Article 43


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 47 - Rewriting The Rosa Parks Story

image: rosa parks
Along with the typical complaints about “pornographic” books, this latest wave of conservatives banning books is remarkable for their anger towards books by and about people of color, or by and about LGBTQ, especially trans people. Texas State Rep. Matt Krause, a Republican, released a list of about 850 books that he wanted to ban from school libraries. He claimed the books make students feel “discomfort” because of their content about race and sexuality.  An analysis of Krause’s list by The Dallas Morning News found that of the first 100 titles listed, 97 were written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors. A common complaint is that these books will make children think about changing themselves, or teaches them “critical race theory.”
- Democracy Hollowed Out - Part 43 - Banning The Bible
What’s even worse are the social ramifications, such as CRITICAL RACE THEORY, which emphasizes the differences between race groups, creating actual race hatred. One consequence of the financial and economic upsets will be riots like those of 2020. The mass migration of people from alien cultures who don’t share Western values into the US and Europe is destabilizing. The US has, in fact, become a multicultural domestic empire.
- International Man Interview, April 2021
It is frequently claimed by proponents of such laws that banning discussion of structural racism and intersectionality is freeing schools of indoctrination. And yet indoctrination rarely takes place by allowing the free flow of ideas. Indoctrination instead rather takes places by banning ideas. Celebrating the banning of authors and concepts as “freedom from indoctrination” is as Orwellian as politics gets.
- Banning ideas and authors is not a ‘culture war’ - it’s fascism
INDOCTRINATION happens through MANY CHANNELS - ENTERTAINMENT, SPEECHES, and CENSORSHIP - but its main instrument is the school system.
- Fascists In Our Midst II
The fascist follower is weak and insecure; he is unprepared for life in an overwhelming world, and so he seeks security in the greater will of the leader...the fascist inflates his ego to gargantuan proportions. No matter that his hands are small and he is unfit for office, his supporters are entranced, and sustaining the trance requires that the past be obliterated so the future might be laid bare.
- NewAge and Fascism
We’ve seen a number of moral panics over the decades, and this one is no different. Come learn how the same old tropes are being recycled to animate this latest strain of American fascism.
- Video - American Fascism and the Groomer Panic


Florida Alters History of Rosa Parks

South Florida Times
March 23, 2024

MIAMI, Fla. - A Florida textbook publishing company has altered the racial context regarding civil rights icon Rosa Parks who was arrested in Montgomery, Ala. in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a White man.

According to the Miami Herald and New York Times, STUDIES WEEKLY, which is used in 45,000 elementary schools, amended the story about Parks to comply with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis STOP W.O.K.E. LAW, which prohibits instruction that could make students feel responsibility, guilt or anguish for what other members of their race did in the past.

At the same time, the NAACP joined forces with the National Teachers Association, the American Federal of Teachers and Parents Together to fight DeSantis act which they claim was designed to alter African-American culture and Black history.

Revising Parks story in American history is the latest example of the governor’s cultural wars that Black leaders have criticized as an attack on Blacks and African-American history.

The nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization and teacher unions hosted a town hall meeting in Orlando over the weekend to launch a movement to restore Black history courses that are now limited in Florida classrooms, and to stop the ban on textbooks on courses for critical race theory.

The NAACP also is opposing a proposed bill inspired by the governor in the 2023 Legislative Session that would ban state funding for the state’s public universities and colleges that teach courses on diversity, inclusion and equity.

The movement includes hosting a series of meetings throughout the state, seeking dialogues with state lawmakers, and a possible peaceful protest on the steps of the state Capitol.

If all fails, the groups may seek legal action, which would add to a string of lawsuits filed against the Stop W.O.K.E. initiative and DeSantis Don’t Say Gay bill.

A federal judge reportedly temporarily blocked the Stop W.O.K.E. law that would ban the teaching of critical race theory in Florida schools.

Parks’ arrest sparked national outrage and a bus boycott that was pivotal in the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT led by DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

Studies Weekly changed the original version of the book which stated that movement icon Parks was told to move to a different seat because of the color of her skin.

The amended version of the textbook says “she was told to move to a different seat.”

Parks died in 2005 in Detroit, Mich. at the age of 92.

During the town hall meeting, NAACP National Board of Directors Chair Leon W. Russell said DeSantis; culture wars to rewritehistory is rooted in the myth of White supremacy that’s aimed at disregarding Black history.

