Keep history books open

From a Jan. 12 editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal:

We all want our state’s children to receive an education that imparts to them a sense of civic pride and responsibility, but we don’t want them to be indoctrinated in any particular political dogma. North Carolina parents concerned about that possibility can breathe a little easier now that the state school board has recommended an expanded program of materials available for high-school history teachers to use in class.

An Arlington, Va.-based organization, the Bill of Rights Institute, had received a $100,000 state contract to develop materials for a civics and economics course usually taught in 9th and 10th grades. The organization receives funding from foundations associated with conservatives David and Charles Koch. Some parents and educators worried that the materials might contain political bias and distortions.

But after discussion, the state Department of Public Instruction will now encourage teachers to draw their American history course materials from nearly a dozen sources, not just the Bill of Rights Institute.

Starting with the next academic year, at least half of the content of the civics and economics course will be devoted to the country’s founding principles. This is proper and commendable. But for those lessons to promote a partisan political view would not be proper or commendable.