Proponents of the Wyoming Classical Academy insist that their proposed charter schools are necessary due to poor history/civics education. They promise to create citizens who have learned to think by memorizing facts about great Americans. Yet, rather than engage in public processes to improve programs or open charters, they maneuvered to pass a law making it easier for charters to be approved by a state board and took your choice away from you.
The move could eventually destroy the state’s public schools as the Trojan horse to do so, now the fifth-best in the nation, by cutting funding to underfunded public schools, scalping top-performing students and s attacking low-income student populations and special education. The 1776 curriculum developed by the nondenominational Christian Hillsdale College founded by Freewill-Baptist is not a curriculum and will not solve our crisis of civility.
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History is filled with controversy. Professional public history teachers know that it is impossible to teach students how to think without exposing them to different viewpoints. Teaching students how to think requires the ability to meet them, evaluate evidence, support conclusions, and explain reasoning which is what they do. 1776 does not teach how to think but rather teaches what to think in a manner worthy of Maoist re-education or false claims about teaching critical race theory. The State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) cannot approve public money for the benefit of narrow, bigoted views in violation of the Wyoming Constitution, requiring public scrutiny, oversight, dialogue, and accountability.
It’s ironic that in the name of “choice,” proponents are depriving students of agency and communities of choice after opening parent information meetings with a public prayer. All Christians should be alarmed. The European Wars of Religion (7-18 million casualties) or the religious persecutions of New England suggest that endorsing bigotry or religious nationalism does not expand choice, but rather the opposite, like our wise founding fathers agreed to separate church and state and to grant us freedom of conscience. .
I invite you to contact the members of the SLIB to ask them to suspend their decision pending a thorough review by historians and professional educators, and to contact the legislators to ask them to reconsider your choice.
JOSH THOMPSON, National Board Certified History Teacher, Casper