Guest Editorial: GOP is suppressing the teaching of American history

 Florida is not the only Republican-controlled state seeking to suppress the full truthful teaching of American history.

Florida has rejected an advanced African American studies course proposed by the state schools.

In South Carolina, a bill to limit certain teachings on race in public schools is moving through the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives.

The proposal is the latest in a GOP-led nationwide effort to suppress the lessons of American history, particularly the painful aspects of African American history.

The language in the South Carolina bill is similar to sections of a law signed last year by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a likely 2024 presidential hopeful. DeSantis’ administration has blocked a new Advanced Placement course on African-American studies from being taught in high schools, saying the class violates newly enacted state law and that it is historically inaccurate.

Similar measures have been proposed in other Republican-dominated statehouses.

The South Carolina bill would prohibit ideas that “an individual, by virtue of the race, sex, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin of the individual, inherently is privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously” and that a person “bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members” sharing their identity.

The vague language of the South Carolina bill and other similar legislation is actually intended to stifle the teachings of American history that conservatives find objectionable.

Democratic state Rep. Deon Tedder said, “For example, it’s fact-based that African Americans were enslaved and beaten and chained. For some parents, that may not be age appropriate.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina is right in saying the vague language in the South Carolina bill would chill teachers’ speech and misrepresent American history.

Democratic Rep. Kambrell Garvin told the Associated Press the bill would have driven him out of the classroom if it had been law when he was teaching.

“I would have felt intimidated,” Garvin said. “I would have felt worried or concerned had I had to worry about somebody going to report me for teaching a historically significant fact.”

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

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