(Todd Taxpayer Bailey) – For four weeks, Washoe County School District administration officials would not allow the public to review the history books used in the International Baccalaureate Program. Even though this is a violation of Nevada Law and Washoe County School District’s own policies (6181), administration officials ignored these requests for four weeks. What were they hiding?
On February 10, 2011, the administration finally allowed access to these materials. After a careful review was performed of the history textbooks that were supplied, no United Nations ideology was identified. There was, however, a considerable amount of epistemology identified in all aspects of the course material.
Epistemology is the concept of asking, “How do we know what we know?” Or put more simply, “No matter what, ask why.” This is a teaching style that is thousands of years old. It is why Socrates was put on trial in Athens, as parents were not happy with their children coming home to ask why it was important to defend Athens from the Persians or Spartans, among other things.
When teachers use it the wrong context, epistemology can be very damaging to a society, turning truth into propaganda, or even lies. After some initial research, concerned citizens believe that the Washoe County School Board should immediately form a sub-committee to review all history material in the International Baccalaureate Program for historical accuracy.
Here are some examples from the history books used in the International Baccalaureate program:
United States History: Preparing for Advanced Placement Exam
Only 30 pages were dedicated to World War II, with extensive coverage of the Atomic Bomb and internment of Japanese in the United States, yet. There was no reference to Corregidor, the Bataan Death March, or concentration camps where medical experiments were done on live prisoners, sometimes children.
When discussing World War II’s impact on society, there is reference to African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Japanese Americans, and women, yet, no reference to the rest of the population, which did most of the fighting.
On page 528, the course work implies that World War II was started by the United States’ oil embargo, not the Japanese invasion of China and Manchuria. This creates the impression that the United States started the war, not Japanese aggression. Veterans of Pearl Harbor know better.
What We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (historical revisionism)
On page 87, the course material states that the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki was unnecessary and surrender could have been accomplished by more “orthodox” means. The book never mentions the historical fact that the Japanese were unwilling to surrender after the first atomic bomb, or that the Emperor had ordered his population to fight to the end with every man, woman, and child. This invasion was estimated to cost one million American casualties if an invasion of the Japanese homeland were undertaken.
On pages 126 and 127, the narrative implies Stalin wanted German unification and that it was the Western powers that wanted a divided Germany. No evidence supports this position, although the text claims the Americans were more interested in the militarization of Europe. This implies that the Cold War was caused by the United States, not Communist aggression in Eastern Europe. The people of Poland and Czechoslovakia know better.
On page 131, the course material claims American involvement in the defense of Europe from Communist aggression prolonged the division of Germany, without any reference to Soviet occupation, suppression of human rights, abuses of the Stasi, or the Berlin Wall. When the wall came down, people did not rush East — they came West for freedom.
Theory Of Knowledge: 20th Century Course Companion
On page 98, this book asks: “Is it possible to call Al Qaeda freedom fighters? Can the indiscriminant bombing of people ever be considered ethical, and can it be described as utilitarian, benefiting a greater number of people?” The victims of September 11th know better.
This is what is being taught in the classroom in the International Baccalaureate Program in Washoe County School District. That’s why the Washoe County School Board should immediately review this course material and stop teaching the revision of American history.
Epistemology it is not critical thinking.
Failure to review this course material that is clearly historical revisionism opens Washoe County School District to a controversy that is unnecessary at a time that is not in its best interest. So what did the district do? They demanded to know who the members of TheCommittee@FixWashoeSchools.com are, the group who did the research.
It is becoming very clear that to achieve the transparency, accountability, and historical accuracy that Nevada Taxpayers are demanding, there will need to be some big changes at Washoe County School District.
Those changes are coming.
(Todd Taxpayer Bailey is publisher of WCSD-TV and the Capital Chronicle.)