Meet Mike Hucksterbee

It's not often that history teachers get to have a good laugh. But this week we enjoyed a rare moment of rolling-on-the-floor laughter.

You see, we're usually grim folks who favor "boring textbooks" and "monotonous lectures" in our quest to indoctrinate children with "filtered," "biased and politically correct" history. At least, that's how Mike Huckabee sees us.

His new company, "Learn our History," helps kids avoid the trauma of teacher-inflected history by selling videos to their parents that offer "children a fun, fresh way to learn about America's rich past." Apparently, operators are now standing by to take orders for the Time Travelers Academy cartoon series.

With production values that rival those of low-budget Saturday-morning cartoons, a plot that sends an unlikely group of bicycle-riding, time-traveling teens back to the Greatest Moments in our past, and a marketing campaign that seems inspired by ShamWow, the whole thing is ripe for ridicule.

It could be really funny, but it's really not.

I'm a former history teacher who has also spent a long time in the world of educational publishing. From the standpoint of history, education and democracy, this is an appalling product.

Make no mistake, this isn't education; it's kiddie-propaganda. The favored narratives—of a nation planted here by God and heroic leaders free from flaws—are driven by pure politics. Simple stories absorbed by young minds—what better way to inoculate younger kids against the unpleasant facts revealed and critical thinking required by real history when they encounter it in school? As one character says about the video experience, "What we see and hear isn't always the same as what we read in books … So what?! We know the truth and that's good enough for us!"

The first video in the series is, of course, "The Reagan Revolution." It shows how the former president, after invoking God, rescued the country from the crime-ridden chaos of the 1970s—as personified by a black mugger. After enjoying this insult to animators everywhere, kids will receive a new video every month—for only $11.95 plus shipping—on topics cherry-picked from other triumphal chapters in our past. Looks like we'll have to wait awhile for the series on unpleasant topics like slavery, Jim Crow, nativism or the treatment of American Indians.

Marketed to "grandparents, parents and homeschoolers" for 4th graders, the series is a cynical attempt to prey on their fears of a changing America. Targeting 9-year-olds is no accident. Few states include history in any curriculum prior to 5th grade. In most places, 4th graders explore geography and learn about their state.

Huckabee's a big fan of David Barton, the right-wing pseudo-historian who peddles the idea that America's founders established a Christian country on Biblical principles. If Huckabee had his way, "every single young person in America would be able to be under his tutelage." Barring that, he'd settle for Barton "writing the curriculum" to highlight American exceptionalism.

There's no denying that the United States is an exceptional nation in many ways. We're exceptional in that we have a founding national creed, articulated in the Declaration of Independence, in which we aspire to equality, individual rights and freedom. We've spent most of our history in a courageous struggle to realize those ideals. We have faith that education can produce adults able to discern truth in the war of ideas, recognize injustice and have the courage to right it, think critically about our decisions and be capable of governing ourselves.

Our history, told warts and all, offers students a chance to see how contending people settled disputes, and how others secured their rights and made the country better. It serves no one—other than those already on top—to serve up a fairy tale history that ignores our imperfections.

For accuracy, most teachers rely on educational publishers who back up their work with scholarship. Usually, their schools and districts require that materials go through a lengthy and often public vetting process before they can be used in classrooms. That isn't good enough for Learn Our History. They've come up with three steps to ensure accuracy. First, their "lead researcher" combs printed and online sources. Next, he or she weaves them into a script that "often uses direct quotations from historical figures."  Finally, it's reviewed for accuracy by at least two members of the Council of Masters.

You heard that right: a Council of Masters.

This august group of four includes historian Larry Schweikart, author of "A Patriot's History of the United States" and a hero of Glenn Beck. That's the only historian. Slots two and three are a political scientist whose expertise is in European political philosophy and an assistant professor whose specializations include "biblical worldview pedagogy." In the last spot is a high school social studies teacher with a B.A. in history. He is also the founder of the Howell Academy, a "private instructional institution," which turns out to be a blog, with two posts. I'll let the English teachers judge them for spelling and grammar.

Let's review: A laughable product with no correlation to either educational standards or vetted curriculum is marketed to credulous and frightened people. It claims to be unbiased and unfiltered, yet promotes a very specific and political worldview associated with right-wing conservative politics. A dubious theocratic cabal, the Council of Masters, provides its imprimatur. Its aim: to indoctrinate youngsters before they actually study history in school.

If this product came from anyone else, it would get nowhere in the marketplace. But because Mike Huckabee, a prominent politician, is involved, it gets airtime and he gets to talk about it with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News.

It's easy to imagine this is an isolated bad idea, but it's really no laughing matter. The assault on history and on education as a means to raise up critical, engaged and informed citizens comes from many fronts these days. We should be teaching more history by engaging kids with the serious and challenging problems of our past. Huckabee thinks the solution is to brainwash kids into thinking that history is entertainment meant to make them feel good.

We know better. History matters. It's meant to help us learn how to change the world.


One of the cardinal

Submitted by Meg Ford on 18 May 2011 - 9:21pm.

One of the cardinal principles I learned years ago as a high-school debater was "Know the source of your information." So, I checked. Ms. Costello, are you - in fact - the director of the Teaching Tolerance project? If so, that is a problem for me. Mr. Huckabee has established himself as a prominent Conservative Republican (I use the capitals intentionally.) I would not expect his opinions to reflect my own. I would, on the other hand, expect a person in the position of "director" of a "Teaching Tolerance" project to approach any conflict of opinion with respectful, vigorous, principled disagreement, not a "rolling-on-the-floor laughter" and "ripe for ridicule" shot across the bow inviting warfare. "Do as I say, not as I do" won't do.

Hi Meg , Thought full

Submitted by Mick on 19 May 2011 - 4:56pm.

Hi Meg ,

Thought full comments. I saw this article on the Hugffington Post page also. Also on a very left wing magazene in the Seattle Area. I checked out the cartoon page also and found what was seen as being pretty low budget . About the quality of John Quest when I was a kid , but there was no Bandit and Johny . '0)

I am disappointed in this organization also since the school district I belong to is using the MIX IT UP Day that this organization promotes . In fact i only found this page because I was looking for good stuff that may be of use . A good idea in my opinion , kids sit where they normally don't , get out of their normal selected social circles and sit with others . It reminded me of something my own church had done , we visited an African American Church and they in turn visted us . Friend ships were formed . Its hard enough for getting us to get out of our comfort zones when we even share the same religion , i would think maureen would consider changing her style if nothing else it turns out she is only singing to her choir , If your a republican , or a Huckabee fan you will tend to take his side , if someone was attacking a Morris Dees or say President Obama , the same thing would occur from the political spectrum .

Others who come from different circles then Maureen obviousl;y will find the method of attacks on the less then creditable history cartoons being anchored with politicasl/idealogy attacks . And basically bad manners and suggesting the motives of Mike Huckabee is a bit twisted . Does she know him ?

Too bad , would have liked to support an organization that would do something about the way our culture is so split , teaching kids to respect each other is something that is not taught by words , but by actions . This editorial was a bad example of tolerating people we disagree with . I found a host of information about this oprganization by right wing groups that suggested they padded their wallets , in fact a quote by Morris dees in the 96 USa articles states . Obviously using this information and attacking Ms Costello would be wrong , sort of like using David barton to attack Mike Huckabee on supporting some terrible cartoons on American History.

"I learned everything I know about hustling from the Baptist Church. Spending Sundays on those hard benches listening to the preacher pitch salvation -- why, it was like getting a Ph.D. in selling."

Using examples of the religious right and such to promote a view of how terrible these cartoons exposed more then I believe Ms Costello intended . Why she even bothered is curious also , obviously if you view them you will know unless their is drastic improvement in content , they will become valueable only to collectors . The market in our free society will cause these cartoons to go away . Not left winged attacks by organizations and people who only reach people who never have bought them anyway .

