Keep ‘America’ in Michigan Schools

Michael Warren, Detroit News, May 24, 2006

Censoring the word “America” from our own schools is something Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden would never have thought possible. Michigan has done it without a whimper.

In perhaps a well-intentioned, but pernicious example of political correctness, the Michigan Department of Education is attempting to ban the “America” and “American” from our public schools. Even though the word “America” appears in the department’s own civics and government benchmarks, the department’s style protocol for the Michigan Education Assessment Program requires that “America” and “Americans” be expunged from our testing and grade level expectations. Last week, the department ordered that our hard-working teachers not utter the words.

We’re all ‘North Americans’

The Department of Education asserts that “Americans” includes Mexicans, Canadians and others in the Western Hemisphere, so referring to U.S. residents as Americans is inappropriate. In the department’s view, “America” happens to include South, Central and North America. Accordingly, when referring to the colonial period, the state bureaucracy requires teachers to refer to “the colonies of North America” or “North Americans.” After the American Revolution, the nation is called the United States (not of America).

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The Michigan Department of Education considers the dictate “internationally friendly.” Why being friendly to an international audience or perspective is important in teaching and learning American history is incomprehensible.

That we would sacrifice our language to the altar of internationalism is a betrayal to the American spirit. Indeed, the whole idea of America is to be a beacon of light, a shining city on the hill, which inspires the rest of the world.

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