Booklet That Upset Mrs. Cheney Is History

IJ Reilly

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The Department of Education destroys 300,000 parent guides to remove references to national standards.

WASHINGTON — The Education Department this summer destroyed more than 300,000 copies of a booklet designed for parents to help their children learn history after the office of Vice President Dick Cheney's wife complained that it mentioned the National Standards for History, which she has long opposed.

In June, during a routine update, the Education Department began distributing a new edition of a 10-year-old how-to guide called "Helping Your Child Learn History." Aimed at parents of children from preschool through fifth grade, the 73-page booklet presented an assortment of advice, including taking children to museums and visiting historical sites.

The booklet included several brief references to the National Standards for History, which were developed at UCLA in the mid-1990s with federal support. Created by scholars and educators to help school officials design better history courses, they are voluntary benchmarks, not mandatory requirements.

At the time, Lynne Cheney, the wife of now-Vice President Cheney, led a vociferous campaign complaining that the standards were not positive enough about America's achievements and paid too little attention to figures such as Gen. Robert E. Lee, Paul Revere and Thomas Edison.

At one point in the initial controversy, Cheney denounced the standards as "politicized history."

In response to the criticism, the UCLA standards were heavily revised, most critics were mollified and the controversy faded — but not for Cheney and her staff.

...

As the wife of the vice president, Cheney has no executive position in the federal government. But when her office spotted the references to the National Standards for History in the new edition of the history booklet, her staff communicated its displeasure to the Education Department.

Subsequently, the department decided it was necessary to kill the new edition and reprint it with references to the standards removed. Though about 61,000 copies of "Helping Your Child Learn History" had been distributed, the remaining 300,000-plus copies were destroyed. Asked about the decision, one department official said they had been "recycled."

...

When The Times initially approached the Education Department to inquire about the booklets, the department issued a statement saying it had taken the unusual action because of "mistakes, including typos and incomplete information."

Later, Susan Aspey, the department's press secretary, admitted that typographical errors were not the reason. Asked about the role of Cheney's office, Aspey responded:

"The decision was ours to stop distribution and reprint. Both offices were on parallel tracks and obviously neither of us were pleased that the final document was not the accurate reflection of policy that was approved originally."

A representative for Cheney said her office did not order the destruction of the booklets. "Unequivocally, [neither] Mrs. Cheney nor her staff insisted on having the history publication recalled," said spokeswoman Maria Miller. "And that's just the bottom line."

However, neither department officials nor Cheney's office would discuss the episode in detail. Both refused to allow interviews with the staffers involved.

Individuals with knowledge of the events said complaints from Cheney's office moved the Education Department to act. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity.

...
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-history8oct08,1,993774.story
 

toontra

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OK Let's cut to the chase. I'm going to invoke Godwin's Law and say this sounds like the actions of the Third Reich! :)
 

Lyle

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mischief said:
Nothing quite like rewriting History.
To be fair, I would like to know the rest of the story, namely, what was the (potentially) objectionable content in the UCLA's "National Standards for History". I couldn't get to the original LA Times story (i.e. subscription required) but the part of the story quoted by IJ only says that:
At the time, Lynne Cheney, the wife of now-Vice President Cheney, led a vociferous campaign complaining that the standards were not positive enough about America's achievements and paid too little attention to figures such as Gen. Robert E. Lee, Paul Revere and Thomas Edison.

At one point in the initial controversy, Cheney denounced the standards as "politicized history."
Have you actually read the standards in question? Maybe you have, but I'm guessing not. That's OK, I haven't either; I just googled and came up with this link to them, but I haven't read through them. So without having read them, who's to say whether they're slanted or not?
 

Dont Hurt Me

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Cheney sucks, i dont see how any republican minded person can still back him or the current administration with all the lies,spin and B.S. they have produce. what happened to ethics and honesty? Nothing like creating a police state. vote this scum out America can do better. Iam voting for John Kerry, not the draft dodger fortunate son nor the draft dodger vice president. This pair of chickenhawks have us in a mess in Iraq, at Home and on anything else they have touched. Talking about making up history lets see we invaded Iraq for having WMDs but now the administrations says we invaded because Iraq wanted WMDs........Spin Masters the first WMDs were given to Saddam by CIA chief Bush sr. amazing!!
 

