Press "Enter" to skip to content

Teachers: Hillsdale College K-12 Civics Standards and Curriculum Problematic. Hillsdale President: Teachers Dumb!

Florida has adopted new K-12 civics standards that Trumpist conservative Hillsdale College of Michigan helped write. Florida teachers attending workshops developed by Hillsdale for training in a civics curriculum related to the new standards are alarmed by Hillsdale’s attempted warping of history to promote its conservative agenda:

But St. Johns County teacher Justin Vogel said he was shocked at the presentations he saw during a conference last week in Jacksonville.

“It’s mind-blowing what they what they tried to convince us of, in some cases, some cases were worse than others,” Vogel said.

Teachers in South Florida voiced similar concerns, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

In one of the slides presented and shared with News4JAX, the DOE said it was a “misconception” that the Founding Fathers wanted a strict separation of church and state.

“The presenters said that it was because [Thomas] Jefferson when he said ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ he didn’t mean it,” Vogel said.

Vogel, who teaches academic research, said presenters also promoted the idea of “originalism” — the theory that the Constitution should be given the original meaning it had when it became law — by repeatedly using the phrase “through the founders’ eyes.”

“It became pretty clear pretty quickly that this was a euphemism for, you know, originalism, which in itself is, you know, a conservative viewpoint, which is fine, totally fine, but nothing else was presented,” he said. “People have those opinions, but it’s being presented as the ‘correct way.’”

Vogel said the presentation also downplayed slavery by noting that two-thirds of the Founding Fathers owned slaves but added, “even those that held slaves did not defend the institution.” Presenters also showed a slide that said less than 4% of slavery in the Western Hemisphere was in Colonial America, which Vogel interpreted to mean “everybody was doing it.”

“The other part of it is that the founders, quote, ‘did all they could,’ on the issue of slavery, that was what they were trying to convince us of,” he said [Travis Gibson, “Florida Teachers Raise Concerns About New Civics Training, Saying It Downplays Slavery, Promotes Originalism,” WJXT-TV Jascksonville, 2022.06.30].

But if South Dakota teachers respond similarly to the K-12 social studies standards that Hillsdale is writing for Governor Noem, Hillsdale president Larry Arnn will just dismiss them as dummies:

Hidden-camera video obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates reveals a recent closed-door reception with Tennessee’s governor and a key education ally who repeatedly mocks the intelligence of public school teachers and questions whether they really care about what is best for their students.

…Among Arnn’s provocative remarks:

  • “The teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country.”
  • “They are taught that they are going to go and do something to those kids…. Do they ever talk about anything except what they are going to do to these kids?”
  • “In colleges, what you hire now is administrators…. Now, because they are appointing all these diversity officers, what are their degrees in? Education. It’s easy. You don’t have to know anything.”
  • “The philosophic understanding at the heart of modern education is enslavement…. They’re messing with people’s children, and they feel entitled to do anything to them.”
  • “You will see how education destroys generations of people. It’s devastating. It’s like the plague.”
  • “Here’s a key thing that we’re going to try to do. We are going to try to demonstrate that you don’t have to be an expert to educate a child because basically anybody can do it” [Phil Williams, “Teachers Come from ‘Dumbest Parts of Dumbest Colleges’, Tenn. Governor’s Education Advisor Tells Him,” WTVF-TV Nashville, 2022.06.30].

Arnn has since responded that by “dumbest” he didn’t really mean “dumbest” but most “ill-conceived” and most “misdirected”. That “clarification” does not change the main point: the leader of the Michigan college that governors in Florida, South Dakota, and Tennessee have engaged to help rewrite social studies education deeply disrespects and demonizes the public school teachers who will be called on to salvage honest and effective education from the politically biased standards and curriculum that Hillsdale’s Trumpists are trying to impose on our schools.


  1. grudznick 2022-07-24 08:33

    Keep your “god” out of grudznick’s government, or I will put my government smack dab in the middle of your church and will really rouse the rabbles in your congregations.

  2. Nix 2022-07-24 08:54

    Christian Patriots.

    Run for your life.

  3. 96Tears 2022-07-24 09:36

    Larry Arnn’s remarks are truly despicable. How many sets of South Dakota eyeballs are ever going to see them beyond those of us who read Dakota Free Press?

