for teaching the first 100 years of the nation’s history, including the Revolutionary War and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, but the rewritten standards do give teachers a choice.”

The efforts of liberal college professors to “whitewash” American history in order to further politically correct agendas is nothing new, but this latest move is almost an attempt to erase American history all together.

How can we hang together as a nation if we know nothing of our own identity? Historian and Professor Wilfred McClay, speaking at Hillsdale College recently about the sad state of affairs in history education remarks, “How can we call forth the acts of sacrifice that our democracy needs, not only on the battlefield but also in our daily lives—the acts of dedication to the common good that are at the heart of civilized life—without training up citizens who know about and appreciate that democracy, care about the common good, and feel themselves a part of their nation’s community of memory? How can we expect our citizens to grapple intelligently with enduring national debates—such as over the role of the U.S. Constitution, or about the reasons for the separation of powers and limited government—if they know nothing of the long trail of those particular debates, and are instead taught to translate them into the one-size-fits-all language of the global and transnational?”

As Raw Story says, “”sadly, the students of South Dakota have had the very foundations of American citizenship ripped out from under them.

 Think about it:

● Students will no longer be required to learn about the American Revolution. How will they be good citizens if they don’t know anything about the ideas and values on which this country was built?

● Students will no longer be required to learn about the Constitution. How will they know how the United States government works or about the rights afforded to all United States citizens?

● Students will no longer learn about slavery. How will they understand race-relations in the United States without learning about the roots of the Civil Rights Movement and other black protest movements, including Black Lives Matter?

● What about Native Americans? I would think that any resident of South Dakota should know something about the Indians. As it now stands, their understanding of Native American history will begin with the United States attempts to drive the Sioux from their lands and will end with Indian reservations and casinos.

● Without early American history most of the story of the women’s rights movement will no longer be taught. Goodbye Seneca Falls. Goodbye Elizabeth Cady Stanton. South Dakota students will be left with a view of the past in which women were always able to vote.”

American history certainly has some periods about which we are not so proud, but so does every other society in the world. Does this mean we strip our classrooms of the richness of our history? The good and the bad? Regardless of how you may feel, The United States of America has been able to develop a thriving and beautiful society that the rest of the world envies. We have come a long way from where we were and frankly I am damn proud of it.

The strides we’ve made in just a few hundred years have allowed us to live in freedom and acceptance for all. At least that’s what’s supposed to be happening. Those on the left would rather those of us on the right would just shut up.

This country was built on honest principles of integrity and morality. Sure you can debate this, but the truth is we are closer to living up to that original creed than we have ever been. History has righted itself in the U.S. to a point where anyone, of any race can excel if they put in the work and dedication to do so. To not teach the horrors of slavery will deny even those whose ancestors were enslaved a vision of how far they’ve come. To deny the teaching the Constitution will deny all the realization of just how miraculous the document actually is – and how close we are to losing all of the freedoms intended by our Founders to be self-evident truths.

My fear is that when we stop teaching the truth of our history, we will instead seek to erase it. When the truth of history is not taught we all become ignorant, and ultimately we all become slaves –slaves to a new era that allows tyrants, kings and dictators to thrive.

[Note: This article was written by Earl Hall]

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