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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

DC 2nd-graders will study gender roles in Rome, Aksum and China


Chinese emperors used eunuchs -- castrated before puberty -- as servants and court officials.

Writing social studies standards is always controversial. Often they're vague and meaningless, but sometimes they're insanely detailed, pretending that students can learn everything about everything. And standards reflect the politics of the day.


The District of Columbia's Draft Social Studies Standards, are a "witches brew" of "controversial ideas presented as historical facts" and "anachronistic postmodern concepts," writes Renaud Beauchard.


There's little about local issues. Children are expected to think "globally."

Should DC second-graders be required to “analyze the daily lives of different individuals in ancient societies including history of same-sex relationships and gender fluidity in civilizations” and “compare societies of long ago to societies today with a focus on gender roles, technology, and relationship with the natural environment?” Should high school students be expected to “explain the historical context of ‘Eurocentrism’ and the lasting social, political, and economic impacts on countries and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean of sources from the past?”

Children will be taught a "simplistic binary of Good versus Evil, or the oppressed and the oppressors," he writes.


The standards' Guiding Principles state that social studies is best defined as “the study of power and bias.” Many historians (and D.C. parents) do not agree that history should be seen as "as a zero-sum power struggle between oppressed and oppressor groups," writes Beauchard.


"Students are given the misleading impression that non-European premodern societies shared the same liberal cosmopolitan values that are popular among certain segments of America today," he writes. "For example, second graders are required to consider 'gender roles' in Rome, Aksum or Ancient China and to discuss the role of 'gender fluidity' in pre-modern societies."


The dynasty that ruled Aksum, in what's now Ethiopia and Eritrea, was descended from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, according to legend. Later, Aksum became Christian.

Virginia's proposed new history standards are a step forward, writes Andrew Rotherham.


The current standards call for "describing the cultural, economic, and constitutional issues that divided the nation" before the Civil War and "explaining how the issues of states’ rights and slavery increased sectional tensions."


The new standards: Students should learn "how the institution of slavery was the cause of the Civil War, and secondary factors that contributed to the secession of the southern states."


Critics ignore this, he writes, as well as the addition "of a range of issues from Jim Crow and racial terror to civil rights to the expansion of rights for LGBT Americans."

5 Kommentare


Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
28. Feb. 2023

American students spend more time on social studies than do their peers in competing nations, and it's not obvious that they gain much from all this historical quarrelling; they pay an opportunity cost in their deficiencies in languages and the sciences, which ill positions them to compete in a 21st-century global economy.

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Gast
21. Feb. 2023

I am breathlessly waiting for the unit on castration of young children to give them benefits in life and deprive them of that horrible sex drive, ambition and not fully aligned characteristics with the current hermaphrodite model


Should fit right in with girls' cutting, fight over looks and other idiocies promoted by modern med- and edu-butchers

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Gast
21. Feb. 2023

It's becoming obvious that in some states curriculum standards are dreamed up by small cadres of young, woke committee members. Sometimes they don't get past the proposal stage.The more far-fetched the standards are, the more likely it is that teachers, as well as individual school districts, will ignore them. All these attempts to import adult theories and concerns into K-8 classrooms do is agitate conservatives and parent groups (understandably). I will note that there were similar efforts to emphasize anti-Communism in the classrooms of the 1950's. It didn't have the effect that its supporters wanted.

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Gast
21. Feb. 2023
Antwort an

In September 2004, Paul Graham wrote 'The Age of the Essay' about how we got the English department. Social studies is the same. What the kids get fed is whatever was trendy when the young teachers were being indoctrinated a few years earlier.


High schools imitate universities. The seeds of our miserable high school experiences were sown in 1892, when the National Education Association "formally recommended that literature and composition be unified in the high school course." [4] The 'riting component of the 3 Rs then morphed into English, with the bizarre consequence that high school students now had to write about English literature-- to write, without even realizing it, imitations of whatever English professors had been publishing in their…
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