State should reject Hillsdale K-12 curriculum, charter schools, says Sen. Raumesh Akbari

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, issued a sharp rebuke of K-12 curriculum produced by Michigan-based Hillsdale College — a private school that Gov. Bill Lee has tapped to rewrite civics education and open 50 publicly-funded charters schools.

Sen. Akbari’s full statement is included here:

Hillsdale College and their warped version of history have no right to be in our kids’ public schools. Our children deserve to learn the truth about our history — good, bad and ugly — without pretext for the people who justified discrimination and excused violence against black Americans.

There is no legitimate “both sides” to such events and we must not welcome, or pay for, educational materials that pardon clear acts of racism. To gloss over harsh truths or to distort reality for a false narrative is a disrespect to the Tennesseans who played a crucial role in the American Civil Rights Movement and ending the abhorrent practice of government-sanctioned segregation.

Tennessee history is American history. We live in cities where the Civil Rights Movement isn’t just a lesson from a textbook — it’s the real story of our people. Whether students are learning about the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, or the teachings and assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., these lessons should recognize the moral truth of racial equality versus the lie of white supremacy.

This week, News Channel 5 Nashville published a review of Hillsdale’s “1776 Curriculum” shows how it wants schools to teach civics. It relies on approaches developed by university leaders and members of the 1776 Commission appointed by President Donald Trump to develop a “patriotic education” for the nation’s schools.

The report said Hillsdale’s K-12 curriculum “rewrites civil rights history” with a political slant favorable to conservative orthodoxy by misrepresenting leaders such as MLK, Jr. and challenging students to consider the property rights of business owners who discriminated against black Americans.

For example, The high-school American Government and Politics curriculum emphasizes the “meaningful efforts Republicans made to guarantee the rights of African Americans.”

Hillsdale also says students should be taught that “the civil rights movement was almost immediately turned into programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the Founders.”

Visit News Channel 5 to read the full report.

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