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Excerpt :"Hundreds of students walked out of classrooms around suburban Denver on Tuesday in protest over a conservative-led school board proposal to focus history education on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism and respect for authority, in a show of civil disobedience that the new standards would aim to downplay."

Student walk-out in suburban Denver. (photo: 7NEWS Denver)
Student walk-out in suburban Denver. (photo: 7NEWS Denver)

Hundreds of Colorado Students Walk Out in Protest Over Class on "Patriotism," Respect for Authority

By Associated Press

24 September 14


Conservative school board proposes history education should be to promote patriotism and respect for authority

undreds of students walked out of classrooms around suburban Denver on Tuesday in protest over a conservative-led school board proposal to focus history education on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism and respect for authority, in a show of civil disobedience that the new standards would aim to downplay.

The youth protest involving six high schools in the state’s second-largest school district follows a sick-out from teachers that shut down two high schools in the politically and economically diverse area that has become a key political battleground.

Student participants said their demonstration was organized by word of mouth and social media. Many waved American flags and carried signs, including messages that read “There is nothing more patriotic than protest.”

“I don’t think my education should be censored. We should be able to know what happened in our past,” said Tori Leu, a 17-year-old student who protested at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada.

The school board proposal that triggered the walkouts in Jefferson County calls for instructional materials that present positive aspects of the nation and its heritage. It would establish a committee to regularly review texts and course plans, starting with Advanced Placement history, to make sure materials “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” and don’t “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

The proposal from Julie Williams, part of the board’s conservative majority, has not been voted on and was put on hold last week. She didn’t return a call from the Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday, but previously told Chalkbeat Colorado, a school news website, that she recognizes there are negative events that are part of US history that need to be taught.

“There are things we may not be proud of as Americans,” she said. “But we shouldn’t be encouraging our kids to think that America is a bad place.”

A student demonstrator, Tyrone G Parks, a senior at Arvada High School, said Tuesday that the nation’s foundation was built on civil protests, “and everything that we’ve done is what allowed us to be at this point today. And if you take that from us, you take away everything that America was built off of.”

The proposal comes from an elected board with three conservative members who took office in November. The other two board members were elected in 2011 and oppose the new plan, which was drafted in response to a national framework for teaching history that supporters say encourages discussion and critical thinking. Detractors, however, say it puts an outsize emphasis on the nation’s problems.

Tension over high school education has cropped up recently in Texas, where conservative school board officials are facing criticism over new textbooks. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, conservatives have called on an education oversight committee to ask the College Board, which oversees Advanced Placement courses, to rewrite their framework to make sure there is no ideological bias.

The College Board says the outline provides a balanced view of American history, and officials plan to clarify instructions to teachers to make that clear by the end of the month.

Participating students were not punished, school district spokeswoman Lynn Setzer said. They will receive unexcused absences unless their parents call to relay permission for missed classes, Setzer said.

Superintendent Dan McMinimee has met with some of the students and renewed his offer to continue discussions on the issue. “I respect the right of our students to express their opinions in a peaceful manner,” he said. “I do, however, prefer that our students stay in class.” your social media marketing partner


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+42 # michelle 2014-09-24 15:51
Student power is real. When they leave the classrooms with unexcused absences they cost the district ADA money and that will get the attention of district offices and the school board. It is more powerful than a teacher strike. The statement by school district spokesperson Lynn Setzer addresses that issue when she says, "They will receive unexcused absences unless their parents call to relay permission for missed classes." She is hoping to stop revenue loss. Parents do not clear those absences, stand by your students.

Stay out students and put economic pressure on the district and the board. You may not be old enough to vote but you are old enough to volunteer and make a difference in the next election.

Students know in classes like AP History they need in-depth knowledge not the tea party equivalent of history with fictitious narratives of the founding fathers. AP students pay for exams and teachers work long hours to make sure students pass the exams. Monkeying with curriculum will guarantee failure.
+47 # MainStreetMentor 2014-09-24 17:05
Protest IS patriotism!
+16 # ritawalpoleague 2014-09-25 04:22
The senior at Arvada's high school, Tyrone G. Parks, could have the same Parks heritage as I have: founding father Pres. Andrew Jackson hanging in the family tree, and connection also to Rosa Parks, whose ancestors were most likely slaves on the pre-revolution Parks plantation, now called Parkslee, Virginia.

Hang in there, Tyrone, and all your brave and dedicated to real McCoy 'liberty and justice for all' student protester compatriots. You deserve our thanks and praise for your intelligence and great conscience and hearts, for recognizing and doing what it takes, i.e. getting active plus, to.....

+32 # Regina 2014-09-24 22:00
These students have demonstrated their comprehension of our history, with its +s and -s. They have also demonstrated their maturity in detecting the falsities of their school board members' dictates. We can only hope that they prevail. Their teachers may be in greater difficulty than the students, however, since the students can't be fired.
+6 # Granny Weatherwax 2014-09-25 09:30
History teaching in the US is already about promoting patriotism, to the point that no controversy or even thoughts are taught, just facts presented under the "proper" lighting and as a natural progression towards the better of the best society ever.

