RI’s Education Supremacists Display Contempt for American Ideals

Originally published by the Providence Journal, March 4 (online version not available)

America’s upcoming 250th birthday should be a patriotic celebration of our inalienable rights and recognition of our American birthright of liberty. Instead, we find that patriotism has systematically been de-institutionalized across our country.

Regrettably, the RI Department of Education and the RI Board of Education are guilty participants in this unpatriotic scheme.

Over recent generations, pride in America’s founding ideals has deteriorated. The actual history of our nation has not changed. What has changed is the radical Left’s fake narrative and how we teach and portray US history in our schools.

If an intentional psy-ops strategy, how else can we explain that only 16% of Gen Z youth are “proud” to live in the United States and only 36% of Millennials? This compared with 73% of Baby Boomers and 54% of Gen Xers according to a recent Morning Consult national poll.
In a contemptible February 21 act, the Council for Elementary and Secondary Education, part of the BOE, passed the error-riddled, bloated, and overly-politicized social studies Standards, proposed by RIDE Commissioner Angelica Infante Green.

Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Council mindlessly rubber-stamped adoption of these controversial Standards. In doing so, these education-supremacists demonstrated their contempt for parents and the public … more than 200 of whom petitioned the Council to reject these woke, divisive, and unprofessional history curricula guidelines.

It’s not as if the Council was unaware of the controversy. I twice respectfully emailed 5 of the 7 voting members to make them aware of our Center’s report, Taken for a RIDE, which critiqued the Standards, and aware of the hundreds of passionate comments by grassroots Rhode Islanders.

Neither our report nor the public’s comments were considered for a single moment. At the meeting, within seconds, it was all over: a motion to adopt the Standards was made, seconded, and unanimously approved without any concern for the integrity of our state’s future social studies teachings; curricula that will soon be imposed on every school district and student in Rhode Island.

These Standards are neither by the people of Rhode Island, nor of the people of Rhode Island – but they nevertheless will be imposed on the people of Rhode Island

Perhaps most indicative of the Council’s ignorance, was a comment by one member, who, just after RIDE’s presentation, stated, “As you guys know, I’ve been asking for this for a few years … and there has been some collaboration with the ‘1679 committee’ that has done a lot of research … and I’m glad to see them as a partner …”

This confused Council member surely was referring to the ‘1619 Project’, an initiative of the NY Times, which seeks to re-write American history as a story of “oppressors-vs-oppressed.”

This one idiotic comment should be alarming to all Rhode Islanders. It confirms the Left’s long-time objective to control what is taught to our children; that RI’s new and bogus social studies standards were developed in conjunction with the New York Times’ false propaganda; and demonstrates the laughable error of these elitists, who cannot even correctly identify their own 1619 Project partner.

America’s true birthright is its noble pursuit of liberty and equality – even as imperfect as that pursuit has often been.

Unless lawmakers support submitted legislation to repeal their own 2019 law, empowering RIDE to develop and mandate K-12 curricula across our state, we’ll see even more agenda-driven politics from Rhode Island’s unelected, elitist education bureaucracy

Sadly, RIDE has proven itself wholly irresponsible and unworthy of the authority granted to it by the General Assembly.

Mike Stenhouse is CEO for the nonpartisan Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity

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