During the latter half of the 1970s my family and I spent two years in Kanawha County, West Virginia during an event called the Kanawha County Textbook Protest. This protest started in 1974 when the county school board, with the exception of one courageous lady on it, Alice Moore, tried to foist off a set of textbooks on the children that was nothing more than unbridled humanist and leftist propaganda.
The parents in the county rebelled against this. They kept their kids out of the public schools and they picketed those schools for the best part of a month. They created a furor that, at that time was heard all across the country and even in parts of Europe. The public school establishment from Washington on down finally managed to put a stop to it, but not before it had given them a black eye. Then they sought to portray the book protesters as nothing more than ignorant hillbillies. Does this sound familiar today?
The problem wasn’t the parents. It was the public school system, not only in West Virginia, but all across the country. Since the 1970s nothing with the public school system has changed–except to get worse!
In the beginning, the public school system was the brainchild of Unitarians and socialists. It was only fitting that it originated in New England, the original hotbed of Unitarianism in this country. The Unitarians wanted to try to limit the influence of church schools and a system of required public education seemed to them to be the solution to that theological problem. Unfortunately, most Christians went along with it because they did not perceive the theological problems involved. That was the beginning of public schools as we now have them in this country.
I have to laugh when I hear people say “Everything would be okay if we could just get the public schools back to the good old days, the way they used to be.” Those that say such do not understand the history of public schools. If the public schools were Unitarian and socialist in their origins (and they were) then what, pray tell, do you “reform” them back to? A less obnoxious brand of anti-Christianity? No one ever deals with that question. It gets ignored because they have no answer for it but don’t want you to know that so they change the subject and hope you don’t notice.
Having grown up in New England, I would expect that kind of rationale from the intelligentsia up there. I would not expect it from Southerners, given the history of public education in the South. Sadly, my expectations have been dashed.
Most Southern folks I know, even those with no connections to the Southern Heritage Movement, have at least some recognition of how bad “reconstruction” at the end of the War Between the States was here in the South. And public schools in the South were part and parcel of that “reconstruction.” Before that war you had almost nothing in the way of public schools in the South. Those few that may have been there were most defintely under local control. There was no public school “establishment” like we now have until it came in as part of the Northern “reconstruction” agenda.
Back in March of 1989, Writer John Chodes wrote an article that appeared in “Chronicles” magazine entitled “Education for a Conquered Nation.” His article dealt with education in the South after the War Between the States and during “reconstruction.” Chodes, in dealing with the infamous Morrill Act, observed that “Its stated objective was to fund colleges that teach agriculture and the mechanic arts, via money raised through federal land grant sales. The true objective was to bring the Northern perspective to the reconquered areas of the South, to teach the ‘rebels’ children respect for national authority–to break their rebellious spirit forever. The three R’s had absolutely nothing to do with this landmark bill.” Chodes continued: “The land grants had hidden strings. Washington controlled curriculum. To insure a uniformly, nationalized, anti-Southern slant, land and money could be taken from one state and given to another…The three R’s took a backseat, destruction of the Democratic Party was the highest objective. New textbooks were created and all the subjects taught from this perspective.” They even brought the Yankee school teachers down to make sure those benighted Southern kids got it right.
You folks who think we had no problems with public schools until our present Department of Education was formed need to go back and reread Mr, Chodes’ comments here. Washington’s control of public school curriculum started during “reconstruction” not during the Carter administration.
Since we’ve lived in the South, I’ve talked to lots of folks here about public education. Unfortunately, almost to a man (or woman) Southern folks seem to be of the opinion that public schools are the greatest thing since sliced bread. That shows you what a Washington-controlled curriculum will do to public opinion. The public school’s sports programs suck people in–Johnny can play baseball on the school team or Janie can get to be a cheerleader. Because of this, parents don’t even begin to look at the content of what is being taught in the classroom six hours a day five days a week. And how many folks still naively believe they can successfully combat 30 hours of dedicated humanism in public school with an hour of Sunday School on the Lord’s Day? Sadly, too many! Folks, you are dreaming if you think it will work that way. That ain’t gonna happen–and if you persist in that fantasy you will lose your kids!
Most of what the kids get in public schools today is what writer William Lind has labeled as “political correctness.” And in a speech about “Accuracy in Academia” back in 2000, Mr. Lind noted that “Political correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.” Although many parents don’t recognize it, this is much of what is taught in public schools today–you can’t celebrate Christmas because some non-Christian student or parent might be offended–but it’s okay to have your students learning passages from the Quran. Supposedly leaving Jesus Christ out and bringing Allah in is “celebrating diversity.” Hogwash!!!
And this continues on even in our day. Mark Levin, in his informative book “American Marxism” has said: “Today, matters are far worse. Children in classrooms across America are being indoctrinated with Critical Race Theory, white children are taught that they were born privileged and advantaged, and students study lessons prepared by the disgraceful New York Times ‘1619 Project’ Black Lives Matter, an openly Marxist and often violent organization that actively seeks the elimination of capitalism and the American governing system, is celebrated. Moreover, in school district after school district, teachers are being trained to confront their white privilege and taught to reform their knowledge of history to accommodate CRT…Education is being infused with a Marxist-oriented, extremely divisive, racist and intersectional ideology, where teachers and students alike are compelled to participate in and embrace their own indoctrination.”
So now it’s not only students being indoctrinated with Marxist dogma, it’s the teachers as well. Do we even need to ask how this fact bodes well for the future of public education in this country? Christian kids, indeed, all kids, need to be separated from this rank leftist indoctrination and from those indoctrination centers in our communities that promote it–all at the behest of Washington since “reconstruction.” Indeed, this present trend might well be labeled “Reconstruction Phase Two.
This piece was originally published on Revised History in two parts on March 15 and March 16, 2022.
William E. ("Wes") Shofner
3/30/2022 07:26:08 am
Brain washing American youth has been standard fare of our public schools for decades. In the mid-60's, everyone attending the fourth grade in my small Tennessee town had to memorize and recite Lord Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address". I jumped thru this hoop of fire, but I didn't appreciate the torture; however, I did appreciate understanding, after years of study, the formula for the making...or remaking...of our States united in America, all which Lincoln laid out in his speech at Gettysburg. As the great H.L. Mencken told us, Lincoln's Address was poetry but pure hogwash. Well, I learned my lesson, albeit it took me years to figure it out, but this lesson was not the one my reconstructed TN grammar school wanted me to learn: Lincoln destroyed the Republic of our Founding Fathers and we now live among its ruins .With lesson learned, I have lived my life since denouncing this destruction.
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Al Benson is the South’s best-known Copperhead (Northern-born patriot), a prolific columnist. and the coauthor of Lincoln’s Marxists.