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Tea partiers push to remove criticisms of Founding Fathers from textbooks

By Sahil Kapur
Friday, January 14, 2011 8:34 EDT
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Tea party activists in Tennessee are pushing state legislators to amend curriculum in a way that eliminates criticisms of the Founding Fathers’ treatment of Native Americans and holding of slaves, according to a news item.

Roughly two-dozen tea partyers demanded that their state lawmakers modify textbook standards to “compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government,” the Memphis-based The Commercial Appeal reports.

“Neglect and outright ill,” they said in literature disseminated at a news conference, “have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States.”

The group’s spokesman Hal Rounds, an attorney, lamented there was “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.”

“The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn’t existed,” Rounds said, as quoted by the newspaper.

He and his fellow activists pushed for new state curriculum standards that asserted: “No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

The effort mirrors a sweeping decision last March by the Texas Board of Education that dramatically altered curriculum standards to portray conservatism more positively and replace the term “slave trade” with “Atlantic triangular trade.”

And this year, tea party groups in North Carolina have largely succeeded in abolishing longstanding and nationally lauded school integration policies in the state’s Wake County.

Among the Tennessee tea partyers’ other priorities for the 2011 legislative session was a resolution rejecting the national health care overhaul, calling the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act an “insult to Constitutional principles.”

 
 
 
 
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