May 24, 2006

Next, They'll Tell the Kids to Buy Foreign Cars

THERE ARE DAYS when I look at life and see things which make me wonder if our grandchildren will describe our time, a la Butthead from the old cartoon, as "back when people were stupid."

Recently, The Detroit News published an op-ed which reported that Michigan's educational establishment decided the words "American" and "Americans" were right out when describing, well, American history. Here's the gist of Judge Michael Warren's essay:

In perhaps a well-intentioned, but pernicious example of political correctness, the Michigan Department of Education is attempting to ban the "America" and "American" from our public schools. Even though the word "America" appears in the department's own civics and government benchmarks, the department's style protocol for the Michigan Education Assessment Program requires that "America" and "Americans" be expunged from our testing and grade level expectations. Last week, the department ordered that our hard-working teachers not utter the words.

The Department of Education asserts that "Americans" includes Mexicans, Canadians and others in the Western Hemisphere, so referring to U.S. residents as Americans is inappropriate. In the department's view, "America" happens to include South, Central and North America. Accordingly, when referring to the colonial period, the state bureaucracy requires teachers to refer to "the colonies of North America" or "North Americans." After the American Revolution, the nation is called the United States (not of America).

The News also notes part of an educational consultant's thoughts on the matter: "It is ethnocentric for the United States to claim the entire hemisphere."

Actually, to be precise about it, claiming the entire hemisphere is "the Monroe Doctrine." That said, as a proud Michigander at heart, I must admit being surprised that Michigan's educational authorities are going down this route. The Great Lakes State, you see, has an unemployment rate of some 7.2 percent, well above the national rate of 4.7 percent. Good local schools, of course, tend to matter when companies look at creating jobs.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 24, 2006 08:38 PM | TrackBack
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