IJ Reilly

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The generalities of Cheney's objections to the standards are discussed in the article, but I didn't think this story was about the merits of the National Standards for History. To me, it's about an abuse of power by an administration that doesn't understand its limits.
 

Lyle

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Dont Hurt Me said:
Cheney sucks, i dont see how any republican minded person can still back him or the current administration with all the lies,spin and B.S. they have produce...
Since this is a bit off topic, perhaps you could start a new thread to share your brilliant analysis with the rest of the forum's readers. I would hate for anyone to inadvertently miss out.
 

themadchemist

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Lyle said:
Since this is a bit off topic, perhaps you could start a new thread to share your brilliant analysis with the rest of the forum's readers. I would hate for anyone to inadvertently miss out.
I agree. This act may or may not be questionable, depending on whether it is reasonable to assume that it is within Mrs. Cheney's office's jurisdiction to push agendas within the DOE (which it may be, to a certain extent) and whether it was jingoist tendencies and not good pedagogy that tried to discredit the quality of the National Standards. However, I don't think it is necessary to take the administration to task on entirely unrelated topics in this thread, considering the direction of the thread so far.

I think that the Bush administration is a terrible plague upon this country. However, I'm not entirely convinced that this act is very heinous. Certainly, it is not the most heinous act out of the White House in the last four years.
 

LethalWolfe

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IJ Reilly said:
The generalities of Cheney's objections to the standards are discussed in the article, but I didn't think this story was about the merits of the National Standards for History. To me, it's about an abuse of power by an administration that doesn't understand its limits.

That's a bit judgemental<sp?> don't you think? You don't even know the whole story and you are coming down like a ton of bricks. I don't see how you can pin this as an abuse of power by the current administration considering Ms. Cheney has been very involved w/it sense the very begining.

As a couple of other posters have said, w/o knowing what her specific objections were I don't see how anyone can cheer or jeer.

Here's a bit more from the article:
...

Cheney led the charge on the original UCLA draft. In a widely read opinion piece published in 1994, she complained that "We are a better people than the National Standards indicate, and our children deserve to know it."

The standards contained repeated references to the Ku Klux Klan and to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the anti-Communist demagogue of the 1950s, she said. And she noted that Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave who helped run the Underground Railroad, was mentioned six times.

But Revere, Lee, the Wright brothers and other prominent figures went unmentioned, she said.

Recently, when the department decided to update "Helping Your Child Learn History," Cheney's office became involved because of her long-standing interest in American history.

Cheney is prominently quoted in the booklet as a "noted author and wife of the vice president." Two books on history that she wrote for children are mentioned in the booklet.

The acknowledgments also credit her office for helping with the guide, which cost $110,360 to print, Aspey said.

As head of the National Endowment for the Humanities under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Cheney approved some of the funding for the National Standards for History project, but she also issued a blistering critique of social science education, which is listed as a resource in the booklet.

The history booklet was first published in 1993. Having made education reform a centerpiece of its domestic agenda, the current administration decided to update the series.

As the Education Department prepared the new edition, Cheney's office reviewed drafts and provided materials but the second lady was not personally involved, an aide said.

The references to the National History Standards were added at the Education Department after Cheney's office signed off on an initial draft that did not mention them. Aspey said it was apparently done for consistency, because such standards were referred to in the department's other guidebooks for parents.

...
Going just by what I've learned about this topic in the past few minutes it 't sounds like Ms. Cheney wants to ADD to the NHS guide lines not REMOVE or REPLACE anything.


Lethal
 

IJ Reilly

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LethalWolfe said:
That's a bit judgemental<sp?> don't you think? You don't even know the whole story and you are coming down like a ton of bricks. I don't see how you can pin this as an abuse of power by the current administration considering Ms. Cheney has been very involved w/it sense the very begining.
Yes it is judgmental. I judge it to be wrong for the Second Lady to use her influence to get a book shredded. I don't give a hoot what it was about, she had no business doing it.
 

mactastic

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Isn't this the kind of thing that got Hillary on every right-wing black list? Being 'uppity' and creating/altering policy from a figurehead position?

How's that for irony, eh?
 

LethalWolfe

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IJ Reilly said:
Yes it is judgmental. I judge it to be wrong for the Second Lady to use her influence to get a book shredded. I don't give a hoot what it was about, she had no business doing it.

