Whose History? Whose Standards?
The National Standards Project, conceived under George Bush, born and reared by Bill Clinton’s Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and nursed with $2.2 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Department of Education, took sick the moment November’s election returns were in. Conservative critics had claimed that the Standards1—two volumes of outlines and study guides for the teaching of, respectively, world and U.S. history in grades 5 through 12—were an abomination designed to indoctrinate young people in anti-Americanism. Riding this wave, Senators Robert Dole (R., Kans.) and Slade Gordon (R., Wash.) now introduced amendments that would have forbidden the use of federal funds for implementation of these Standards, and required that any future recipients of such funds “have a decent respect for United States history’s roots in Western civilization.”
In the event, the Senate settled on a resolution, rather than a law, condemning the Standards. It passed on January 18 by a vote of 99-1, the lone dissenter, Bennett Johnson (D., La.), holding out for tougher action.
About the Author