The rolling-on-the-floor

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 19 May 2011 - 1:20pm.

The rolling-on-the-floor laughter and ridicule were inspired not by Mr. Huckabee's views, which must be taken seriously, but by the incredibly poor quality of both his product and the marketing associated with it. I do not expect to agree with Mr. Huckabee, but I do expect someone who is prominent and wants to be taken seriously not to lend his name to such unworthy projects. The fact that he misrepresents and maligns an entire group (history teachers, of whom I know many fine ones) who soldier daily to help students think and learn to think critically certainly added some fuel to my fire. I'm puzzled by your fact-checking: you clicked on my name and found the bio we supply revealing that I am, indeed the "director" of this program. What you know is that I wrote the piece. The source of what I wrote about came almost entirely from the product website, including the dubious credentials of his fact-checkers. A very careful reader will also note that one of them is represented as a Dr. but has not in fact been awarded his Ph.D., according to the CV available on the site. That is a telling error given the claims about accuracy. Shoddy programs aimed at kids, and cynical attempts to sell to their parents, deserve to be called out.

Ms. Costello, I'd first like

Submitted by Barry Willis on 19 May 2011 - 4:03pm.

Ms. Costello, I'd first like to thank you for your tolerance in absorbing the abuse you're presently taking from those who apparently choose not to heed facts of 'real' events, but instead deal with a patently non-existent 'reality' of their own invention; I, for one, appreciate your patience. The fact that 'some people can't handle the truth' is, to me, not a factor of one's willingness to believe, but more a factor of some 'cerebral limitation' independent of a simple self-induced myopia. It was Tip O'Neill who opined the line about 'entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts', and I believe that it is this idea that is more at work here than any other. Some Americans will live their entire lives, for instance, and never attempt to understand the concept of 'Infinity', or 'Eternity', which makes it doubly hard for many of us to understand why it is these same people who will fight to their deaths to prove that neither entity actually exists. It is indeed shameful, to me, that your noble efforts in the interest of social and cultural tolerance should be met with so jaundiced a reception as this one. Thank you for what you do and believe.

Mr. Willis, I appreciate the

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 20 May 2011 - 8:42pm.

Mr. Willis, I appreciate the support. It is a little stormy in here.

Meg, You are woefully

Submitted by Dick Lancaster on 19 May 2011 - 12:56pm.


You are woefully ignorant about liberals. They do not debate; they ridicule.

That's rich, Dick; you

Submitted by Barry Willis on 19 May 2011 - 4:29pm.

That's rich, Dick; you calling somebody else 'woefully ignorant'! Tell me.... is that worse than 'willingly ignorant'?

I'm a high school history

Submitted by stan cooper on 18 May 2011 - 12:05pm.

I'm a high school history teacher, and I teach video production. I visited the site. None of this is usable, it is fluff and we are so driven by standards that unless those standards are identified in the video, it would be a waste of time. They are going to have a hell of a time marketing this. My students would LOL at this poor production

As I predicted, Steve, you

Submitted by Dick Lancaster on 18 May 2011 - 3:23pm.

As I predicted, Steve, you avoided the invader/immigrant difference. The reason you have a door on your house is rooted in the same base motive we have a border around our country. Leave your door wide open for a couple of weeks and see what happens. Then tell me how much love you have for those less fortunate.

I'm sorry but I think that

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 4 July 2011 - 2:20pm.

I'm sorry but I think that this example is like comparing apples to oranges - close, but not quite the same thing, and a little too simplistic.

Don't look now, Ms. Costello,

Submitted by Anon on 18 May 2011 - 11:39am.

Don't look now, Ms. Costello, but your bias is showing!

One of history's lessons will

Submitted by Dick Lancaster on 17 May 2011 - 3:10pm.

One of history's lessons will never see the light of day from Ms. Costello's viewpoint. While we fight amongst ourselves we are being invaded by a people who do not wish to share our culture. They wish to steal our wealth. These are the foriegn invaders that pour over our borders daily. The SPLC erroneously calls these invaders immigrants.

The native Americans had a similar problem fighting among themselves while being invaded by a people that had no intention of giving up their culture to adapt that of the natives. Today, the native culture survives mainly in museums and books with a few pockets of practice.

Teach that! and you will change the course of the present we will shortly call history.

Dick, I am having trouble

Submitted by Barb Schade on 17 May 2011 - 4:16pm.


I am having trouble understanding your comment. I have two questions that may help my understanding.

1) Are you a Native American?

2) What do you mean by "our" culture?

Indeed! Well asked, Barb.

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 17 May 2011 - 4:26pm.

Indeed! Well asked, Barb. Who are these "invaders"? Why are "they" being accused of the things they are being accused of? And yes, please define "our culture". Because whatever culture it is that you seem to be concerned about trying to preserve, Mr. Lancaster, I am not at all sure I want to share it with you, and I am about as American as anyone can get, lol.

Love, Lianna

I also agree with Ms.

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 17 May 2011 - 4:36pm.

I also agree with Ms. Costello regarding being discerning. We all know that while we try to be "non-judgmental", we all make value judgments all the time regarding what we like and what we don't, what we hold as a "value" and what we don't, what we can allow and what we cannot, etc.

So in the end, we all will, indeed, make our own decisions and choices based on our own personal values, and if we are not discerning, then we would just say "yes" (or perhaps "no") to everything without another thought.

So I don't think we need to apologize for using our own discretionary powers of discernment, or for keeping to each of our own personal values. But in the interest of being able to make INFORMED choices, again, I was happy to be given the "heads up" about these videos and Mr. Huckerbees involvement so that I could make my own informed choice about all of it.

Thanks Ms. Costello! I remain an ardent fan of Teaching Tolerance, I think you all are doing a GREAT job, and I am learning much from ALL of these comments here.

Love, Lianna

To satisfy some curiosity,

Submitted by Dick Lancaster on 18 May 2011 - 10:21am.

To satisfy some curiosity, Yes, I am native American. I was born here as were my parents, grandparents and so on down the line until at some point, a gutsy Welshman boarded a ship in his native Wales and broke the chain of my native American ancestry.

By “our” culture I mean that unique blend of western civilization dominated by British traditions and culled into a revolutionary experiment along Christian principles called freedom. It was the first time in recorded history such a condition was extended to the peasantry.

The invaders are any foreigner who enters our country illegally and thinks they are entitled to stay. Many of them enjoy the handouts our government gives them by pulling our pockets dry. An immigrant is a foreigner who applied for, worked for and waited long years for the privilege to be an American. He is the primary authority on American exceptionalism because he has the most recent experience with tyranny, poverty and hopelessness. Many of the invaders demonstrate America’s exceptionalism just by their presence here. But most of them would rather drain the wealth that the real immigrant creates and send it back to their miserable homeland.

The cries of poverty and prejudice from American-born fools are a testament to their complacency and ignorance. We have an invasion precisely because our poverty is so coveted. The present communist administration is doing its best to strengthen the existing oligarchy and eliminate the middle class. We do this to ourselves from time to time because we do get complacent. We allow our citizens to degrade their own country. We allow foolishness. We allow debauchery. We have to; we’re free.
But we have also established a history of freedom which has become embedded in our cultural psyche and no matter how complacent we become, there comes a point when we feel it slipping away; being taken from us. That's when we notice we have it and its value. While some of us will continue to embrace those that will cut their throats, most of us will not. You see, most of us will wake up and realize that tolerance can also be a crime; a crime of omission.

If you see an old lady on the street being beaten and you do nothing to stop it, you are tolerating it. You are either a coward or a criminal. The SPLC was founded on non-tolerance of this kind of behavior. Dees was far from a coward then. But some go even further than tolerance and actually help the assailants escape justice. In this instance, you become evil; and in a national context, a traitor.

