Wednesday, August 02, 2023

NBC News: "Conservatives Changing K-12 Education"

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Amid the ongoing debate over what is being taught in schools nationwide, dozens of K-12 schools are using curriculum materials designed by a conservative Christian college to offer a different approach to history lessons that critics contend gloss over darker elements of U.S. history. 

Hillsdale College in Michigan is behind The 1776 Curriculum, which provides history and civics lessons for K-12 classrooms.

Once again---the Left is fearful of the truth, always trying to erase it.

Be informed, not misled.

What is "1776 Curriculum?"

The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum is a complete collection of lesson plans for teaching American history, civics, and government to K-12 students. Students who study using this curriculum learn about American history from the colonies through the Civil War at four different times during their K-12 years, each time increasing in depth. The curriculum also includes American history since the Civil War and American government and civics for middle and high school students.

This curriculum provides teachers with guidance—not dictates—about how to plan and teach a given topic in American history or civics. This guidance includes Hillsdale College-vetted books, online courses, and other resource recommendations; lists of content topics, stories to tell, and questions to ask of students; “Keys to the Lesson” that clarify important points for teachers to keep in mind; student-ready primary sources; and sample assignments, activities, and assessments. 

The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum is the product of Hillsdale College professors and some of the very best K-12 teachers, both past and present, derived from and created for real classrooms with real students taught by real teachers. It is an ongoing and transparent project based on the most current accurate scholarship as well as novel insights from K-12 teachers. Future history units are in development, and published units will continue to be updated in response to constructive feedback and consideration.

In a Friday interview, Kathleen O'Toole, the assistant provost for K-12 Education at Hillsdale College, told The Christian Post that the school's provision of curriculum and instruction materials to other educational institutions is not a new concept. 

Hillsdale College, which was founded in 1844 as a nondenominational institution, started its work with the K-12 grade levels in 1919, the year of Hillsdale Academy's founding. The Hillsdale Academy webpage describes it as a "private classical Christian school owned and operated by Hillsdale College." Hillsdale has charter schools in over a dozen states as well as non-member schools that use its curriculum materials. 

The 1776 Curriculum offers lesson plans that guide teachers on how to instruct students on topics related to American history and civics. The curriculum is available for free, which O'Toole said is possible due to gifts from donors, highlighting how Hillsdale does not accept any federal or state money. 

The administrator said that public and Christian schools have adopted the curriculum, as well as families. She said that the idea behind the curriculum is to offer students "the truth." 

"So, in the classical tradition, regardless of whatever subject we're talking about, they deserve access to the truth," she said. "They deserve access to the very best, and they deserve to be treated as if they can really learn these important things without a filter."

An example of the 1776 Curriculum.

"History is the story of the past, and the study of history is an effort to uncover the truth in the past through American history," O'Toole says. 

She cited Thomas Jefferson, America's third president and the writer of "The Declaration of Independence," as an example. O'Toole called Jefferson a "puzzle," noting how he wrote "All men are created equal" in the Declaration and yet, he also held slaves.

"So how do we put those two pieces of information together? That's a legitimate question to ask, and the answer lies in reading what he wrote about it," O'Toole stated. "And it's not a simple answer; it's a complicated answer. But it can be discovered if you read what he wrote and what others wrote about him at the time."

So, what's wrong with Hillsdale and the "1776 Curriculum?"

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, has criticized Hillsdale's curriculum, alleging that the material does not properly cover topics that don't promote a patriotic view of the country. 

Apparently, part of the problem with Hillsdale is that they are too patriotic for the entrenched Leftist views generally held by educators in America.

"What they also are trying to do is replace an approach to teaching that teaches students how to think with an approach that teaches the students what to think," Grossman told NBC News in a statement earlier this month. 

Ironically he is defining the M.O. of the Left---teaching kids what to think about everything from abortion to human sexuality to American heritage to globalism to God Himself.

Here's the bottom line regarding what's wrong with Hillsdale: It isn't just Hillsdale. It's every school and educator that disagrees with the Leftist worldview.

NBC News says, "But Hillsdale’s critics have had little power to stop Republican officeholders intent on reshaping the way American history is taught."

"American history" is currently being taught as a course in why our youth "should hate America." And the Left doesn't want that to change. They intend to reshape the way American history---and every other discipline is taught.

To affirm just how anemic education in America has become, Adam Laats, a historian at Binghamton University in New York who studies culture war battles over education, says,  “It’s the hat. The red hat that brought Trump to office — this idea that America can be made great again — I think the educational part of that is that if we’re going to make America great again, children need to love it. And they need to learn to love it, and we need to teach them to love it. And so the Hillsdale curriculum is the red hat in textbook form.”

Hillsdale’s emphasis on American exceptionalism, Laats said, appeals to people who “worry that if kids aren’t hearing that, they are doing things like running off and joining Antifa and burning down cities.”

NBC gives several reasons why the radical Left embedded in education can hate Hillsdale and feel good about it:

  • Hillsdale was founded by abolitionist Baptists in 1844 and was open to women and Black students from the start.
  • Hillsdale has spent years integrating itself in national conservative circles, notably through a Washington, D.C., satellite campus that Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, helped establish in 2010. 
  • Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, well-known for her support of subsidizing private schools, is a major donor to Hillsdale. 
  • The conservative writer William F. Buckley bestowed much of his life’s work to the college.
  • In 2020, as conservatives protested The New York Times' “1619 Project,” which highlights slavery’s role in shaping American history, then-President Donald Trump picked Arnn to lead a 1776 Commission. The commission produced a report that gave an overview of American history and principles. Historians knocked the report, saying it treated the country’s founders as “godlike men,” minimized women and people of color, and compared 20th-century progressive reformers to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.


The dust-up about Hillsdale's curriculum comes amid multiple controversies involving parents objecting to the curriculum at their child's school, arguing that it's historically inaccurate and politically motivated---which it is.

In response to these concerns, the previous presidential administration under Donald Trump created the 1776 Commission to offer a "patriotic education" for public schools. One area of concern included the 1619 Project, which taught that the American Revolutionary War was fought over slavery and that the nation's true founding was in 1619, not 1776. 

Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order dissolving the commission, calling for "a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality."

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.