    Probably, fewer than 10, unless some advertisers kick the ass of daily paper, radio and TV station managers and ad sales execs. Every news organization now has a professional obligation to dial up the jerk and confront him with his quotes and ask exactly what he meant by each of those insults. They need to dig into Arnn’s credentials and the damage he and his firm have done to children by twisting the truth out of standard history curricula and filling young minds with Arnn’s pack of lies.

    Those reporters also should demand from Noem to produce any truth-based evidence that Critical Race Theory has ever been taught in public schools in our state. Noem and her sycophants in the legislature were in a damn hurry to pass a remedy to what they said was a major problem. Well, where is any proof of their claims?

    The future of our state’s education system is being set up for the worst disaster to ever befall it. Truth is being shoved aside and lies are being inserted in our kids’ education. News reporters and editors need to get off their dead asses and inform all South Dakotans how Kristi Noem is going to ruin the credibility of our state’s public schools and universities.

  4. O 2022-07-24 10:20

    Taking a page from our friends on the right, the next battle fields are the school boards. At those public meetings, the curriculum being adopted, the inaccuracies of the contents of those curriculum, and the “big brother” intervention of outsiders into SD have to be made clear as boards vote on the adoption of these standards and curriculum in each district.

  5. DaveFN 2022-07-24 10:22

    “Those new standards are now being taught to thousands of teachers across the state during 10 voluntary three-day conferences where teachers also get a $700 stipend for attending and the possibility of a $3,000 bonus.”

    Would like to know what hoops one goes through to quality for the bonus.

  6. 96Tears 2022-07-24 10:34

    DaveFN – Split the bonus with the Noem campaign fund and prove you are a registered Republican. Easy peasy.

  7. 96Tears 2022-07-24 11:00

    Much to Bob Mercer’s credit, this story is on the KELO website of how Noem is slow walking a public document she demanded by July 1 that was supposed to prove that Critical Race Theory is a threat in the public education system and that Larry Arrn’s firm can supply the remedy:

    PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The governor’s office hasn’t decided whether the public should get to see a report on whether inherently divisive concepts, such as Critical Race Theory, are present in South Dakota’s K-12 school systems. Instead, the governor’s general counsel, Katie Hruska, said in a letter Thursday that “10 additional business days” were still needed on the matter. This comes after Governor Kristi Noem in April directed the state Department of Education to prepare the report and deliver it no later than July 1.

    The report is to be “detailing any policies, guidelines, websites, best practices, materials, programs, training, or content standards, that promote inherently divisive concepts and identify any necessary administrative or legislative action needed to end the use of all inherently divisive concepts in public education.”

    Read the entire story. Noem is toying with the language on the state’s open record laws, and will probably string it out far beyond the legal deadline for withholding a public document. I predict KELO will be hiring an attorney to choke it out of Noem before the election.

    Mercer was the reporter who tried to pry the autopsy report from then-A.G. Marty Jackley on Richard Benda’s alleged suicide. The effort failed when Jackley reneged on his offer to allow two news reporters to review the report. The election at stake in that battle was Mike Rounds’ U.S. Senate bid, resulting in Rounds successfully running down the clock and allowing the crooks off the hook on the EB-5 swindle.

  8. Phil 2022-07-24 11:33

    Pretty easy to see why so many people are afraid of things they perceive to be CRT and
    Replacement Theory. They think they realize SoDak is the perfect example of what happens to an established Native population when faced with overwhelming numbers of aggressive immigrants. Only takes a few generations. Not sure how those folks in Pierre would adapt to life on a Rez.

  9. Phil 2022-07-24 11:37

    Strike “They think they realize,” and insert “They subliminally recognize.”

  10. larry kurtz 2022-07-24 14:53

    Rey Nesiba could have run for Congress but chooses to kvetch about this issue from the sidelines instead. This is exactly what’s wrong with the South Dakota Democratic Party.