Actually James Loewen studied 18 history books for high school and his conclusions are flooring.
If you want a glimpse, just skim through his excellent "Lies my teacher told me: everything your American history book got wrong" which is NOT some liberal dribble but a very substantiated analysis of how history is taught distorted.
+2 # Doubter 2014-09-25 21:25
Ir seems the truth and/or reality is too bitter a pill for conservatives to swallow.
+28 # Thomas Martin 2014-09-24 22:18
As responsible, reasoning human beings we must question everything, and act according to what we discover - to do less is to be complicit in all that's ailing our world - I'm very impressed by these high school students for their awareness of our social responsibility, and their actions to respond to it!
+38 # nogardflow 2014-09-24 23:01
For Conservative's, mind control is necessary to maintain the status quo. We should be teaching free thinking, logical inspection and to question all the prevailing rhetoric.
+12 # tm7devils39 2014-09-25 00:59
Those conservative school board members who proposed this idea aren't too bright...they opened a can of worms that they will never recover from. If truth be told, the actual history of the US Government's machinations in the last 50 years, or more, show that the US is the largest and most prolific terrorist organization ever seen in the history of the planet - politically, financially and militarily. If one shows patriotism towards this government then they, by proxy and definition, are in reality...A terrorist. Those conservatives (and the liberals) in authority don't want the citizens of this country to understand their actual status in the World!...they might want to do something about it. That is why Manning, Snowden and Assange, among others, are held in such low esteem and considered criminals by most government officials. Think about it the next time you recite the Pledge of Allegiance...
+23 # wullen 2014-09-25 04:11
Reminds me of education in the Nazi Youth program.
+21 # fredboy 2014-09-25 06:12
Terrific students! I applaud their courage and wisdom.

American history is exciting. Why would anyone want to 'whitewash' it?

Sounds like they need a more educated and mature school board.
+20 # Citizen Mike 2014-09-25 06:22
It has always been clear to me that "patriotism" is the government's PR campaign designed to promote conformity and obedience. Even as a child reciting The Pledge in school I knew I was being slammed with bullshit. But today I observe something new has been inserted into the patriotism formula:

" make sure materials “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” and don’t “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law...”

The benefits of the free-market system? How the heck did that sneak into the mix? Asking for loyalty not merely to the nation and the state, but to Big Business? Submission to economic exploitation is now a part of the "patriotism" package? PHOOEY!
+13 # futhark 2014-09-25 07:09
The Pledge of Allegiance is a feudal oath that has no proper use in a society organized according to the principles of the American Revolution. The Constitution specifically states the the People have organized the republic for certain enumerated ends. The republic is the creation of the People, who should not be obliged to swear fealty to their creation.

On the other hand, elected and appointed officers of the republic can rightfully be required to pledge allegiance, since by doing so they agree to recognize the primacy of the People and promise to abide by the rules set forward in the Constitution. It is an abomination that citizens are expected to routinely recite the pledge.
+12 # futhark 2014-09-25 06:55
As a Cal Berkeley alumnus, class of 1972, and former resident of various Berkeley Student Cooperative houses, I'll be attending a commemoration of the Free Speech Movement's 50th anniversary on Sunday, September 28 at Cloyne Court. Over the years I've had many instances of arguing, usually successfully, with my libertarian and conservative friends and acquaintances that the Free Speech Movement was essentially an expression of the American Revolution, not the activity of some crazy traitorous pinkos as depicted by Reaganites. It has always seemed to me that the people who both wrap themselves in the flag and simultaneously undermine the principles of the Revolution are the ones that should be regarded as hypocrites, if not traitors.

As a public high school teacher with 32 years experience, I think another problem we have with our educational system is having no curriculum for giving our students a working knowledge of democracy. Certainly in California there is no instructional program in the public schools for teaching Robert's Rules of Order, or any other means for operating in a public meeting. Only students who have been FFA or 4-H members seemed to know this.

It is a disgrace that we don't put enough time in teaching what the Revolution is and how it can be used today and too much time, perhaps, asking students to learn names and dates of battles in the War of American Independence, which was only part of the Revolution.
+17 # Citizen Mike 2014-09-25 07:01
Right you are, thanx! The American Revolution began with acts of defiance against authority and civil disobedience and proceeded to armed rebellion against the concept of royalty. Today we are in a struggle against corporate royalists, the very same folks whose hatred FDR welcomed. The study of history is always most valuable, especially in times of trouble and conflict such as today.
+9 # rockieball 2014-09-25 08:07
Go for it kids. It's about time our nations youth stand up and it's about time the corporate controlled media report stuff like this on National news. No wonder they want to control the internet, because without it one would never hear about stories like this.
+7 # rockieball 2014-09-25 08:13
I also have to ad that it's a shame as to what the news reporting has become in this country when one has to read a story like this from a foreign paper.
+8 # fredboy 2014-09-25 09:14
I believe it was Mark Twain who wrote:
"In the beginning God created idiots.
That was for practice.
Then he created school boards."
+10 # Saberoff 2014-09-25 09:23
To all fellow readers and posters above: (at this moment) these seem all excellent comments. Thank you!

Reader Supported News seems to be growing some very knowledgeable, bright, articulate patrons.

Take it to the streets!
+5 # angelfish 2014-09-25 11:45
Hallelieujah! At least SOME of our youth refuse to be suckered into being "good little Nazis"! Perhaps there's reason for hope after all!
+5 # born1929 2014-09-25 13:20
Hoooray for these young people ! We need to you provide the democratic leadership that has been conspicuously absent for far too long now .... You have the respect of many seniors who despair as I do ......
Howard Zinn properly said dissent is the highest form of patriotism ... you kids are patriots in my book ... (I am a veteran of the Korean war)

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