Aug. 6, 2003
In rare moments when Congress isn't preoccupied with the war, taxes
or prescription drugs, Congress is worrying that American students don't
know any American history. Congress is right to worry because this is
true, but it doesn't follow that the federal government is capable of
remedying the problem.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the
Nation's Report Card, reported that less than half of high school seniors
demonstrate even a basic grasp of history. The American Council of
Trustees and Alumni, in a report called "Losing America's Memory:
Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century," charged that 55 colleges and
universities, including the most prestigious, have no American history
requirement and only a fifth of colleges require any course in history at
On the other hand, some colleges do require courses in "non-Eurocentric culture or society," and that requirement can be filled by
courses in human development, sociology, theater, dance or film. Social
science requirements can be met by courses in women's studies.
In 1994, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) gave funds
generously provided by the taxpayers to professors at the University of
California Los Angeles to produce a volume prescribing what U.S. public
school students ought to be taught about their country. When the 271-page
book was published, called "National Standards for United States History,"
it was shot through with Multiculturalism, anti-Western bias, and the
Politically Correct nonsense that all ethnic and gender groups are victims
of white male oppression.
"Standards" was such an embarrassment that the U.S. Senate denounced
it in a vote of 99 to 1, with even Ted Kennedy voting against it.
Longtime American Federation of Teachers CEO Al Shanker said it was the
first time a government ever tried to teach children to "feel negative
about their own country."
After the public flap, the authors made some cosmetic changes in
"Standards." But thousands of copies of the original book were already in
use by schools and textbook publishers.
Congress should have learned that if we give taxpayers' money to the
current crop of history professors, they will rewrite history to serve
liberal dogmas. Congress didn't learn; it continues to include millions
of dollars for the teaching of American history in various appropriations
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) includes a Civic Education
program funded at $28.8 million for FY 2003 to teach the history of the
Constitution. In addition to $10 million already provided for history in
the NEH budget for next year, legislation is pending to provide another
$25 million to NEH to set up state-run workshops to teach teachers of
The easiest way to check out the biases of a history textbook is to
look at its treatment of Senator Joseph McCarthy. "Standards," for
example, which didn't include a single word about Paul Revere, Thomas
Edison, the Wright brothers, Albert Einstein, or General Douglas
MacArthur, inflicted 19 unfavorable mentions on McCarthy.
Almost everything the current generation "knows" about McCarthy is
false. For example, he had nothing to do with the House Committee on
Un-American Activities or with investigations of Hollywood; he limited
himself solely to attacking the coverup of security risks in government.
Students and adults who want to learn the history that has been
censored out of their textbooks should read Ann Coulter's current
best-seller "Treason." Her book does an awesome job of describing the
widespread infiltration of the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Truman
Administrations by a vast network of Soviet spies and agents.
Coulter tells history with entertaining conservative spin to
accentuate the facts, buttressed by 47 pages of fine-print documentation.
The official release in 1995 of the Venona Papers proves there is no
longer any doubt about the massive penetration of important positions by
men who served the interests of the Soviet Union.
Coulter shows there is no longer any doubt about the willful,
partisan coverup of this treason by the Democrats whose strategy was to
target "McCarthyism" as the enemy and thereby deflect blame from FDR who
called Stalin "Uncle Joe," Harry Truman who said "I like old Joe; Joe's a
decent fellow," and Vice President Henry Wallace who was a blatant Soviet
The second way to check out the biases of social studies textbooks is
to look at their treatment of Ronald Reagan. The liberal line is to
accuse him of dangerous warmongering for challenging Soviet power with an
anti-missile defense and rhetoric such as the "evil empire." Then, after
Gorbachev did tear down the Berlin Wall, the liberals claimed that the
Soviet Union wasn't any threat anyway.
Coulter accords Reagan the credit he deserves for rejecting the
advice of the Democrats, the media, and even many in his own
Administration, and adopting the brilliant strategy that won the Cold War
without firing a shot.
Pulitzer-prize winning historian David McCullough told a Senate
committee that "we are raising a generation of people who are historically
illiterate." Ann Coulter's book is a must-read because it's a necessary
antidote to that illiteracy.