Date: April 6, 2004
Subject: Pardon, your ideology is showing

EdWatch issued an e-mail missive to its members that announced a MAPSSS-style page on its web site that peeks into the backgrounds of the committee members who wrote the alternative social studies standards. It also raises the possibility that the Senate is heading toward breaking the law in its endorsement of the Minnesota Council for Social Studies (MCSS) approved document. (More on the latter point later.)

The first part seems fair enough. After all, it was the MAPSSS A Guide to Ideological Influences on the Standards that aimed "to expose the extreme right-wing ideological influences on the standards by individuals and organizations that are in favor of undermining public education and limiting students’ ability to think critically," even going so far as to research individual campaign contributions. So when three alternative standards appeared one day on the Senate Ed Committee web site, people naturally wanted to know where they came from (see previous post).

MinnBEST spokesperson and alternative standards team member Michael Boucher and I have been recently discussing national sovereignty in this blog. He and I don't see it the same way, and after the EdWatch update, I have a better understanding of why. EdWatch reports that, in the masters thesis posted on his web site, Boucher points to author Jonathan Kozol as a major influence on his teaching:
[Kozol] quotes the Arizona Board of Education, stating that the job of schools is 'to augment a child's... love of country... ideals of the home... appreciation of traditional values... and that our nation is the envy of the civilized world' (p. 4). Kozol replies to this mission statement, 'However we do it, I believe it is our job is to be quite clear to students that schools exist precisely in order to destroy such loyalty.' (p. 5). Given this view of the purpose of schools, Kozol proceeds to take a radical stance on many subjects leading to some specific attitudes and philosophies that lead students out of complacent and oppressive education... [Emphasis added.]

Kozol's work convinces me that by being a citizen of the city where I teach, in solidarity with my students, I can equip the next generation of citizens to improve all of our situation [sic].
Or, as Lincoln said, "The philosophy of the schoolhouse in this generation is the philosophy of the government in the next generation." Lenin took it one step further: "Take away a people's heritage and they are easily persuaded."

As Boucher points out elsewhere in his article, "Kozol believes that all education is political." Right-wing, left-wing, Buffalo Wild Wings, maybe we just need to stop worrying and learn to love our wings. It seems that even "multipartisan" groups like MAPSSS and MinnBEST have their ideology, which unavoidably seeps into their standards like the dark stains that indicate the freshness of those Powdermilk Biscuits.