Sunday, August 5, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

Every weekend, I have the "Weekend Geography Quiz" to celebrate the field of geography, which arrogant "progressives" subsumed under the field of "social studies" (along with history) as far back as the 1910s.

From Diane Ravitch's
Left Back, a terrific history of American education, about how "progressives" invented "social studies" in the enormously influential 1917 Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education (CRSE), a federal report sponsored by the National Education Association.:

"The chairman of the Committee on Social Studies was Thomas Jesse Jones, the specialist on racial matters who had written the important federal report Negro Education. A well-known proponent of industrial and trade education, Jones was one of the first to coin the term of 'social studies.' This new field was formed by the intersection of two congenial ideas: one was social efficiency, or teaching students the skills and attitudes necessary to fit into the social order; the other was 'the new history,' whose advocates believed that the content of history in the schools should be selected on the basis of 'the pupil's own immediate interest' and 'general social significance.' Proponents of social studies believed that pupils could not possibly be interested in history unless it was directly related to the present.

"The trouble with history, it seemed, was that it frequently didn't have a social purpose at all; too often, it was geared toward satisfying the student's imagination or curiosity, which modern educators deemed socially useless. In its preliminary report, the Committee on Social Studies proclaimed that 'good citizenship' would be the goal of social studies: 'Facts, conditions, theories, and activities that do not contribute rather directly to the appreciation of methods of human betterment have no claim.' Even civics, which was a study of government, had to change to a study of 'social efforts to improve mankind. It is not so important that the pupil know how the President is elected as that he shall understand the duties of the health officer in his community.'"

Diane Ravitch goes on to give a quote from this Committee's report about why they thought that "social studies" was more important than history, civics, and geography. From the report:

"'The old chronicler who recorded the deeds of kings and warriors and neglected the labors of the common man is dead. The great palaces and cathedrals and pyramids are often but the empty shells or a parasitic growth on the working group. The elaborate descriptions of these old tombs are but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals compared to the record of the joys and sorrows, the hopes and disappointments of the masses, who are infinitely more important than any arrangement of wood and stone and iron.'"

Notice the Marxist undertones from this Committee's report of 1917. This report was enormously influential and tragically transformed the entire character of America's schools. You can see its influence in the fact that we still call history and geography at the elementary and middle schools levels "social studies" and the disparagement of subject matter that has no socialist utility. This is yet another reason to take back the schools from the "progressives."

Amazingly, socialists and liberals have attempted to take credit for the Civil Rights Movement, which was a successful movement by Blacks THEMSELVES to gain equal rights that were viciously denied them by DEMOCRATS and LIBERALS in the South. This movement liberals have falsely (and racistly--as if Blacks were not able to organize the Civil Rights Movement themselves without the paternal guidance of liberals) taken credit for gives them the ability to throw the epithet "racist" to anyone who disagrees with their "progressive" and socialist ideas (think The Great Society, discarding prayer and morality in schools, and busing for integration) that tore apart Black communities. The social utilitatrian and "progressive" education methods that date back to the CRSE's report and before are the some of the root causes for societal problems facing the Black community today.

This week's Weekend Geography Quiz:
This attractive city of about 300,000 in the heart of the cotton belt was settled along a river in the area of the Alibamu Indians.
On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, and a bus boycott was launched until the city desegregated the mass transit system in December 1956. Martin Luther King lived here from 1954 though 1960:
This city has not only been integral to the Civil Rights Movement, it has also had important musical contributions. The great Hank Williams lived here and is buried here in in Oakwood Cemetery.

The city has an important historical and musical legacy, but it is also a city of modern cultural achievements. It has a world-renowned Shakespeare theater and is home to the seventh largest Shakespeare festival in the world. It puts on many productions throughout the year:
This city also has the fifth largest museum in the world, the new Fine Arts Museum, also in the huge and attractive Blount Cultural Park that houses the Shakespeare theater. In 1910, the Wright winter flying school was set up in this city by the Wright brothers, and its legacy is still found today in that this city is an important Air Force training center. This very hot and humid city is a city of oaks and pines with many very attractive neighborhoods. It is also very religious. Every other building seems to be a church.

Finally--best of all--this city is home of the VERY BEST hot dogs in the world--even better than Atlanta's the Varsity--and was ranked in the top ten best hot dogs in the U.S. by the Travel channel (it should be number one). They can be found at Chris' hot dogs, founded in 1917,on Dexter Avenue near the Capitol:
What is the name of this all American city?


diana said...

Montgomery, Alabama!

(what do I win!!!)jk

Gabe said...

You're right, Diana! Hmm. . .I haven't thought about prizes yet. :)

I'm headed to Montgomery in a couple of weeks to visit my grandmother. My mother grew up in Montgomery. I like Montgomery a lot. It is one of my favorite cities. Can't wait to go to Chris' hot dogs!

diana said...

Hurray! One day dh and I plan to tour all the states with the kids...that will be a stop!

Chris said...

It doesn't appear you update this blog any longer, but in case you do, I thought you would be interested in knowing another side of Thomas Jesse Jones, whose work you seem to extol here. You can read it in this blog post on my site:

I can tell from your writing that you believe in the equality of the races. Yet clearly Jones's social studies curriculum promoted anything but equality, and he should hardly be celebrated today as the father of social studies.