Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 5:39:35 pm
The right wing tactic of "teaching the controversy" is popping up again in Nebraska; this time Republicans are using it to confuse children about climate change, but I'd be willing to bet they also have their sights set on Charles Darwin. Kate Sheppard has details: Nebraska Kids to Learn America Is Awesome, Climate Change Is Just a Theory.
Students in Nebraska are getting new standards for social studies curriculum, after weeks of intense debate. The state Board of Education reached agreement on two items of controversy this week: whether to include "American exceptionalism" and how to teach about climate change, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
The fight had been over whether to explicitly teach the idea of American exceptionalism, as one board member proposed, and whether to include information about climate change, which the current standards do not mention. The board approved the standards after making some changes:
The words "American exceptionalism" do not appear in the final draft, but the concept does. In the sixth- through eighth-grade U.S. history standards, one of the "indicators" -- examples of what to teach -- is the "unique nature of the creation and organization of the American Government, the United States as an exceptional nation based upon personal freedom, the inherent nature of citizens' rights and democratic ideals."
Likewise, climate change appears in the sixth- through eighth-grade geography standards, but is presented as a theory, not as fact, asking students to evaluate "recent global climate change theories, and evidence that supports and refutes such theories."
"American exceptionalism," gotta love it. An amorphous concept, but wingnuts never get tired of it. It's very important to believe in the special nature of their own specialness.