  11. Richard Schriever 2022-07-24 15:17

    It seems counterintuitive that someone such as Aarn would come out of the prestigious graduate programs of the Claremont colleges. However, I had as one of my fellow grad students in Organizational Psychology a BS and MA recipient of degrees from those colleges and he was a strident religionist as well. The history of the Claremont Colleges doesn’t reveal a religion-based philosophy, however, a closer look at their curricula and the organizational structure of the colleges themselves certainly shows a paternalistic and misogynistic strain – with a separate college exclusively for women, and women’s coursework in the graduate schools that is distinct from general/men’s studies.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-24 15:37

    To “see through the eyes of the founders” is an exercise of mental and factual acrobatics which keeps thousands of historians employed at their keyboards in a never ending argument about motivation, philosophy, and the practical necessities of the period 1770 to 1820…the first 50 years in the formation of our Republic. I encourage folks to read Greg Grandlin’s important work “The Empire of Necessity” to understand the “hows and whys” of Slavery in our young Republic. He concludes that Slavery as an institution was viewed as a economic necessity as the young country stove, in all sections, to become viable as an economic entity. The value of slaves comprised 50% of the Gross National Product of the southern states, New England maritime industry depended on the transportation of African slaves, and New York financiers loaned the money, with slaves as collateral. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Morris, the New York banker, Hamilton, and Livingston, his agents, all are directly dependent on the slave trade for their fortunes. Adams, a Boston lawyer, has Boston ship builders and Nantucket whalers/slave traders as clients. Only Franklin and Sherman, the Connecticut Minister, have no skin in the slave business. They compromise on slavery as an economic necessity which binds the new republic, with its disparate states, together, believing that over time it will fade away. Franklin did not perceive the coming of the cotton gin and the improvement of English cotton mills, which led to a cotton ‘boom” and the expansion of the slave economy. It will take a civil war in which one out of eight men in their prime are killed,wounded,or die of disease, to begin a transition away from the slave economy. We should not attempt to de-emphasize the importance of slavery. To do so is to give false witness to a lie.

  13. 96Tears 2022-07-24 16:56

    Aarn is a quack. His “curriculum” guarantees the institutionalization of racism in public and private schools. He intends to turn the clock back 100 years ago and more when lynching was commonplace in the deep south and women were not granted the right to vote.

    South Dakota’s governor-running-for-president is thoroughly bought into this kind of brainwashing and systemic racism. It is extremely important that this gets stopped in its tracks.

  14. Mark Anderson 2022-07-24 17:09

    Well I write a long diatribe but it was lost, should have pressed twice. Gist, young women, move to Minneapolis or stay and fight. CRT made famous by conservatives, look it up kids. Compare yourself. Conservative whitewashing lead from Siddhartha to Buddha. This will be the same. It was alot funnier.

  15. Mark Anderson 2022-07-24 18:18

    Another quick comment. At an event in Florida Noem finished third in a presidential poll with young conservatives. It’s rather shocking that the boys would have this mother love kinda thingy about Kristi but still…. It was however, only one percent. Trump got 78 percent, DeSantis second with Noem third. What a sandwich that is.

  16. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-24 19:04

    One other recent read, “His Excellency, George Washington” can give you a glimpse through the eyes of that founder. The second son of of former Yorkshire tenants of the wealthiest land owner in England and Virginia, Lord Fairfax, Washington marries the wealthiest woman in America, the widow, Martha, a direct Fairfax descendent, as she cannot enter into contracts and needs a manager of her fortune and considerable land holdings. Washington could be characterized as land rich and money poor until being married to Martha makes him one of the preeminent land owners in Virginia. Both Madison and Jefferson come from similar Yorkshire families though both directly inherit their family Virginia holdings.

    Washington might be considered old fashioned, even in his time. He has little formal education, is trained as a surveyor, and inherits little, as the second son, his older brother Laurence, controls the family wealth. He is a Mason, a Deist, rather than a Christian, though he attends the Anglican Episcopal Church, as Martha holds that membership as important. Since the English King is the head of the Church, even in America, Washington feels uncomfortable even pretending to be Anglican after the revolution. He does believe that one should pray to the Deity for “God’s grace” which can be described as “good luck”. He is a shrewd businessman, an attribute which initially attracted Martha. He inherits a small estate when Laurence dies.

    He also inherits Laurence’s grandson, as his ward. The grandson is the product of Laurence’s son’s marriage to a black, Bahamian woman, during a time when the nephew was a sugar/rum/slave broker in the Bahamas. Since the ward lives at Mount Vernon and is black, he is legally a slave. He lives in the great house but in rooms set aside for the house slaves. When Washington dies, he is not freed but is left to Martha’s care. It is thought he was freed upon her death.

