Saturday, November 8, 2014

KGNU Sunday 12:30 pm with Duncan Campbell on Evans, Sand Creek and the latest civil disobedience in JeffCo



I will be talking with Duncan Campbell on KGNU (FM 88.5, AM 1390) tomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 9th) at 12:30 Mountain Time on John Evans, Sand Creek and police hustling students reading a text book out of the latest Jeffco School Board meeting. The show will be simulcast on www.kgnu.org, and then archive accessible after at www.kgnu.org/shows.php or direct at www.kgnu.org/livingdialogues/1/27/2013.

***

For the DU report on Evans and Sand Creek, a major (100 page) account, and for committee recommendations, see here.

***

"Living Dialogues" will, among other things, offer new insights into the last 15 minutes of Peter Boyles' show Friday, where Peter denounced students at Jeffco schools - all "idlers cutting classes on a warm day" or "dupes" - rather than people serious about learning history and having each one, her own view. These students want serious advanced placement history education (whatever its limitations, for instance, use of a textbook more than reading diverse documents and authors) rather than a Board-imposed "political correctness" on "American exceptionalism," dismissing "disorder" and civil disobedience, that Peter Boyles chooses not to notice.

Such exceptionalism, inaccurately, chooses to forget genocide toward blacks - slavery - and extermination (the 19th century word for genocide, the characterization by Major Wynkoop of Chivington and Evans with whom he had previously agreed). These and other living aspects of American history - say, the Revolution, the Civil War and the civil rights movement - are hardly something to be repainted in feckless, authoritarian colors by a school board operating beyond its authority or competence (perhaps this school board will next deny global warming, evolution, and the like as well...).

***

Because the School Board's action is so corrupt and so threatening of decent education, the students, unusually in the whole country, have staged large and persisting protests. Many of us in Jefferson County are embarrassed by the School Board and it is worth underlining what this reactionary and stupid group of 3 (democracies sometimes decide the wrong thing...) have provoked.

***

The students stand for a fresh birth of democracy and decency.

***

In contrast, Peter's denunciation of them is a sad, elitist and snobby (his words applied more aptly to his statement, which curiously echoes the School Board 3 - see below) performance.

***

At the latest School Board meeting Thursday evening, the students took turns reading from the advanced placement textbook and having the books removed from their hands and being shown out by security officers (see the link to a news film below).

This is quite an original and noble form of civil disobedience - see the CBS story here - and again much to the students' credit. They even said the Pledge of Allegiance at the end, mocking the School Board's pseudo-patriotism.

As for the School Board 3, it is doubtful that any have taken a college history course or know anything about the subject. They could have learned something by sitting still and listening...

***

But just as a few weeks ago, the 3 had police controlling the crowd (letting in, over a couple of hours, only two hundred of over a thousand people), Thursday night they had guards taking textbooks from students, moving students out...

***

What is the objection again, on behalf of freedom, to tyranny?

***

“'We wanted to prove that they don’t listen,'” Tim Palese, a senior at Green Mountain High School, told The AP."

***

But even the most prescient students might not have predicted this...

***

"Fox News 31 [a rare quasi-accurate story except for the omission of the crucial words "civil disobedience" found in the CBS and common dreams stories below, perhaps an attempt to censor the report and Thoreau and Martin Luther King...by some editor in line with the Jeffco School Board]

For a film of the protest, see here.

GOLDEN, Colo. — Students in Jefferson County not pleased about a potential plan to review curriculum, including Advanced Placement U.S. history, disrupted a school board meeting Thursday night.

About a dozen students were escorted out of the meeting by security guards after some some students stood up and read aloud from history textbooks during the meeting, The Associated Press reports.

Some students who spoke at the podium instead of other students whose names were called during the public comment period were ejected, and so was a woman who yelled from the audience.

Another student read a passage about Malcolm X but when his time was up, the microphone was turned off and he was removed.

Someone blew a whistle and some students stood and said the Pledge of Allegiance. Outside of the meeting room, there were chants of “We are the future, let us know our past” before leaving.

“We wanted to prove that they don’t listen,” Tim Palese, a senior at Green Mountain High School, told The AP.

Protests this fall have centered on the curriculum review committee being approved by the board. The board has been under fire after board member Julie Williams said she wanted the curriculum to encourage patriotism and downplay civil disorder.

That sparked several protests, including students walking out of classes."

***

Bob Kinsey sent me a note on the podcast of Peter Boyles' show on the DU report on Evans and Sand Creek here:

"Geez Alan Boyles is a whiz at denying that he is framing things while he frames them according to his pet theories. Obviously he wanted to have kids learning all the minutia of WW2 great sacrificial moments in military history and that if teachers weren't busy on that curricula then they had no business complaining about the school board in Jeffco restricting their teaching with regard to the uncomfortable truths which have been bowdlerized over time. Boyles never heard the point you were making or didn't want it to be heard that AT THE TIME the US Congress condemned Sand Creek, Evans and Chivington and essentially saw Soule as a hero. The question recidivists of history ask is how then did all the monuments disagree with the Congress, and that there is a lot to be learned in examining that naming and remembering process about a whole lot of things such as self justification of the manifest destiny, private property grabs, military lawlessness, and treaty duplicity, as well as the obvious racism that continues to infect our society regardless of whether the names are changed. Boyles wants to chalk it all off to holding 19th Century well meaning "mistakes" to 21st Century faux-values that are espoused only by left leaning history teachers. "

***

The basic point here is that these are just students who want to learn, teachers who want to teach and impartial or objective facts about Sand Creek: that it was a massacre of determinedly peaceful people led by Chivington - not a "battle" - and made possible - the Third Regiment handed to Chivington as a loaded gun (Gary Roberts) - by Governor Evans. This is not about politics in the ordinary sense. Against a Founding Amnesia, it is about seeing clearly how Denver, the state of Colorado and the University of Denver are built out of "ridding us of the roaming Plains indians" (Evans, 1884), as well as of understanding what what the continuing presence of the descendants of the Cheyennes and Arapahos and their recognition in a modern multiracial democracy entails.

