A Tweet About NC’s Civics and Economics

A tweet from NC’s Superintendent, who is also President Elect of the CCSSO, caught my eye the other morning.


The tweet from Atkinson is a reply to a story on Mississippi, which doesn’t discuss North Carolina whatsoever.  Atkinson has proven to be twitter challenged, so I checked Ravitch’s latest tagged articles for North Carolina.

I thought the Atkinson tweet was a response to the article Ravitch did covering Atkinson’s latest machinations dealing with the hotly contested new APUSH framework (AP US History), but there adoption date of NC’s civics isn’t covered there or in the related article where Ravitch basically re-prints the News and Observer’s smear job. It would appear Atkinson’s tweet is a non-sequitor protestation of something Ravitch never said? YEP. Gee…Our schools are in the best of hands.

Atkinson’s non-sequitor tweet is correct (see the next paragraph), which begs the question why the big Koch brothers push. That question’s answer is easy: Skirt the Founding Principles act and save APUSH. After all, the Bill of Rights Institute’s work doesn’t line up with the new APUSH narratives.

The NC proposed coursework is rather simple. The last revision of North Carolina’s Civics and Economics that I found was in 2007. The current version was approved in 2011 and can be found here. This 2011 version notes “no standards have been changed.”. This 2011 version is also available at NC DPI’s Live Binder.  The 2011 version has an ‘unpacking‘ document. For those interested, here is the timeline of recent course of study changes in North Carolina, as well as the 2013 Civics and Economics test.  There are multiple additional resources listed at DPI’s wikispace for Civics and Economics.

jesus invalid argumentWhile I was on the first Ravitch article, I noticed she chooses to quote Bill Bigelow.  Bigelow, in turn, offers a half-assed smear job on the Bill of Rights Institute as a means of making sure people know how evil the Koch brothers are. I find it amusing the response to someone from the ‘far right’ is to choose someone from the ‘far left’ to debunk them.

To say Bigelow leans left would be a gross understatement. The only thing I agree with him on in this universe is that Common Core is bad.

Bigelow’s Resume includes teacher, occupier, climate change true believer, a fan of socialist Howard Zinn, obsessed with slavery and revisionist history teller via a modern morality lense – just see his book on Columbus, which has been banned in Tuscon, I believe.  Don’t miss what Bigelow says about Reagan and ‘bended knee Constitution worship’. Also, did you know Helen Keller was really a socialist? I laughed.  Oh, and he hates fireworks or something.

Bigelow makes the claim, in the article cited by Ravitch, that the Bill of Rights Institute is a Koch “front group”, but of course provides no proof.

I nearly spit out my coffee laughing at one of Bigelow’s passages Ravitch chose to include in her blog entry. The first sentence alone should tell you to what lengths Bigelow will go to make sure you know Koch = evil.  Notice he calls it “Koch curriculum”, not Bill of Rights Institute curriculum.

In its materials for teachers and students, the Bill of Rights Institute cherry-picks the Constitution, history, and current events to hammer home its libertarian message that the owners of private property should be free to manage their wealth as they see fit. As one Bill of Rights lesson insists, “The Founders considered industry and property rights critical to the happiness of society.” This message that individual owners of property are the source of social good, their property sacred, and government the source of danger weaves through the entire Koch curriculum, sometimes with sophistication, other times in caricature. For example, in one “click-and-explore” activity at the BRI website, showing the many ways that government can oppress individuals—“Life Without the Bill of Rights?”—a cartoon character pops up with a dialogue bubble reading, “The gov’t took my home!” An illustration shows his home demolished.


How does one “cherry pick” the Constitution in a libertarian manner, exactly? How dare children be taught the property they own should be managed as they wish!  How dare children be taught to be wary of big government.  Funny words from an Occupy supporter.

A paragraph down from the above excerpt is this passage:

However, the materials at the Bill of Rights Institute avoid discussing how the free exercise of property rights has played out in the real world—especially with respect to historically oppressed groups.

The “real world”? As opposed to this fake one we live in?
Read the whole thing if you can stomach it.

He also gets into Castle Doctrine, because we all know that is what the Trayvon Martin case was about, right?   For as skewed as Bigelow says the Bill of Rights Institute is a mess, however, Bigelow’s own writing is far worse.



About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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