GOLDEN, COLORADO — Here in the county seat of Jefferson County, Colorado, Julie Williams, a member of the Jefferson County School Board, has ignited a firestorm by proposing to modify the curriculum for Advanced Placement American History in the Jefferson County School District. The Jeffco School District educates 85,000 students in this county, which is Colorado’s fourth largest county in population; it is politically divided, more or less equally, among Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters, and it voted for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, as did Colorado.
Williams, elected last year as part of a three-member “reform” slate, is a member of a prominent Colorado family which actively supports gun rights, http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26620327/jefferson-county-public-schools-faces-crisis-over-school.
Having garnered 61% of the vote in last year’s contentious school board election, she recently proposed that a committee be formed to make college-credit, Advanced Placement US history courses more patriotic and less negative. Her proposal would teach respect for authority and the free-market system while avoiding material that would encourage or condone “civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law."
In other words, Williams wants to require that Jeffco AP American History classes move away from (in her view) political correctness, in favor of Patriotism — she wants the AP students to study under an American history curriculum resembling the eighth grade civics classes which those of us in our 70s experienced before we woke up and started reading radical, populist authors such as the late, great historian Howard Zinn, who wrote A People’s History of the United States. Your solitary reporter was required to read Zinn’s book in a liberal, ecumenical, mostly politically correct United Methodist seminary.
Williams’ move, based on core Republican Party principles, immediately resulted in widespread student protests throughout Jefferson County, prompting nationwide attention to her controversial proposal. Even Vincent Carroll, the conservative editor of the Denver Post’s editorial pages, was critical of Williams, and her proposal has now been tabled in the face of the widespread student protests.
Then, from The Big Apple, Andy Borowitz, who writes for The New Yorker, weighed in: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/colorado-school-board-votes-ban-students?utm_source=tny&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=borowitz&mbid=nl_092514_Borowitz&CUST_ID=29784513&spMailingID=7154264&spUserID=NjEyMzM0ODM5MzMS1&spJobID=522751349&spReportId=NTIyNzUxMzQ5S0, suggesting that Williams’ real goal is very simple, namely, closing the schools and firing all the teachers.
Your faithful solitary reporter cannot possibly improve on Borowitz, except to suggest that if she does succeed in patriotizing the AP American History curriculum, she will undoubtedly require all high school students, and maybe even middle school students, to bring guns to school.
Williams also reported to the board, with the solitary reporter in attendance, that her extensive research into Colorado history has revealed that, although it had been originally thought that Jefferson County was named after President Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson County was, according to her, really named after Jefferson Davis, rather than the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence.
At the same board meeting, Williams proposed that a special prize, consisting of an assault weapon of the recipient’s choice, be awarded to a Jeffco student who writes the best essay on “Why The First Amendment does not apply to students in Jefferson County who disagree with me."