Although my hope with these posts is to enlighten the ignorant (not the stupid) I am always interested to see the convoluted responses by pseudo intellectuals that rarely reply to the point. If I have really made an inarguable point, my post is censored. Let’s see where this one goes.

In reply to Dick Lancaster,

Submitted by Steve Broome on 18 May 2011 - 11:02am.

In reply to Dick Lancaster, from a certain point of view, I am an invader here. My ancestors came to the country in time to fight in the Revolutionary War, and they laid claim to land that did not belong to them, but to the people who lived here, if the land ever truly belonged to anyone.

It sounds to me as though you feel oppressed, and that you think that anyone with brains would agree with you that this nation must be defended against immigrants. Though I would question the accuracy of your worldview, you are welcome to your feelings, but please recognize that others may not agree for well-considered reasons of their own.

Despite the best efforts of those who would generate fear, some Americans speak about the deep peace and wellbeing which many of us enjoy. Some of us think in terms of sharing our security with those who want to live here with us, rather than walling off the southern border with Mexico, for instance. And yet we share this country with you, and take your concerns seriously. There may be some people who can be bullied or insulted into silence when you speak, but few would be compelled to agree with you just because you think you have it all figured out. The trick here is to speak, and then also to listen. Assume the humanity and decency and thoughtfulness of those who don't agree with you, and see where that conversation goes.

WOW! Steve, I certainly

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 18 May 2011 - 12:50pm.

WOW! Steve, I certainly could not have said it better. I am neither stupid, nor ignorant, just because I disagree with Mr. Lancaster, nor will I be bullied by him into silence. I think, based on what I have seen here only, that you hit the nail on the head, Steve. Thank you for saying that. And I think I made my points well, and do not need to feed into Mr. Lancaster's comments by addressing them any further. My points stand. He missed them. Further discussion in this climate of animosity would only be a "pissing contest" and would serve no useful purpose. I learned as a cop not to argue with anyone you cannot reason with. I am sure Mr. Lancaster would likely agree with me if only on that point, lol. And that's fine with me.

Ms. Costello, if your bias was showing, it was for a good reason, and again, I appreciated the head's up.

About this site being liberal and secular: That is not true, so why advertise it as such? I have seen MANY VERY conservative people on here, and MANY very religious people, including myself. Their faith does not threaten me. I've seen wise and foolish posts on both sides. It's a mix here. But I thought we were all united in the goals of teaching tolerance, and guess what folks? That is NO simple task, as we are all demonstrating very clearly right here, as the "choir". It's ok to preach to the choir,too, because they sing the loudest. But at some point we need to reach beyond. How will we do that if we cannot even talk civilly here? Let alone LISTEN to one another, practice REFLECTIVE LISTENING SKILLS, and UNDERSTAND what each other are saying...??? And yes, I acknowledge that I am guilty of this failure as well. But I'm still trying, and I hope you all are too.

I also loved what the gentleman wrote who was talking about how we can dissent without seeming to be or becoming intolerant. I think it is all about being discerning, honest, RESPECTFUL, and learning how to LISTEN.

A suggestion: "Appreciative inquiry". There are books on it. :o)

I'm one of "those Native

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 17 May 2011 - 4:04pm.

I'm one of "those Native Americans"....

I thank the Creator that my Native culture does not survive mainly in a museum and books but is practiced wholly by many of us. And even though we practically literally had Christianity shoved down our throats, many of us remain non-Christian and traditional. I thank the Creator for that as well.

I cannot believe what I am reading here, on one of my favorite sites.

Someone else here just asked why there is so much "Christian bashing" here. I guess it depends on how you look at things. When you have spent the majority of your life being judged negatively by Christians for not being a Christian; watching the majority in this country reap unearned privileges (Christians) who take them entirely for granted as being "deserved"; being actively discriminated against for not being a Christian; attending the funeral of a friend who was murdered for not being a Christian; being tired of hearing prayers at your kids sporting events and graduations in the name of Jesus and no one else; going into court and automatically being presented with a Bible to swear upon while having the Christian faith traditions laws staring down at you to the obvious exclusion of all others, despite our "separation of church and state" - something which will at least go away after they have all been challenged in court one by one; you tend to get a wee bit defensive and look upon many Christians as not very Christ-like and with a bit of caution and wariness.

But when someone such as myself, who has experienced all of the above and more, has the nerve to speak out, without attacking, but honestly, about these things, and asks Christians to please try to leave me in peace as I mind my own business, at least, it is understood by those Christians as "Christian bashing".

When you point out to someone that they are stepping on your neck and they accuse you of attacking them, what do you do?

In my opinion, while it IS true that "bashing" of ALL of us, including Christians, DOES unfairly occur, how does one say to someone who has offended them "you are offending me, please stop" without being accused of "bashing" them? To the Christians here who feel "bashed", I very sincerely ask you: How should non-Christians who have been hurt by Christians, and Christians who feel "bashed", go about resolving their issues? I would sincerely welcome your honest ideas, not an angry defensive response. Because it has been my experience that Christians have not cared that they have hurt me, when they have, and rather then cease and desist, let alone apologize, they have simply made justifications and continued. There have been a few wonderful exceptions, which is why I still do not judge an entire group based on a few. But my experience of Christianity has been mostly a direct one filled with anger, judgment, arrogance and hypocrisy and some real violence.

The way I would follow Jesus, if I were a Christian (and Jesus IS awesome, but I sometimes do pray that I be protected from some of His followers), would be to model His love and non-judgmental nature. I don't see many Christians these days doing that. I'm sorry. That has just been my experience.

This site and other things have taught me that without REAL, HONEST dialogue, we will never get past our differences and get along. So again, I would genuinely like to hear some answers to this dilemma.

Because when I am silent, I am disrespected, misunderstood, ignored, dismissed, attacked or discriminated against. When I speak up, no matter how kindly I try to word things, I am "Christian bashing.

Regarding Mr. Lancaster's comments, I found them to be pretty inflammatory and inaccurate. And rather funny, since from my perspective, at least on my mom's side for sure, unless you are a full-blooded Native American, Mr. Lancaster, you are descended from those "foreign invaders", lol. I'm really just making a joke there, no offense meant, seriously, but it is a joke with a bit of a serious point.

Which foreign invaders are you talking about? I would have guessed perhaps those from Mexico, mostly? Or are you speaking about Muslim "invaders"? I'm sorry, both are just a little "over the top" for me to take seriously. I am not threatened by any of the people who come into our country. Maybe if you understood them better, neither would you be? That is a judgment, I know, I apologize. But it was an honest thought. And please don't assume, based on that question/thought, that I don't know anything about the ramifications of immigration, legal or otherwise, or that I don't know about Muslims, etc. I have several Muslim friends (gasp!). :o) I have several "illegal" Mexican friends. (double-gasp!) :o) And I DO care about many of the issues surrounding immigration, but I care about people, ALL people, and our world, more.

I think we are ALL too selfish, arrogant and judgmental. ALL of us. And the Creator of all of us, if there is One, is not proud of our continued behavior. We are like bitter little children, sniping back and forth. Me included. I am not proud of it. But I can't stop entirely on my own. I need help. We all do. How do we begin?

Better, more productive dialogue. My opinion, for what it's worth.

"Teaching Tolerance". Shouldn't it start here with us?

Love, Lianna

I did not appreciate the name

Submitted by Mick on 17 May 2011 - 10:59pm.

I did not appreciate the name change to mock Mike Huckabee in order to show a disagreement in historical content by the writer Ms Costello either . Also noticed the attempt to denigrate Mike Huckabee by aligning him with religious right . McCarthy like tactics .
How many of us grew up with drawing those pictures of the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
Historical perspective , either from a Howard Zinn anti America understanding or a Carl Sandburg Bio of Abraham Lincoln indeed has its merits .

