Looking ahead | Tom Camfield

Tom Camfield
Posted 2/15/23

AND I NOTICED A HEADLINE on page one of The Seattle Times the other morning that read: “Students of color now the majority in Washington Public Schools.” Simon also fills the bill in that …

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Looking ahead | Tom Camfield


AND I NOTICED A HEADLINE on page one of The Seattle Times the other morning that read: “Students of color now the majority in Washington Public Schools.” Simon also fills the bill in that regard (half Korean or “Asian”). He’s also a quarter Jewish (but that probably falls under the old former racist standard of “white” when it can be torn away from some self-assumed superiority of religiosity). In all, Simon is 100% American.

Meanwhile, I also noticed that former Trump appointee Sarah Huckabee Sanders, now governor of Arkansas, took advantage of the rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s inspirational State of the Nation speech — to brag about her own youth and attack the age of Joe.

As of June 14, 2022, Donald Trump turned 76 years old. Joe Biden was 78 during his 2021 inauguration into the presidential office. He was 77 at the time of his victory at the polls. No matter. By the time Biden’s my age it will be 2037 and he will have done a lot toward preparing the country for climate change . . . in addition to taking it in other positive directions.

It seems that many Republicans rather would redeem themselves than ally any further with Donald Trump. Which leaves us looking at Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who probably will get around to declaring his candidacy whenever the polls appear most favorable. Everyone else of Republican consequence at the moment is pretty much a no-name to the general public.

However, quoting Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker, DeSantis last year signed into law the Stop Woke Act, “a piece of Trumpist culture warfare that regulates how subject matter relating to race can be taught in public schools.” (The same board had banned the teaching of critical race theory in public schools in 2021.)

“DeSantis also signed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, which limits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools and became the centerpiece in a conflict over gay rights with Disney, one of the state’s largest employers.”

DeSantis also voiced concern over inclusion of “queer theory” in a proposed advanced placement course in African American studies rejected by the state’s department of education. “When you try to use Black history to shoehorn in queer theory, you are clearly trying to use that for political purposes,” he said.

Cobb also noted that “DeSantis shared some of his own ideas about the nation’s past during a gubernatorial debate last fall, stating that ‘it’s not true’ that ‘the United States was built on stolen land.’ That claim, of course, is starkly at odds not only with the history of westward expansion but with the history of Florida; thousands of Native Americans were forcibly relocated from the region with the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

“In general, the governor’s objective is seemingly to provide white Floridians, from a young age, with a version of the past that they can be comfortable with regardless of whether it’s true.”

So much for “shoehorning” and details of history. If I had the option here, I would cast that previous paragraph in larger and bolder type — as it describes just one more snake-oil attempt at selling White superiority. I don’t want DeSantis making decisions on American education.

The A.P. (Advanced Placement) program is being piloted in 60 high schools across the country including at least one in Florida). There seems to be little problem teaching it — except in Florida. On Jan. 12, the state’s education department sent a letter to the College Board, which oversees implementation of the A.P. courses. It read that the curriculum is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

OF RELATED INTEREST to DeSantis’s comment to land not being stolen: The “Trail of Tears” involved the forced relocation of the Five Civilized Native American tribes between the 1830s-1850s to lands west of the Mississippi River via the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Five Civilized Tribes included the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and Chickasaw. President Andrew Jackson supported and signed the Indian Removal Act into law.

Donald Trump — despite his gaping and well-demonstrated ignorance of American history — developed an unusual fixation with the seventh president. He described Jackson as "an amazing figure in American history” and hung a portrait of the early president in the Oval Office.