“Let me say this, if cracking down on “wokeness” means erasing Black history, we are the wokest organization there is,” Russell said. “Black history is American history, and we recognize that teaching that history is the only way for Black Americans to thrive the way they are meant to. We will not allow our students’ education to be held hostage for political theater. Every student, regardless of the color of their skin, or the zip code they reside or learn in, deserves access to a holistic, quality curriculum.”

Studies Weekly also made changes to their fourth-grade lesson about segregation laws.

In the initial version, the text explained how Black Americans were affected by Jim Crow laws that arose after the Civil War. Like its updates to the Parks lesson, the second version eliminated almost every direct mention of race.

Instead, the lessons were changed to say it was illegal for “men of certain groups” to be unemployed and that “certain groups of people” were not allowed to serve on a jury.

Democrats criticized DeSantis for repackaging Floridas education system to align with his political agenda in a more aggressive conservative approach, all indications of his reported bid for the White House in 2024.

DeSantisҒ Republican-controlled Legislature rejected more than 40 textbooks with topics including critical race theory that explain systemic racism in the United States.

Although Floridas Department of Education mandates the teaching of Black history, critical race theory is banned in Florida public schools, though most experts on the subject say it is not taught in elementary or even high schools.

Rebecca Pringle, president of the National Teachers Association, one of the largest teacher unions in America representing three million educators, said she is joining the fight because teachersҒ and students right to teach and learn about Black history are being violated.

“I am here because we are fighting with our parents, educators and students,” Pringle, a middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, said at the town hall meeting. “Teachers have a right to teach and students have a right to learn and we will not stand by and allow the state to ban these textbooks. Students have the right to learn about the true history and contributions made to this country by Blacks.”

Pringle added: “The governor of this state is focusing on banning books but we are focused on making sure to have books in front of our students that show them about diversity which is the strength of this country and we will not stop. We and the NAACP are taking a stand to fight for our children.”

American Federal of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said Florida’s Stop W.O.K.E. initiative is beyond restricting lessons on race in the classrooms.

“This is not simply a labor issue. This is not just an academic freedom issue,” said Weingarten. ”This is about whether or not as Americans we are actually going to move forward to be an inclusive, diverse, multiethnic, multiracial democracy, and you’re on the front lines of that”

Weingarten said the organization kicked off a series of conversations at town hall meetings and on social media to address the intersection of race, higher education and the labor movement, as Black professionals share their experiences in higher education.

“As lawmakers in places like Florida continue to target public education at every level, trying to restrict teaching about Black history and banning books by and about Black, Latino and other marginalized people, the AFT has created a new forum to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion,” Weingarten said.

On the college level, a bill to ban state funding for Florida’s public colleges and universities teaching courses in diversity, inclusion and equity could have damaging consequences including a decline in student enrollments, according to those clashing with the governor over the proposed law.

“In Florida, we are not going to back down to the woke mob, and we will expose the scams they are trying to push onto students across the country,” said DeSantis. “Florida students will receive an education, not a political INDOCTRINATION."

The NAACP Miami-Dade branch denounced the bill because it could ban college major or minor degrees that are associated with race studies, ethnic studies, gender theory and social justice.

Ray Rodrigues, Chancellor of the State of University System of Florida, said it is time that “we refocus our” efforts towards the distinct mission of higher education.

“The pursuit of truth, the communication of that truth, which is teaching, and the selfless act of others, which is service, is the way we want to proceed,” Rodrigues said. “We value academic excellence, and therefore merit-based outcomes, instead of liberal ideologies, will be prioritized for all of our students across the system.”



image: rewriting history of rosa parks and others

Race left out of Rosa Parks story in revised weekly lesson text for Florida schools highlights confusion with Florida law

By Justin Gamble
March 22, 2023

Studies Weekly, a publisher that provides educational periodicals for Floridas K-6 grades, revised one of their lesson plans for the 2022-2023 school year to take out race as the reason Rosa Parks was told to change her bus seat and why she was subsequently arrested.

The initial text, which REPORTEDLY said Parks “was told to move to a different seat because of the color of her skin,” was edited because “individuals in our curriculum team severely overreacted in their interpretation of HB 7 and made unapproved revisions,” Studies Weekly tells CNN in a statement.

Florida’s House Bill 7 restricts what can be taught to students about certain topics, including race. It went into effect as law last July and requires schools to submit instructional material to the state’s Department of Education for textbook review.

Studies Weekly says the revisions were missed due to errors in the quality assurance process, and they have taken corrective action and implemented safeguards to ensure nothing like this happens again.