The mis treatment of the Natives , including slavery should not be hidden . Slavery has been part of all history , including the Natives found in North America , in fact slavery is happening in parts of the world today . But when we learn the histories of the Native people here , do we get bias because of the fact they often used slavery , mistreated women and children , and of course were literally living in the stone age when European explorers/invaders came . I read from a history book that was 70 years old that stated Indians were drunks mostly . I could not believe it, it actually stated that in a school book . But it seems we go from extremes to another extreme here.

I recall listening to four lectures in college on FDR . All with a different perspective , one he was a great president , one he was average but was president during great times , one was he was a lousy President , and One put me to sleep.

The history of the United States is indeed important to learn , but history shows the United States indeed filled with flaws, mistakes , discrimination and violence . But to be critical of the United States does not mean we have to shelter the history of those the government abused. In my area our Native Americans were still murdering their babies not too long ago who were born if they were twins, it was because of a religious belief . Tribes from up north would come here and take their women and children , rape and use them for labor . This was long after our own American Civil War . Because Native Americans were treated unfairly by our government surely did not mean they did not at times themselves treat others unfairly . To teach about the way Native American language and culture was taken away from them is important , but it is also important to learn how they used that language to help America fight the war in the Pacific by means of codes against the Japanese Army .

Growing up I became somewhat of a Civil War History Buff , I remember writing a report in the 4th grade on the battle of Shiloh . Telling my brother about it he told me I would forget everything I told him about the battle next week . Actually that was over 45 years ago and I still remember that each side lost about 20,000 lives , 40,000 total in ust a few days of fighting . It left an im-pression on me , some of us have a learning style that historical accounts just feed into . we are all different, and I would expect a little more tolerance from an organization that is suppose to teach tolerance .
Perhaps the videos are not up to par, neither are all your materials . Some are good , some are not . Should we mis spell your name to be critical ? Why are those who who support you here speaking about Christians with a negative atached to them for ?

These are the principles the web site hoped to inspire . In fact all kids do better with a faith in God , any religion for that matter and have these principles taught according to organizatuions that promote mentoring . . Regardless if those principles are taught from a liberal, moderate or conservative perspective .

The need to stand up to bullies
The importance of self-respect and respect for others -including their elders
Belief in democratic values such as freedom and equality
Faith in God as a key principle in America’s development and greatness

Mick, I am only going to

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 18 May 2011 - 1:13pm.

Mick, I am only going to address one of the points in your post that disturbed me, because the rest would take too long, and I am too "wordy" for most as it is, lol.

I addressed this more in another post on this thread, but the main reason you sometimes see some people attaching a negative feeling towards Christianity is likely, imo, for 2 reasons.

1) The Christian majority has, for a long time in this country, enjoyed an "unearned privilege" that is now being challenged, and when it is, the reaction of many Christians is to understandably feel "attacked" or "bashed", but that is not what is actually happening.

2) It is the "mission" of many Christian traditions to try to convert as many as they possibly can. This mission includes within it the assumption that Christians have it "right" and everyone else has it "wrong". That is a rather arrogant presumption, and some people get tired of having Christianity pushed on them, having to see it represented to the exclusion of all others in our public government buildings (at least until they've all been challenged and removed), and having many Christians judge those of us who are not Christian, and oftentimes discriminate against them. I've seen this SO often, and the response that Christians are being mistreated as well has, in my opinion, NO COMPARISON to what Christianity has imposed upon other throughout history and here in the U.S. up until this moment, and continues.

So I am sure, as these these are being challeneged, and more and more people who are not Christian "appear on the scene" and speak out against being marginalized and denigrated for being non-Christian, as though that makes them all "damned", "Godless", "wrong", etc., can be very threatening. But the bigger picture needs to be looked at here. And I know this is not what this thread is about, per se, but I keep seeing that question:

Why are Christians being "bashed" or thought of "negatively".

Christians are as Christians do, just like with all of us. This is a situation that in my opinion REALLY needs addressing from all sides, because strangely, in a way, I feel for these Christians who are feeling this change happening but are clueless as to why it is happening and so they just feel "attacked" all of a sudden.

I think this is why. Christians are going to have to learn to "let go" a little bit of the unearned privileges which they have enjoyed without even thinking consciously about them, and have taken totally for granted, as other people step up to say "Hey, we are here too, and we expect to have our traditions, our dietary requirements, our holidays, our religious laws, etc., respected as much as the Christians or any others."

It is respect for ALL or NONE. Simple. Not so simple for those who have lived in the privileged majority their whole lives to give up that status. And some empathy, compassion, dialogue and assistance should be offered by the rest of us during this transition.

The U.S.A. is NOT a Christian country. It is not a theocracy. It is a secular country that has within it Christians, Muslims, Jews, those who live indigenous spiritual lives, Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and MANY other traditions.

And the old argument about whether or not the founding fathers (AND MOTHERS) were Christians or deists is beside the point now! Moot point! Because we ARE supposed to have freedom of religion here, for ALL, and a separation of church and state (which Christians have largely ignored until recently, because they were challenged about it and lost), and that means for everyone.

I hope that gives at least some food for thought. It is a very apparent answer to me, and I can understand why it has evaded most Christians, who remain innocently confused about it. I hope we can all change that together.

And in my opinion, for what it is worth, lol, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. How Christians choose to deal with this situation will be very telling as to whether or not they are trying to be Christ-like or not.

Lianna no doubt there are

Submitted by Mick on 19 May 2011 - 12:37pm.

Lianna no doubt there are people who are Christians who behave badly . Unfortunate . The very nature of being among any religion usually says you are convinnced of its beliefs and it is why you joined . During the start of Christianity in Israel they were controled by one of the most plurastic cultures at the time, Rome . Rome also supported different types of sexual realtionships . Israel culture and morality was quite traditional .But their open minded attitutudes from our modern perspectives in Rome also promoted some of the most treacheous torture methods that would make Dick Chenny heads spin . They treated women and children without dignity, they murdered and enslaved populations that wouldjoin them . If you go on a college campuss today , being an Evangelical or devout Catholic will being you ridicule . Homosexuals are bullied in K -12 and college also , but the fact is they are bullied because bullies tend to pick on people who are weaker and different . In many secular corners those who have an emotional investment agaisnt religion , will use Christian beliefs in attempts to show Evangelicals cause homosexual suicides .
How often have we seen one side of tolerance BLAME and SHAME other groups of people for their religious , moral or cultural norms . Religion blamed for slavery . Martin Luther King would be offended by the modern statements that indeed like I supported some of their goals by those making them . Diversity should not leave one group feeling empowered and one feeling ridiculed aits being ignored or mis represented . Which is exactly what you do here . Yeah lets get rid of all those dominat religious things by legal means . How dare we put a hand on the Bible like President Obama did when he was sworn in to office . Lets have him say OkIE DOKIE spit in your eye if i lie .

Of course the U.S is not a Christian nation . I don'ty think it ever was , during our beginnings one of the only books found in many homes was the Bible , so our culture and origins from the first explorers is part of our culture now . It happens to have many who are Christians in it also . The so called religious right and the religious left have caused much damage in my opinion to the way Christianity is seen , but The First Amendment was written with so people who may try to incoprporate their religious doctrines into our way of life by laws was stopped .. At the time of the Founding being a Christian and kissing babies appeared to be a requirement , but it was a cultural requirment .
In 19993 Bill Clinton signed into law a bill that stopped the attempts of secularists and the new anti God crowds that began their methods of intimidation and law suits that cost school districts so much money . The Equal Access Legislation should be part of any teaching tolerance curricullum . Its missing here unfortunately . I am not a Muslim , but if as Muslim group wanted to start a church club thay sure better have access at my school , especially if the Christians do . Thats how we learn to live to togher , not by saying your religion is as valid as mine , but saying you are vadid as me .

