Dull turd Tim Pawlenty actually did do something dingbatty enough to qualify him for the second tier of the Republican presidential candidates: He put some fringe-right nutter from the Bush Administration in charge of the Minnesota public school curriculum, and this educational terrorist installed a board of fundamentalist homeschoolers and extremist libertarians who then decided that kindergarteners shouldn’t be taught sharing (too socialist!) and that “We Shall Overcome” was an awfully dark choice, if you know what we mean, to be teaching kids as a “protest song.” So they picked “DIXIE” instead.
The new study guides also downplayed the purchase, imprisonment and forced labor of Africans brought to America as slaves. Why? So as not to sour the children’s view of the Free Market, which worked exceptionally well down South when the labor was free, too. What else was included in this 2003 rewriting of the state’s standards? Jesus, obviously. Lots and lots of Jesus. Children were to be taught that American Jesus was the actual head of the six or seven branches of government — like the mythological sea monster, the Hydra.
Was this just some hands-off/invisible hand-down-the-pants kind of thing, so maybe Pawlenty wasn’t really involved? NO PAWLENTY IS EVIL. He said this about gayly named Cheri Yecke, the Bush Administration goon brought in to dumb-bomb Minnesota’s curriculum: “Dr. Yecke is precisely the right person to lead that change.”
Yecke formed a committee of educators, parents, politicians, and businessmen, and set them to work drafting the standards. But as Evans and Norling later explained in an article they wrote for the Organization of American Historians’ newsletter, the meetings seemed overrun by conservative activists, some of whom did not reveal their affiliations. One member, identified simply as a parent and former teacher, was on the board of directors of the conservative Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank that’s been described—by a supporter—as a “training ground for a lifetime campaign in the trenches of political warfare.” (Christine O’Donnell and Andrew Breitbart are both alums.) Private religious academies and homeschoolers were well-represented, even though the standards would have no impact on their curricula.
So what happened? Why aren’t the black kids from Minneapolis public schools being marched around in white cone hats (no sharing!) singing “I wish I was in de land ob cotton, Old times dar am not forgotten; Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land”? Why aren’t they being made to sing that? It’s a perfectly good song.
Because the professors and legitimate teachers of Minnesota did verily rise up, with fists, and say to T-Paw the dull turd, “Uhh, no.” So the state Senate’s Democrat majority borrowed that bit of spine for long enough to reject Yecke’s formal confirmation as educational commissioner.
And Pawlenty just let her lose and didn’t fight back or re-appoint her to some slightly different position. He just tossed her aside, because he’s a twat. Can’t even stand up for “fixing the schools,” that Tim Pawlenty. As for Cheri Yecke, she’s down in Arkansas working for some wingnut academy to protect the cultural Jesus rights of white people. [Mother Jones]