***

As Ashlyn Meyer, a student leader naturally prevented from speaking out at the School Board put it on Facebook:

"Our problem is that you, the board majority, passed a redundant, and highly opposed curriculum review committee because you have other motives," Maher said. "You want to limit what we learn so you can push your own political opinion. Our problem is that the nation you want to build consists of people who cannot think critically. We as students want to develop our minds. Critical thinking is our ticket to the future. Do not limit what we learn...Do not try to fool us...Do not pretend that patriotism is turning a blind eye and a passive mind to the changing world around us."

***

The truth about America - that it both defended democracy and a Bill of Rights for some and that it was an extraordinarily oppressive, murderous regime for many others - is also a political opinion, one that happens, if well argued, to be accurate and to challenge students to think.

***

In contrast, the opinion in the mouths of the school board (and even in the older Advanced Placement text, whatever its other merits) is shaded falsely to glorification and emptiness - and herding students out of School Board meetings...

***

The latter is a definition of ideology as opposed to seeking the truth (getting at least some things right about American history). And of course, it needs the police, imposed silence, tone deafness (the School Board 3 and perhaps Peter...) to conduct its "work."

***

"Chalkbeat Colorado reports that 'as part of their demonstration, the students said they had four demands: a public apology from the school board’s conservative majority for referring to students as 'union pawns' [Note: Peter chose to echo the foolishness of the School Board...]; a reversal of an earlier decision to amend content review policies; proof from the board that they listen and act on community input instead of what students called an 'ideological' agenda; and more resources for classroom instruction.'"

***

Recognition of the past is the only basis to achieve some healing, to forge a decent society in the present and future.

***

Friday, November 07, 2014
Common Dreams

Colorado Students Employ Civil Disobedience School Board Sought to Censor

'Do not pretend that patriotism is turning a blind eye and a passive mind to the changing world around us,' student organizer says

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

For photo, see here. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/11/07/colorado-students-employ-civil-disobedience-school-board-sought-censor

An image from one of the student protests in September. (Photo: John Lebya/Denver Post)

Protesting the conservative school board's efforts to censor their history curriculum, more than a dozen students were escorted out of a Jefferson County Board of Education meeting in Colorado on Thursday night after disrupting proceedings by reading from their history textbooks and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The students employed one of the very tactics that school board member Julie Williams was seeking to downplay through a proposed curriculum review committee: civil disobedience. In late September, Williams' proposal—to establish a committee to ensure that the district's history texts promoted positive aspects of the United States and avoided encouragement of "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law"—prompted mass student walk-outs and teacher 'sick-outs.'

"You want to limit what we learn so you can push your own political opinion. Our problem is that the nation you want to build consists of people who cannot think critically."
—Ashlyn Maher, JeffCo Student Network for Change

Many of the students involved in Thursday evening's action were organizers of the September protests.

According to Chicago Public Radio, "the disruptions started when board members refused to let students speak, after they didn’t speak in the order they were called. A few minutes later, one student after another stood up in the public meeting, reciting historic acts of civil disobedience from history textbooks."

The report continues:

When asked to leave the room, students at the podium left or were escorted out peacefully. After another group of students read aloud from history books and were escorted out, about a dozen students stood up in the packed meeting to read the Pledge of Allegiance. They then filed out.

Along with the students were “legal consultants,” law students taking descriptive notes of the scene. That didn’t please one security guard who lobbed several insults at the law students.

Standing in a circle outside the education building, a set of sprinklers suddenly came on. When the students moved out of the way, those sprinklers came on. The pattern repeated until all the sprinklers were on but the students didn’t leave. A security officer came out and informed the group that they were trespassing.

Student organizer Ashlyn Maher, a member of the recently formed JeffCo Student Network for Change, didn't get a chance to speak at Thursday's meeting. She posted her speech on Facebook.

"Our problem is that you, the board majority, passed a redundant, and highly opposed curriculum review committee because you have other motives," Maher said. "You want to limit what we learn so you can push your own political opinion. Our problem is that the nation you want to build consists of people who cannot think critically. We as students want to develop our minds. Critical thinking is our ticket to the future. Do not limit what we learn...Do not try to fool us...Do not pretend that patriotism is turning a blind eye and a passive mind to the changing world around us."

Chalkbeat Colorado reports that "as part of their demonstration, the students said they had four demands: a public apology from the school board’s conservative majority for referring to students as 'union pawns;' a reversal of an earlier decision to amend content review policies; proof from the board that they listen and act on community input instead of what students called an 'ideological' agenda; and more resources for classroom instruction."

Watch security guards take books away from the students in the video of the action below:

For video, see here.

No comments:

Post a Comment