Many districts just surrenedered to avoid legal bills. But of course if you have club that offers chess, or a club that offers gay clubs , you have to allow equal access to Bible clubs . Why kids in this day and age join Bible clubs being subject to ridicule and being told about believing in fairtalles is beyond me , but I guess its good for their character .

I too found your comments totally in disagreement with my views . But regardless when we are dealing with public schools , your anti Christian views are not or should ever be part of policy , as are my pro Christian views should never . I learned in show and tell about the Jesish Tradition from a younf 11 year old who shared her traditions and Faith in class. Schools are not as open to faith as they should be , now all we learn about Faiths is what left winged organizations like this promote who see religions as the way you put it , or from religious right organizations whom some I believe would not allow Jesus into their ranks because of their high standards .

I rather allow kids to learn that their friends they play with everyday ave a Faith that teaches them to be all they can be , to be kind to their neigbor , and to have a Spirtual way of communication with God when bad things happen to them or when good things happen .

Appears your way just replaces past sins of Christian dominance for new sins of Christian persecution .


Good grief, Mick, did you not

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 4 July 2011 - 2:16pm.

Good grief, Mick, did you not read or comprehend half of all I wrote? I don't think I could have possibly been any clearer, yet you have put words in my mouth I never used, and you have made assumptions about my meaning that I cannot understand. Actually, it was very difficult for me to read what you wrote, much of it was unclear, and for half of it, I wasn't sure what your point was.

I am NOT

I was NOT suggesting that we replace past sins of Christian dominance for new sins of Christian persecution. In fact, many of the sins of Christian dominance are still prevalent, which was part of the question I was posing to you, which you never bothered to address at all, let alone answer: How do people like me (many of whom belong to religions other than Paganism) deal with Christians who attack us, discriminate against us, etc.? How do we deal with the unearned privileges Christians enjoy, so that there is equity for ALL, without being called "Christian bashers"? I DO NOT WISH TO BASH CHRISTIANS. I couldn't care less what anyone believes. What I wish is to be treated the same in return, and that has NOT been the case in my life.

I listed several examples, asked several fair questions, and you ignored them all.

Regarding what you said in response to my question about the fact that most people are presented with Bibles to swear upon in court: "Diversity should not leave one group feeling empowered and one feeling ridiculed aits being ignored or mis represented . Which is exactly what you do here . Yeah lets get rid of all those dominat religious things by legal means . How dare we put a hand on the Bible like President Obama did when he was sworn in to office . Lets have him say OkIE DOKIE spit in your eye if i lie ."

How, exactly, did I leave one group feeling empowered and one feeling ridiculed as it is being ignored or mis-represented? (Which you said is what I do here) Yes, absolutely, it is obvious that we must remove the dominance of Christianity from our courtrooms, for example, so that ALL may feel equal when entering OUR courtroom, as a diverse nation of peoples and religions, and that we have to do it by legal means is only further proof of how tightly the dominant Christian power is holding onto that power, and that need to feel superior and "entitled" to have their religious laws posted for all to see in a public building, to the exclusion of all others.

Now, if we were to also put the laws of other religions on the walls, in the same "size" and prominence at the Ten Commandments, I'd be fine with that! I've said before, if it is not fair to ALL, it is fair to no one!
But, I think that would be impractical, as the walls would get very crowded very quickly, and, I don't think it is appropriate in the first place, because of the separation of church and state. Each religions laws should be posted in their churches, not in our courtrooms.

As far as swearing on Bibles goes, legally, we can swear on whatever book is holy to us when we take office, or on NONE, and the same in court, and/or we can take an affirmation that we will tell the truth simply by holding our hand up and swearing to do just that, with no religious reference needed. Happens every day in court. And that is preferable to being automatically handed a Bible, then having to say "sorry, can't use that, not a Christian" and receiving all the dirty looks that follow. Yeah, that's always made me feel valued and "respected in court. No stress there. I do not think anyone needs to swear an oath as ridiculous as OkIE DOKIE spit in your eye if i lie". If someone is elected to a public office, those who elected them ostensibly trust them enough to swear to uphold that office under the power of their own morality, without the need to swear on a book. Because surely no one would ever promise to tell the truth and then break that promise because they swore on a Bible. Let me tell you as a cop, a Bible does not prevent perjury, and it has not seemed to prevent politicians from doing evil either.... But my biggest point here is that it does not have to be a Bible, and it should NEVER BE ASSUMED to need to be a Bible.

Please listen to me: I am NOT "anti" Christian. What I tried to explain to you before is that there have been a great many "Christians" who have done horrible things to me, to many people I know, and throughout history. There have been many genocides perpetrated by humans over history, but of those which were religious in nature (emphasis added), Christianity, historically, seems to win the award. That does NOT mean that I think for one second that other religions are better or more peaceful, in general, but as a comparison, when was the last time you heard of Buddhists going on a crusade or starting an inquisition?

What I was discussing before, and you never responded to, was the issue of the unearned privilege of Christians in this country, who take it for granted, expect it, demand it, and call it "Christian bashing" when those unearned privileges are challenged for the sake of trying to be more fair to others, finally???

Much of what you wrote about fairness, etc., I totally agree with. I just can't understand how you arrived at my being "anti-Christian" if you read what I wrote. ? Believe me, I do love the idea of Jesus, I just have not personally seen much of what he was supposed to have taught exhibited in the words and actions of many of those who profess to follow Him. But many others do, and I totally respect and love those.

I do NOT want to see Christians treated unfairly, or ignored, or dismissed! Not at all! I would like to see everyone treated fairly, but Christianity is still dominant here, and what is being felt as "bashing" is, in my opinion, the Christian reaction to having their status challenged at every turn by those whom they have continued to stand over and/or oppress in one form or another.

I hope I have finally made myself clear.

Love, Lianna

To those Christians who feel

Submitted by Alan Humphrey on 24 May 2011 - 2:50pm.

To those Christians who feel bashed: take it like a Christian and turn the other cheek.

Let's see: Title of

Submitted by Michael Ballard on 17 May 2011 - 3:06pm.

Let's see: Title of publication: Teaching Tolerance. Article: Doesn't quite fit the publication title. I think I could tell which way the article was going but the cutsie (and insulting) title of the article. I wonder, since you are a former history teacher, if you would call your kids by the wrong name (on purpose, that is. Accidents do happen).

I really think perhaps you should retitle the magazine Teaching Intolerance, because that's what both sides of the political spectrum is doing.

Often times we tend to focus on revised truths (interesting combination of terms) that are interesting, provocative, attention-grabbing... but don't tell the whole story. I still remember the flap that came about as a result of the book on Washington's expense accounts during the Revolution. People focused on Washington, the crook.... not the man who held the army together.


Mike, Teaching Tolerance got

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 17 May 2011 - 3:43pm.


Teaching Tolerance got its title from our role in creating and promoting anti-bias materials that are meant to prevent and reduce stereotyping and prejudice.

Being appreciative of diversity and accepting of cultural difference does not mean one leaves one's critical faculties at the door when confronted by bad ideas. We don't tolerate those.

As for "revised truths" (your combination of terms), the truth is being ever uncovered. What historical revision does is ADD to the trove of knowledge. So when old truths were rediscovered and added to the trove of information about Washington it doesn't replace what we knew about his leadership, but it adds to what we know about the frailties of even our most revered leaders. And in my mind, that's not a bad lesson for anyone to learn. The only revisionism that really worries me is when folks want to hide or subtract what we know.

Watching the Regan Revolution

Submitted by Cathy C. on 17 May 2011 - 3:00pm.