Do you disagree w/her entire involvement or just what's happend recently?

Playing devil's advocate here, so if even if the booklet "designed to encourage parents to get involved in their children's education" contained misinformantion and had some eyebrow raising historical omissions you don't think anything should have been done about it?


Lethal
 

LethalWolfe

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mactastic said:
Isn't this the kind of thing that got Hillary on every right-wing black list? Being 'uppity' and creating/altering policy from a figurehead position?

How's that for irony, eh?

Probably as ironic as anyone who didn't mind Hillary's influence using a situation like this to condem Ms. Cheney and/or the current administration.


Lethal
 

IJ Reilly

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LethalWolfe said:
Do you disagree w/her entire involvement or just what's happend recently?

Playing devil's advocate here, so if even if the booklet "designed to encourage parents to get involved in their children's education" contained misinformantion and had some eyebrow raising historical omissions you don't think anything should have been done about it?
She's entitled to be involved and to express her opinion, just as she has for some years on this particular issue. She is not entitled to use her influence as the spouse of the Vice President to have a government publication shredded because she doesn't personally approve of its content. That is a classic abuse of power, and if there's another side to this, I don't know what it could be possibly.

You keep trying to turn this discussion to the history standards, which implies a belief that her objections might somehow justify this abuse of power. This is in fact a definition of the problem, not a solution.
 

themadchemist

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Personally, I think it is more instructive for students to learn from and about their country's mistakes in detail and spend somewhat less time on the somewhat romanticized constructions of their country's victories. While both must exist within instruction of history, the latter is so deeply ingrained in popular culture that the former must be emphasized to gain a balanced and realistic perception of the nation.
 

mactastic

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LethalWolfe said:
Probably as ironic as anyone who didn't mind Hillary's influence using a situation like this to condem Ms. Cheney and/or the current administration.


Lethal
Huh? Isn't Hillary in a position to criticize, regardless of whether you agree with her criticism or not? Or would you say that sitting Senators should refrain from criticizing sitting First Ladies?

I'm very confused by what you are implying here.
 

kgarner

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mactastic said:
Huh? Isn't Hillary in a position to criticize, regardless of whether you agree with her criticism or not? Or would you say that sitting Senators should refrain from criticizing sitting First Ladies?

I'm very confused by what you are implying here.
I believe what he is saying is that you find it ironic that right wingers got all in a tizzy when Hillary did this kind of stuff, but not when Mrs. Cheney does it. But it is just as ironic that left wingers who ignored Hillary's actions are now in a tizzy about Mrs. Cheney's.

Corect me if I'm wrong.
 

Chip NoVaMac

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Lyle said:
To be fair, I would like to know the rest of the story, namely, what was the (potentially) objectionable content in the UCLA's "National Standards for History". I couldn't get to the original LA Times story (i.e. subscription required) but the part of the story quoted by IJ only says that:
Have you actually read the standards in question? Maybe you have, but I'm guessing not. That's OK, I haven't either; I just googled and came up with this link to them, but I haven't read through them. So without having read them, who's to say whether they're slanted or not?
Just pulling one of the pages up (http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/nchs/standards/era10-5-12.html); it seems to me that are some (Like Ms. Cheney) that would not want these standards. For it forces students to put to practical use the subject of history. And students then get to decide for themselves each parties policies. And move on to be better informed voters.

Very dangerous for any party that tries to use just nice sounding sound-bites, and jokes to win an election.
 

Chip NoVaMac

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LethalWolfe said:
Here's a bit more from the article:


Lethal
So lets keep sugarcoating history as it was when I was in school then?

Why not have a broader focus on the wrongs of the nation, so that we don't repeat them? Oh, that's right, if we did that we might not have the USPA or even the war in Iraq today.

Maybe the parties would not blindly support their incumbent Presidents.
 

IJ Reilly

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kgarner said:
I believe what he is saying is that you find it ironic that right wingers got all in a tizzy when Hillary did this kind of stuff, but not when Mrs. Cheney does it. But it is just as ironic that left wingers who ignored Hillary's actions are now in a tizzy about Mrs. Cheney's.

Corect me if I'm wrong.
Okay, you're wrong -- unless you tell me when "Hillary did this kind of stuff."
 

Thomas Veil

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Huh. The saying, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past," comes to mind. Now where have I heard that before?

Oh yeah, "1984".