“We find the omission or altering of historical facts to be abhorrent and do not defend it,” the publisher says in its statement. “Those unapproved changes have already been removed from our curriculum.”

Studies Weekly says the “unapproved changes were never finalized nor delivered to schools for classroom use.”

However, Stephana Ferrell, a parent and activist with the FLORIDA FREEDOM TO READ PROJECT, tells CNN she was able to easily access the Rosa Parks lesson plan with the omissions online along with several other Black history lessons as late as the end of January while serving as a guest reviewer for Floridas Department of Education.

According to Ferrell, any parent could sign up to be a guest reviewer and see any lesson plan that had been submitted to the state for inclusion in the 2022-2023 curriculum.

The omission highlights some of the difficulties book publishers now face while trying to comply with HB 7.

Studies Weekly said in a statement to CNN that Florida’s Department of Education had not provided guidance on how the law applies to the publisher’s existing texts. “Studies Weekly, like every publisher, has had to decipher how to comply with their legislation,” the statement read.

“It is our duty to follow the directives provided by each state Department of Education,” and that its texts are aligned with state standards, it continued.

Florida places blame on publisher for error

The Florida Department of Education places the blame for the omission squarely on Studies Weekly.

“No one from the Florida Department of Education has requested or would request the mention of race to be removed from social studies textbooks, as that would clearly be contrary to the requirements of Florida law.”

The Department of Education says it informed Studies Weekly that their text was not considered for use during the 2022-2023 school year but they could reapply for inclusion in future years.

The Florida Department of Education tells CNN the state has “robust requirements for the teaching of African American History.” The new law, it says, “specifically requires discussion of topics such as slavery, racial oppression, racial segregation, and racial discrimination.”

Playing politics with kids education

Ferrell said Florida is using taxpayer funds to make “public education so dysfunctional,” and adds that because of the penalties associated with violating state law, “publishers are now scared.”

Ferrell, who has two elementary-age children, says she became involved in opposing the state’s book bans and teaching restrictions on race after attending a school board hearing and witnessing firsthand the “censorship” of historical facts.

“We noticed that it was an attack on Black and brown, Hispanic, Indigenous and LGBTQ+ voices in particular; those were the folks that they were going after,” Ferrell said, adding that “we wanted to make sure that we were putting more and more of these voices into our schools.”

It’s time for the state to stop playing politics with kids’ education,” Ferrell said. She and her husband decided to put her kids in public school “to expose them to different cultures and viewpoints and to learn from the experiences of others,” she said.

“We wanted our kids to have the viewpoints that they have challenged, we want them to ask questions,” Ferrell said.

Florida’s fight over teaching race

The omission of race in the story of Rosa Parks is just one of the latest controversies regarding teaching race in the state and comes after the DeSantis administration rejected certain math textbooks last year because it said it found evidence of CRT and other banned concepts in the materials, CNN PREVIOUSLY REPORTED.

Florida has been at the center of the debate on how to teach issues involving race in public schools. In June 2021, the state became one of several to BAN THE TEACHING OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY (CRT), CNN previously reported. Scholars who have studied critical race theory say it explores the ways in which a history of inequality and racism in the United States has continued to impact American society. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has EXPRESSED his disagreement, saying CRT “teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other.” He continued by saying that “it is state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools.”

FLORIDA REJECTED A NEW ADVANCED PLACEMENT (AP) COURSE on African American Studies earlier this year, CNN previously reported. DeSantis SAID THE COURSE, included the study of “queer theory” and political movements that for advocated “abolishing prisons.” DeSantis called it a “political agenda.” The states education department said the course framework lacked “educational value” and violated state law.

In response, the College Board, the testing organization responsible for developing the course curriculum for schools nationwide, DEFENDED ITS FRAMEWORK and accused Floridas Department of Education of “slander” and of using the course as a tool for political gain.

The debate on how to teach race has expanded beyond K-12 education. The newly appointed Board of Trustees at NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA VOTED TO ABOLISH DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION (DEI) PROGRAMS at the school in late February. The move follows DeSantis’ proposal to defund DEI programs at state colleges and universities.

In February, DeSantis said the state does “require teaching of Black History.” However, a state board created to help school districts to do that, say many schools only cover the topic during Black History Month in February. Critics of the state also say courses teaching African American history in the state were historically underfunded.


Posted by Elvis on 03/26/23 •
Section Dying America • Section Fascism
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