Watching the Regan Revolution clip one can almost hear the Mighty Mouse theme song playing in the background, "Here I come to save the day..."

I appreciate your article,

Submitted by Donna Gabriel on 17 May 2011 - 2:57pm.

I appreciate your article, but what I find very hurtful is the way that those involved in Teaching Tolerance bash Christians. If we have a right to believe the way we want, worship the way we want, print books etc. under free speech, then why is it that Christians seem too often be the subject of attack when we do just that? No one, is forcing anyone to by material that promotes our faith. It's there if you are interested...that's all. I will agree that there are those who take Christianity to a more dangerous level and they need to be called out, but just like all Muslims are not terrorists, all Christians are not extremists! We have every right to produce educational material that supports our beliefs…just like you have every right not to buy it.

My point was not to denigrate

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 17 May 2011 - 3:34pm.

My point was not to denigrate Christians, but to point out a falsity in the way the product was described and the reality behind it. Nowhere does Huckabee or the website's promotional verbiage identify these as "educational materials that support" certain religious beliefs. In fact, the very opposite is claimed: that these alone are objective and factual and that the history kids get in school is otherwise. It took a good bit of digging to find out that the cartoons do in fact promote a certain kind of conservative Christian worldview. That's fine, but be honest about it. As I recall, omission is a kind of lie.

Maureen you want Mike

Submitted by Mick on 18 May 2011 - 11:15am.

Maureen you want Mike Huckabee to list on his packaging this is a conservative Christian world view ? I have to wonder why you do not list on your web this is a liberal secular view ?

Really hope you particpate in mix it up day , but please try to consider if the person you are sitting with speaks from their heart , from their view point and does not feel it is neccessary to warn you where they are coming from because of their culture , that ommission is not a lie sheeesh

To suggest that our Founding

Submitted by Doug on 17 May 2011 - 2:44pm.

To suggest that our Founding Fathers did not incorporate Biblical principles is either sadly ignorant or completely dishonest.

Tocqueville who studied our liberty in the early years credited Americas success to the influence of Christianity. He wrote, "The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other;"

There are countless other references to support the importance of Christianity in the founding of our country, and our country's success.

I recommend you read

Submitted by laprofe63 on 19 May 2011 - 1:04pm.

I recommend you read _Encountering God_ by Diana Eck to understand how this is not about the importance of Christianity to the history of the United States, but about the importance of pluralism to its future.

Just because this country was founded by Christians doesn't mean that they did it right. They proceeded to exclude everyone who wasn't Christian by labeling them "uncivilized," when they weren't also stealing their land and labor. They got some of the ideas right, but those came from the decidedly unreligious Enlightenment!

All those great "Christian values" of the founders produced a racist country that systematically defines its "we the people" in exclusionary terms. In other words, those great Christian founders were really thinking: we the white Christians, are the people and everyone else is second best, if that.

Also, I'm quite curious about what those "successes" are that you speak of, attributable to our Christian foundation? Our economic success is due to our pursuit of the happiness of wealth, not from our pursuit of Jesus-likeness, who scorned that kind of thing even if some of his followers didn't/don't. Our success as an Empire is not due to our "turning the other cheek" rather from our muscular war machinery. So, do tell....

I'm offended at your comments

Submitted by Clair Eads on 17 May 2011 - 2:31pm.

I'm offended at your comments while you boast of Teaching Tolerance. Does that mean tolerance for your own views only? I don't know Mike Huckabee or his politics as well as you seem to but I'm trying to teach tolerance in my classroom with products I've received from your organization. This is the first I've read of your IN-tolerance!

In response to Claire Eads'

Submitted by Steve Broome on 18 May 2011 - 10:28am.

In response to Claire Eads' comment, what is the best response to intolerance? The article points out Mike Huckabee's narrow and intolerant view of history, which doesn't seem to concern you, perhaps because you agree with his worldview. But you find the review of his intolerance to be intolerant.

I confess that this is a challenge for me: I am relatively intolerant of intolerance myself. But you seem to be selectively intolerant of intolerance, which is probably somewhat true of everyone who reads this article. So my question, which might be interesting to a sociologist, is this: how do we indicate our frustration with intolerance without sounding (or becoming) intolerant ourselves?

I don't think that it ever helps us, as a nation, to promote a narrow worldview, cast in terms of good (those who agree with me) and evil (those who don't agree with me), but there are politicians and occasionally even a president who see the world that way. Part of the problem with that approach is that anyone who disagrees or dissents is demonized. That way of thinking and speaking and fighting wars should have died with Joe McCarthy, but it didn't. The people who speak on behalf of us all (politicians claim to do this), and those who would teach, should be held to a higher standard which reflects the breadth of our diversity and not merely their own outlook. Mike Huckabee is smart enough to be able to do that, and it is okay for us to ask him to do better.

I am consumed with interest

Submitted by CButcher on 17 May 2011 - 2:17pm.

I am consumed with interest to know where this "objective" history can be found. History is used for political (and other) purposes from the moment it's written down to the moment it appears in a child's history book after receiving the Texas Board of Education's seal of approval. If anyone has access to an objective version of events, I would like to know how I could share in that information, short of ascending into heaven. While I'm waiting I will continue my policy of refusing to argue with psychotic people, refusing to reason with ignorant people, and refusing to trust scared people. They all write very poor history.

I haven't seen Mike

Submitted by Thom Seabolt on 16 May 2011 - 10:51am.

I haven't seen Mike Huckabee's "version" of history; however, using cartoons to illustrate history is nothing new that's for sure. Some good cartoons; some bad cartoons.

As far as the so-called "Christian state" is concerned: our founding fathers' were primarily Christians and that great documented you mentioned (The Declaration of Independence) also includes the phrase "endowed by their Creator", which seems to say that we as a country were (at some time in the past) a "God fearing" population of believers. So, even you so-called "Historians" choose what to include or exclude in your renditions of history.

You, like our current President, have recently chosen to INCLUDE mostly the anti-Ameircan "flaws" about our great country and its great leaders, versus those also-relevant facts about the good / great things in this great country. And just for history's sake, let us not forget about other true historians (like Newt Gingrich) whose collection of historical facts may differ from history teachers' collections. To put it frankly, you being a history "teacher" does not necessarily make you any more of an "historian" as anyone else, because (as you so clearly put it) you can only teach what is "approved"............or perhaps your personal interpretation (or spin) of the same........not much different than the rest of us.....including Mr. Huckabee.


P.S. You members of the "intellectual elite" are constantly proving that you are becoming much less intellectual and only elite in your own self-serving opinions of yourselves........

Our founding fathers were NOT

Submitted by Reyn on 20 May 2011 - 10:42am.

Our founding fathers were NOT primarily Christian, they were primarily deists - a HUGE difference. Even those long assumed to be Christian, George Washington for example, were probably not. St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Albany NY is in possession, for example, of a letter written to its rector by the rector of the parish which Mrs. Washington attended and where George was a vestry member. In that letter, the rector of Washington's parish notes that the president does not take Eucharist and is not a practicing Christian. Why on the vestry then? Because at the time the vestries of Episcopal churches in states that had the Episcopal church established (Virginia did at the time) ran the local social welfare programs - and Washington was involved in that.

The assertion that the founders were primarily Christian (with Christian usually understood to mean proto-evangelical - which was even less true) is a perfect example of a dangerous and false assertion being inserted into a discussion of history.

History is written by the victors, and at this point in time, America (a nation in which my family has resided since long before the Revolutionary war) has been the victor for so long that it can afford some increased critical examination of its history and some greater truth. There are many flaws in our history - that does not somehow reduce us, far from it - acknowledging that demonstrates our humanity, our honesty - and through that honesty, our strength.

Your post reads like a list of talking points - and it shouldn't.

