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Teaching Civil Disobedience

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p class="">Teaching Civil Disobedience

By Richard Girard

"We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values" when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered."--Martin Luther King, Jr. in a speech on April 4, 1967; One year before his murder.

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"Coincidence is a question begging term."--Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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We are having a most interesting controversy here in Jefferson County, Colorado, concerning the teaching of history, especially American History.

The "conservative" members of the Jefferson County School Board do not want the history teachers in the School District to teach about the many instances of opposition to authority and civil disobedience that make up so much of American History in the District's AP (Advance Placement, i.e., college level and credit) American History classes.

These "conservatives" (in my opinion reactionaries) want the schools to teach their students how to be "good citizens," who obey the law--and I suspect, rules in the workplace--without qualm or complaint. They wish to accomplish this by not teaching any of the history of the United States that might involve rebellion, revolt, protests, fleeing tyranny, or ignoring the government's laws and edicts in order to accomplish a higher good. The proposal reads as follows:

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"Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions. "

They remind me of the neighbor who loves the tomatoes and vegetables that you give her from your garden in the summer, but incessantly complains about the smells emanating from the compost, mulch, and manure that you put on your garden in the spring.

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Richard Girard is an increasingly radical representative of the disabled and disenfranchised members of America's downtrodden, who suffers from bipolar disorder (type II or type III, the professionals do not agree). He has put together a team to (more...)

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