The word “dumb” doesn’t really mean dumb — at least, not what you think it means.
That’s the excuse now being offered up by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s friend and education adviser to his derogatory comments about public school teachers and the colleges that train them.
In video obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn said “the teachers come from the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges.”
Now, in a column published in The Tennessean, Arnn says, “Dumb can mean ‘unintelligent,’ which I did not mean.”
He continues, “Dumb also means ‘ill-conceived’ or ‘misdirected,’ which is, sadly, a fitting description for many education schools today.”
Arnn goes on to criticize education programs for focusing on teaching methods, instead of content areas.
“Many education schools elevate methods over content as a way for a few to control many,” Arnn alleges.
“They believe they can engineer society by ‘scientific’ criteria, thereby effectively reducing children to mere subjects of ongoing social experiments.”
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Teacher colleges across the state have called on the governor to repudiate those kinds of comments, which he has declined to do.
Arnn also argues that “partisans are attempting to paint The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum as insufficiently concerned with justice, equality, and America’s shortcomings.”
He argues that the curriculum “mentions slavery 2,257 times and condemns it in the strongest terms,” that “Jim Crow” and “Black codes” are mentioned “11 times apiece in the 11th-grade curriculum guide alone, and there are 204 mentions of ‘Civil Rights.’”
The column glosses over what our investigation discovered, that it teaches that “the civil rights movement was almost immediately turned into programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the Founders.”
Children are falsely told that Dr. Martin Luther King “appealed to the individual conscience and not the force of law to bring about a color-blind society.”
As for federal laws opening up lunch counters and outlawing discrimination in restaurants, hotels and theaters, Hillsdale’s curriculum says, “this was where the line between private conscience and government coercion began to blur.”
Related: Charter school program rewrites civil rights history
SPECIAL SECTION: Revealed
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