I am not a history teacher, nor do I consider myself an intellectual elite, though I am well educated and a professional -- nor do I ever hear that phrase except from those on the extreme Right, who, I increasingly worry about.

Using insults and attacks as a part of an argument only shows how weak your position is, and how well, in your heart, you know it.

I have to finish a paper for

Submitted by Stephanie Regan on 17 May 2011 - 4:01pm.

I have to finish a paper for my class so it will not be well written but I needed to comment. First "endowed by their Creator" "and "God fearing" doesn't mean that they meant the country to be about religion. Remember! Separation of church and state. Also I say god bless you when somebody sneezes and I am atheist and Einstein was an atheist and he said many things like"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details." Mr.Huckabee has an agenda teachers do not.We need to make sure children are not blinded by propaganda. I feel that our country is great but it has faults. We need to learn all of it.
I was going to use another quote but this is perfect.
If we do not know were we have been how can we understand were we are heading. History offers us an opportunity to examine our mistakes and learn.
sorry for the rush! I hope I got my point across. The writer of this article was absolutely right!

I believe it was Arthur

Submitted by Zane Thomas on 17 May 2011 - 3:59pm.

I believe it was Arthur Schopenhauer who said that every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world. If you live in a conservative white world your field of vision is conservative and white.

What these folks refuse to grasp is that the US has evolved and matured. Americans of color (red, yellow, brown, and black) who once had no voice are now free to speak and advocate on behalf of the truths within their own field of vision.

History is not right or wrong... it just is. Those who document history, unfortunately, are driven to justify the course of history. Herein lies the problem. Our history books are heavily biased in favor of the ruling class or demographic.

Very few Americans outside conservative white circles speak of American exceptionalism today... why? Because everyone else has a different field of vision and therefore a slightly different reality. It doesn't make America any less great to acknowledge these truths.

America moves forward when conservative whites expand their field of vision!

Thom, First, I don't think

Submitted by Autumn Odette on 17 May 2011 - 3:36pm.


First, I don't think the problem with Mr. Huckabee's history videos was that they are in cartoon form. It is a troubling to me that he is charging almost 12 bucks a pop for poor quality and makes me think you shouldn't spend it if you're not into financing his next presidential run.

Secondly, "endowed by their Creator" was a nod from the Declaration of Independence's authors to God, the Universe, the Creator, Allah, Wakontonka (my apologies to any Lakota who might be reading if I spelled that wrong) etc.--not even close to founding a "Christian Nation". (Me thinks they'd have gotten as many opinions then as we would now as to what "Christian Nation" even means!)

Finally, "recently chosen to INCLUDE mostly the anti-American "flaws" about our great country...versus those also-relevant facts about the good/great things..."
My history education started in Battle Creek, Michigan and ended in Hillsboro, Texas. I'm almost 50, so this is in no way recent: I learned about both the "flaws" and the "good/great things". If you or anyone you know is in a history class where they are learning one or the other than you should #1) complain LOUDLY to the school board and #2) thank God, the Universe, Allah (etc) or whomever/whatever you choose that you live in a county with publicly funded schools that have a set of standards from which to teach history!

Thom, do you really believe that there is no such thing as historical fact since it's just people calling themselves historians (except for Newt, of course!) and they are all teaching their own facts or those set for them by their school boards or political parties? That is good long way BEYOND cynical! I don't know if that makes me "intellectual" or "elite". I do know one thing, it troubles me to no end when I see someone disparaged for being intellectual in this country, and I don't know anyone who calls him/herself elite!

I read this initially to get

Submitted by Rich Coburn on 17 May 2011 - 3:34pm.

I read this initially to get a good laugh. I did not. While it was advertised it did not deliver. What I gleaned was more left right political rhetoric that really left me troubled. A product is sold, some folks buy it others denigrate it. Ideas are purchased, some are dismissed and others are absorbed as gospel. I have my own ideas that are supported by research and substance. When I teach there is always controversy and conflict as it should be. History is not so much as being right but rather discovering a narrative that is ever evolving and changing. It is a mistake to denigrate others simply because we do not agree with them. Point out the flaws and inaccuracies in the argument but do not ridicule and destroy. Tragically I did not laugh when I read your piece, I found nothing funny but much troubling. It is far more important to disagree without becoming disagreeable.

Actually, most of the

Submitted by adriana on 17 May 2011 - 3:21pm.

Actually, most of the founding fathers weren't Christians. They were Agnostics and humanists who believed in basic human rights and logic and reason as guiding forces in government, in the organization and management of their new nation-state, and in personal property matters. They had a personal moral code that was informed by the times they lived in, and they designed this country based upon that moral code (personal freedoms vs. personal responsibility; voting rights for white male property owners; chattel slavery as a self-sustaining economic system; etc.).

While we don't have to get into such specifics with Elementary school-age children, it is important to teach them to distinguish fact and reality from patriotism and jingoism. We can teach them the importance of patriotism without lying about the past. Teachers should be consulted about what we teach students, not politicians and pundits. History is the study of change over time. We study history in order to understand the world around us and to try to make this world a better place for all. Or at least, that's what I teach my students.

Mr. Seabolt, Sometimes we, as

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 17 May 2011 - 3:14pm.

Mr. Seabolt,

Sometimes we, as human beings, are naturally judgmental and self-centered. When we feel attacked, we attack in return, even though the attack may not have been aimed directly, personally, at us. You did a good job of making your point by illustrating it yourself with your own comments. Points taken.

But stepping back as far as I, as another flawed human, am able: It seems to me that it is more common that we see the bad before the good. I.e., when things are going well, we tend to examine them less than when we find some flaw in something. Also, some things require continual oversight, development and improvement. One example: our obvious inability to get along with one another, which I believe is part of what this entire website is about. Learning to at least tolerate each other, if not genuinely respect and appreciate each other, and hopefully one day those will become a reality, too.

I think that rather than attacking our country, or its leader, etc., the original post here was simply looking as some of the potential flaws and gave a heads up about them and Mr. Huckabee. I'm grateful for that. I am left to now come to my own conclusions about it after doing my own research. And having done so, I am personally not a fan of Mr. Huckabee or these videos. And that is my right. Had I become a fan of one or the other, I probably would have also replied here, but I hope I would have done it kindly and articulately without personally attacking anyone.

So continually attempting to improve what our children learn, and keeping ever more open minds about all of it, is important. So is showing concern for things our children may be exposed to which could be harmful to them in some way. But in the end, we are ALL judgmental and prejudiced. We are ALL biased. And as we all know as culturally sensitive, if not competent, teachers here: It is what we do with our natural biases, prejudices and value judgments that matters, in the end.

I'm a liberal. My research tells me, among other things, that our "founding fathers" were more "deists" than they were "fundamental Christians" or even "Christians" as we think of them today. Some of them, as people and as leaders, were NOT all that "great". And I find it ironic that a group of people who, according to some, fled England in search of religious freedom, the same who wrote about our (NAMELESS) "Creator", were also some of the wise ones who created separation of church and state. Others sought religious freedom for themselves while vehemently trying to impose their religion on others, such as my ancestors here. Boarding schools and the Trail of Tears are not distant memories to us.... The Cherokees also believed in a Creator, a word we still use today. It does not mean they were Christians. Many believe in the Creator. Why do we all still fight over what to call the Creator or how to worship the Creator? And while I cannot and should not speak for anyone but myself, I do NOT fear my Creator, and I have heard many elders say the same. So please do not impose that upon all of us, even other Christians whom I know do not agree with you.

Some of us include the so-called "anti-American" flaws of our imperfect country and its imperfect leaders when we discuss history because we are not so arrogant or foolish as to think it is all "great". The good AND the bad need to be examined fairly and critically, giving credit to the good and acknowledging the bad honestly and trying the LEARN from both, because those who ignore history (or rather the lessons we could and should have learned from it) are often doomed to repeat it. And if we do, shame on us.