    Washington nearly goes broke during the time of the Articles of Confederation. He and his neighbors, the Jeffersons, Madisons, Lees, and other planters are tied to tobacco as their main cash crop and the market is volatile. Tobacco goes in and out of favor in Europe, its mostly ground and used as snuff and gradually becomes known as an obnoxious and addictive habit. It is banned in some countries. In the American South, the most common specie is the Spanish “piece of eight”. There is no such thing as an American dollar…money is local, and worthless in international and national trade. Washington will not sit idle and watch Martha’s fortune and his more limited inheritance dissolve in economic chaos. He works hard to get a constitutional convention called, asks Madison and others to draft an outline of a new, national Constitution abandoning the “state’s rights” of the Articles of Confederation, dons his Revolution era General’s uniform, lest any other delegate doubt that he’s in charge, and continuously presides over the Convention until it is clear the Constitution will be adopted.

    It is also clear that Washington will be the first President. When asked how he should be addressed as “Your Majesty ” invokes a kingship and “Mr. President “is much too informal for the very formal Washington and the formality of the age, Washington settles on “Your Excellency”. As such, he is addressed throughout both terms More the common man, though just as stuffy, John Adams, does away with the formality.

  17. P. Aitch 2022-07-24 19:12

    You’re gonna have some dumb young adults up there.
    If 70% of SD votes Republican the kids of those 70% are going to become the half-educated majority in a state that’s already known for its poorly educated populace.
    What remains when the best and brightest have moved out of state for 75 years?
    What’s left is a depleted gene pool of ignorance.
    Dumb males marrying dumb females and raising kids that won’t even be taught what the rest of America’s kids are being taught.
    Should the rest of America care?
    It’s the era of “states’ rights” so NO; the rest of America should ignore SD and concentrate on their own kids and grandkids.
    You have your “states’ right” to raise a generation of dumb bunnies if that’s what the 70% want to do.

  18. mike from iowa 2022-07-24 19:51

    Land rich/cash poor? Sounds like Washingrton’s white privilege stood him in good stead. I’m certain he didn’t get to where he ended up by being good looking or talented.

  19. 96Tears 2022-07-25 08:42

    P. Aitch – The religious white nationalists’ agenda is clear. They control what their base knows about Jesus and Christianity. They’re now doing the same by replacing accurate history and facts about American systemic racism and misogyny with lies.

    The irony here is it’s South Dakota’s first female governor who’s leading the parade to turn other females and people of color into second class citizens. Arnn’s comments expose an extreme contempt for truth and our society’s most important institutions. If the press does its job by exposing how Arnn thinks, the chickens will come home to the Governor’s Mansion to roost.

    Noem’s going to need a fast horse.

  20. P. Aitch 2022-07-25 11:12

    Depleted Gene Pool of Ignorance …

  21. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-25 13:54

    Mike from Iowa: In 1799, Jefferson described Washington as a “hard man”…hard as a businessman, military leader, and President” . Hard as well in personal relationships. Later in 1816, Jefferson wrote that Washington was a “great man and a good man. Deficient in no areas and indifferent in but a few”. He was determined to be successful and uncompromising in his expectations for everyone from the slaves on his plantation to his cabinet officers. He mellowed over time and was much more humane to his slaves than most other planters. He did not separate the slave families except in extreme cases of insubordination, was repulsed by the slave trade, though he expected slaves to work from sun-up to sun down, rewarded slaves with cash bonuses for exemplary work, and freed slaves on occasion. His ownership of slaves was complicated as Martha owned over half the slaves at Mt. Vernon and his slaves and her’s had intermarried. In his public remarks and writing, there is no mention by Washington of the words slavery or slaves.

  22. oldtimerDON 2022-07-25 14:16

    There was a great CNN special Sunday “Deep in the pockets of Texas”. I now see why Noem has made so many contacts with Texas (hint–it wasn’t all funs and games with Corey) . She likes the taste of the Texas money, too. This should give SD folks a way to appreciate how their politics are being conducted and is an indication of the path for education in the future in the state.

  23. mike from iowa 2022-07-26 12:07

    Magats educatiomnal philosophy has evolved from “Teach To The Test” to “Teach The Big Lie as Gospel.”

  24. O 2022-07-26 12:45

    MFI, correction: MAGATS educational philosophy has “been transformed through intelligent design” to . . . . No “evolution” to be seen here! (snark)

  25. mike from iowa 2022-07-26 13:40

    You are likely right, O. I had forgotten about I D.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.