For some time now, conservative parents in the U.S. have been worried about "woke" history teachers and their anti-American bias infecting their children, but were unsure how to counter it. Hillsdale College in Michigan – which provides training and curriculum geared toward classical education – now offers history and civics lessons based on the following premise: "America is an exceptionally good country."
According to its mission statement, Hillsdale values the merit of each unique individual, rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so-called "social justice" and "multicultural diversity." Those are values it brings to its American History and Civics curriculum, according to Dr. Kathleen O'Toole, Hillsdale's assistant provost for K-12 education.
"The history of America is a good thing because it's written down," she explains. "There is evidence for us to consider – and if you consider that evidence, then you see that there are triumphs and tragedies in American history."
In describing the curriculum content, Hillsdale explains:
"In history and civics classes, American students should have one aim above all: to understand what they have received – i.e., their inheritance as Americans. To understand clearly, students and teacher alike must adopt a stance of humility. And this humility is fostered by the recognition on the part of the student that the world in which we live, with all its benefits and also its faults, is not of our own creation."
On Monday, O'Toole told American Family Radio that the curriculum is meant to counter things like the New York Times' fictional "1619 Project" – which argues that the entire American experience since 1619 has been an attempt to protect slavery, making the country systemically racist (see related story).
"Today we are in a state of division in this country and confusion about what our country means," O'Toole shared. "And so, seeing that, we thought we would make [this] curriculum available to anyone in the country who would like it for free."
Educators – whether in the classroom or at home – can download the courses for free at the Hillsdale website.
"This is a curriculum focused on the primary sources and focused on the questions that teachers and students should ask when they're reading those primary sources. It's not a script," O'Toole emphasized.
Current material addresses America's founding, the Civil War, and civics. Additional lessons planned for the coming months include Colonial America, the Great Depression, WWII, and the Cold War.