The United States is a good place to live, more or less, but it most DEFINITELY has its flaws! For many, it is NOT a "great" country, any more than Canada, England or Japan is. I'm rather partial to it in general, but I do not trust my government as far as I can throw any of them. And if you've got a month I can articulate why that is, lol. It begins with the fact that I posses a brain, eyes and ears, my health needs are not being met in the slightest and my veteran son's needs are not being met, either. (On that note, I support our troops but not necessarily the CIC, or their rationales, for putting those troops, and others, in harms way.)

And, a difference of opinion that does not make EITHER of us "right" or "wrong": I do not consider Newt Gingrich a "true historian"....

Your final "parting shot" was: "You members of the "intellectual elite" are constantly proving that you are becoming much less intellectual and only elite in your own self-serving opinions of yourselves..."

To whom were you referring? All of us on this site? I do not consider myself an elitist regarding ANYTHING. I admit, fully, what I do not know, and I do not "know" much of anything. I have a great many well-thought-out ideas, suspicions, thoughts and theories but very few "beliefs" and not much that I can claim honestly to "know". That way, when a theory of mine is demonstrated to be in error it is much easier for me to accept the new theory (until that may be proved to be untrue one day, etc.).

So please do not include me, or any of us, in your assumptions about others. That is one of the first things I learned not to do while studying cultural sensitivity. Make no assumptions. Make no personal attacks in stating your opinions. They are simply your opinions. They hold no more or less weight than those of anyone else, Mr. Seabolt.

Because in the end, there is no such thing as "history", as far as what we can teach about things that happened long ago. For me there are 2 definitions of "history": 1) That which happened ostensibly long ago (and that is debatable as to how long ago something must have happened to call it "history" - recent history could be yesterday) and 2) The accounts given by various people based on first-hand observations, and/or 2nd and 3rd hand accounts by others as well as photographic and audio documentation.

But in the end, unless YOU were THERE (and even then, you will come away with your own biases about what you saw and heard), there is very rarely definitive proof and explanation, other than the obvious, regarding PRECISELY what happened, who said and did what, WHY something happened in the way in which is did, etc. Very rarely are all sides heard and/or recorded. And we all know how history is often written by the victors, the oppressors, the captors, etc. All of which is biased to some degree. It is only fairly recently, imo, that we have even deigned to consider the "other side" in many "historical accounts".

So I understood the original post here to be a "head's up" regarding these cartoons. I also appreciated the heads up. I intend to reserve ANY real study of history for later, and when I do, it will be in as impartial a presentation as I can possibly manage, with as many "facts" and sources as I can cite, and as many discussions on all the possibilities and different perspectives as possible.

So, I will take nothing for granted. I will make no assumptions. I will think critically. I will try to see all sides. I will try, as best as humanly possible, to be objective and fair, while acknowledging that this is virtually impossible and I am a very flawed human being. And I will make apologies and amends as needed.

AND I WILL SPEAK UP. Just as you did, Mr. Seabolt.

While trying not to make presumptive negative value judgments, I remain a discerning person with the right to also voice their opinions and why I hold them in the interest of sharing and understanding so that we may move forward with a positive and more productive dialogue than one in which I am simply whining and attacking others, as we all sometimes do.

I hope this e-mail was respectful. I tried to make it so.

Love, Lianna

Ms. Constantino is to be

Submitted by AHenderson on 17 May 2011 - 5:01pm.

Ms. Constantino is to be commended for her articulate and well argued reminder that history is complex. NO history is "objective" as humans are by their nature biased. That is the challenge of teaching about the past: how do we engage our students, get them to examine the past, and to recognize biases which are the lense in which we all view the world? Presenting primary source documents from a variety of persepectives, engaging our students in debate about these historical complexities, and valuing the complexity of the American experience are all ways which address this core issue. Teaching our students about fundamental rights, the constant struggles of federalism, the difficulties of living in a diverse society which is founded on the priniciples of liberty and guarantees that each of us are legally entitled to our beliefs is a difficult task. (Bias Alert!) Social studies education should be dedicated to building the skill set that ALL citizens in a society which is rooted in popular sovereignty will need in order to continue the "great democratic experiment" which is our nation. Voltaire is most often credited with the statement "I may disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it." Ms Constantino's comment does an excellent job of holding ture to this principle.

Hi - I just previewed the

Submitted by Deborah Rose on 17 May 2011 - 2:27pm.

Hi - I just previewed the Reagan cartoon. I am a grandmother, so knowing how fourth grade minds think a bit, it seems that this content is conceptually too advanced for them. My grandson would quickly have lost interest. In a word - boring. These kids need more concrete information on which to build their foundations, taking it a little slower, building on it, having a concrete focus for the objectives. These kids are also very sensitive and have a strong sense of justice, right and wrong (concrete again). So it's important that we take time and thoughtfulness to consider this as we present educational material for them.

Also I have to say, since most of my family is of color, I appreciated the inclusion of Asian, Black and White time travelers, but the Black ghetto muggers, etc., made me sad - it's a stereotype that we are working hard to get our kids past. I think helping young people understand the history of our nation, as well as current events, is important. We have a tremendous responsibility with what we bring to their young minds. This content needs to be edited by impartial expert historians (not with political agendas, please) as well as experts in child development.

Maureen, well written and

Submitted by Debnev on 14 May 2011 - 12:53pm.

Maureen, well written and well argued, thank you. However, since I am an editor, and I would like to see your credibility be above reproach, this is a friendly suggestion that you fix the word its in this sentence: It's aim: to indoctrinate youngsters before they actually study history in school. There should be no apostrophe.

Thanks so much! Appreciate

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 16 May 2011 - 8:51am.

Thanks so much! Appreciate it.

"History matters. It's meant

Submitted by Keith Moore on 14 May 2011 - 3:28am.

"History matters. It's meant to help us learn how to change the world."
That pretty much encapsulates the real issue here, now doesn't it? It isn't so much that Huckabee's product is a sunny happy-talk version of American history but his product is a version of American history that doesn't serve the "right" ends. History is emphatically NOT meant to help us learn how to change the world; as a practical matter, truly objective history provides no tools for changing the world. This is because changing the world requires knowing what went wrong, what went right, and how to correct the wrongs and perpetuate the rights. You do not gain this knowledge from perusing objective history; you gain this knowledge from ANALYZING objective history. In the end, history that helps us learn how to change the world has been filtered through people who have specific ideas of what they want the world to be and it is through this lens that they view past events. "A People's History of the United States" gives us a very different template to work from when deciding how to change the world than "An American Patriot's History of the United States" and will lead to very different changes than competing viewpoints. This, however, is history used for political and idealogical ends; this is not the purpose of history. The purpose of history is to provide a picture of past events that is as factually-accurate as is possible; it is a science of information and data, nothing more. That Ms. Costello ends her criticism of Huckabee's cartoon series by assigning a different purpose to history is very telling.

Keith- The "FACTS" of history

Submitted by Lilly on 19 May 2011 - 2:54pm.

Keith- The "FACTS" of history of often told by the winners - so what you call the facts may be the facts from a particular group. My grandma once told me a story about 3 people standing on a corner - they all observed the same car accident - but the stories were very different and in fact - they did not even agree about who was at fault. History is complicated and in "fact" many lies have been told about the American Indian, the Chinese, the Blacks and the Jews - we absolutely need to teach children about critical thinking or they are doomed to believe crap and propaganda.

As you will read above in my

Submitted by Keith Moore on 20 May 2011 - 9:09pm.

As you will read above in my exchange with Ms. Costello, Lilly, I fully agree with you in all that you say. In fact, I notice that I posted comments agreeing with you in all respects prior to you posting your criticism of my argument.