June 15, 2006

Knowledge Suppression In Kentucky Schools

Why this issue is even controversial has always been beyond me. And I was frankly pleased to see Kentucky act to ensure that its students learned about a common scholarly practice -- the use of BCE and CE instead of BC and CE by some scholars.

Unfortunately, the best educational practice -- teaching all sides of the issue -- has been unanimously repealed by the State Board of Education.

The state school board, with six new members, on Wednesday changed its answer on a history question that had turned into an emotional religious debate.

The reconfigured board, with six new appointments by Gov. Ernie Fletcher, reversed a decision two months earlier that would have taught students about a new way to describe historic dates traditionally identified as B.C. or A.D.

Those designations carry religious overtones because they stand for Before Christ, and Anno Domini — Latin for "in the year of the Lord."

The board's April 11 decision to adopt curriculum changes that included teaching the designations of B.C.E. for Before Common Era and C.E. or Common Era, had drawn criticism from some activist ministers and religious groups. Some conservative Christians complained the change was an attempt to sterilize a reference to Christ.

"It's part of a larger effort to expunge religious references in our culture," said Martin Cothran, a policy analyst at The Family Foundation, a conservative group based in Lexington. "I think it's not something that's coming from regular people. It's coming from certain other sectors of our society who think that we ought not to talk about religion in our public life."

Frankly, I view Mr. Cothran to be an utter jackass for making such a statement. It is about preparing students for college level work, where they will almost certainly be exposed to scholarly works which use the alternative dating system. Indeed, the areas in which the alternative designations are most likely to be found are scholarly works dealing with Biblical archaeology and scripture studies! Why? Out of respect for the many Jewish scholars (and small number of Muslim scholars) who work in those fields.

I teach the issue in my classroom within the first day or two of the beginning of the school year. I point out that multiple dating systems have existed throughout history and that some are used today. I note that the dating system we use in our society contains an affirmation of faith -- and that an alternative designation is sometimes used by scholars. I also note that the abbreviation may legitimately be rendered as either the "Chrisitan Era" or the "Common Etra", but that either alternative still revolves around the traditional rendering of the date of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. I then ask that they be consistent in their use of one or the other system -- and that my personal choice is the traditional BC/AD, but that either choice is 100% correct. I then move on -- usually to a quick review of longitude and latitude, having spent (at most) 15 minutes on the calendar issue.

This really is not a substantive issue -- I cannot understand the need for state-mandated ignorance of such a minor issue.

|| Greg, 06:51 PM || Permalink || Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trackback Information for Knowledge Suppression In Kentucky Schools

TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'Knowledge Suppression In Kentucky Schools'.

Comments on Knowledge Suppression In Kentucky Schools

I've actually heard CE/BCE explained as "Christian Era" and "Before Christian Era," though I suspect the meaning you cite in this post is probably the actual meaning.

You're absolutely right, though; this is a complete non-issue. Students should be prepared to enter the world understanding what they see and read.

|| Posted by John, June 16, 2006 06:19 AM ||

Actually, the original meaning (as I was taught) was "Christian Era" -- but those who object to even that much of a hat-tip to Christianity began to render it the other way.

Regardless, the starting date still implicitly revolves around the birth of the Word-Made-Flesh.

I also make the point that dating systems may be arbitrarily started around any date -- such as the Anno Libertatis (Year of Our Liberty) dating system used in L. Neil Smith's alternate universe novel The Probability Broach (how is that for an obscure reference -- but it was a favorite of mine in high school) -- with the year 1776 AD becoming the year 1 AL. I've noticed that kids find the Muslim calendar system dated from the Hajj to be intriguing. I also show them (actually sing it in Gregorian Chant) the Catholic proclamation of the birth of Christ sung each Christmas at midnight mass -- and containing references to multiple calendar systems (the Jewish calendar dated from the Creation, the Roman calendar dated from the founding of the city of Rome, the regnal calendar of the Roman emperors, the Greek Olympiad calendar) as an example of how dating systems can, do, and have always varied throughout history.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 16, 2006 08:24 AM ||

I remember the first time I heard the terms was, indeed, in college. I figured out what my professor meant pretty quickly, but there was one student in my class who finally raised his hand to ask what she meant after she'd used both terms many times. Then others felt brave enough to say they weren't familiar with the terms either. The professor chided the class for not asking the first time she used the terms. It's all about making sure students know what they need to know.

|| Posted by Dana Huff, June 21, 2006 11:07 AM ||

Like you I find it a poor use of time for boards to have to take this matter under consideration. I introduce American History to nine and ten year olds and also have to address what those "funny looking letters after dates" mean. Since there is more than one way of dating things and since I know students will see dates written in all forms I feel I must go over this with them. We do it very early in the year and kids are very receptive to the background material I give. Most state they have been wondering what those letters mean. Like you I have my personal choice but I teach them all since students will see them all in the future.

|| Posted by elementaryhistoryteacher, June 23, 2006 06:40 PM ||
Post a comment

Remember personal info?




Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards
Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 187)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 421)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 685)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 483)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 88)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 273)
News (posts: 1570)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 108)
Politics (posts: 5261)
Race & Racism (posts: 281)
Religion (posts: 819)
Terrorism (posts: 884)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 4)
The Courts (posts: 310)
Watcher's Council (posts: 482)
World Affairs (posts: 345)


January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure


About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site

Support This Site

Recent Entries

Who Is Regan Theiler And Why Was She Allowed To Spend Public Funds On A Sole Source Contract For Her Part-Time Employer?
Not My Idea Of A Stimulating Evening
About Trump's Liberty University Speech
Do Not Place The Secessionist "Texas Independence" Measure On The 2016 Republican Primary Ballot
Conservatives Vs. Liberal On Those Engaged In Violent Political Activity
Tom Mechler Makes His Case Against Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Jared Woodfill Makes His Case For Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Questions About Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention
It Is Too Bad That Political Parties Cannot Reject Voters Who Seek To Join, Stop Would-Be Candidates Who Want To Run


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs