Friday, May 13, 2011

Florida high school exit exams indoctrinate children into a progressive and revisionist model critical of America

By Dean Kalahar
May 13, 2011

Florida is currently moving forward with the creation and implementation of exit tests in the public schools. This is an important reform effort and Florida should be applauded. In a turn that can only be called outrageous however, the process for developing these tests has been hijacked. In teaching American history, the exit exam process is being used as a legal tool for student indoctrination into a progressive and revisionist model that is critical of America.

While exit exams are a vital tool in evaluating student knowledge acquisition, they force very specific aspects of curriculum into being taught as accurate and factual. Teachers, who will now be evaluated and paid according to the exit exam’s specific details and student performance therein, are all but forced into teaching children “what to think.”

This is not a problem in subjects like math for concepts like addition and subtraction. But in the social sciences, suspect concepts and interpretations of history can be used as a tool for distorting the facts at best or indoctrination of children at worst. In subjects like economics, distortions of fundamental theories can cause inefficiencies and death, so important education decisions like what to place in exit exams should not be taken lightly.

The new Florida exit exam standards are a shocking move toward what one can only equate to soviet style propaganda to create a monolithic citizenry. In the case of high school American history, a look into the specifics of the exit exam is all that is needed as proof to an agenda directed in a planned process by groups that have no problem using whatever means necessary to acquire power and promote a twisted vision of America. Florida exit exams in the social sciences need to be stopped immediately and there needs to be a serious reconsideration of the entire process before moving ahead.

As they say, the devil is in the details. The following exit exam specifics are copied directly from the Florida DOE website. Just a few of the concerning aspects that teachers will be legally bound to teach are listed here. As you will see, there are real issues with the appropriateness and accuracy of the Florida exit exam program.

What is stunning is that the 9 standards that follow are a part of the 88 fundamentals of American history that will be tested. As you read what has been determined as mastery based American history, ask yourself, are these fundamental, factual, unbiased, politically correct, or indoctrinating?

•Describe the attempts to promote international justice
•Analyze the major factors that drove United States imperialism
•Analyze the effects of domestic terrorism on the American people.
•Examine the controversy surrounding the proliferation of nuclear technology in the United States
•Assess key figures and organizations in shaping the Black Power Movement.
•Analyze significant Supreme Court decisions relating to reproductive rights.
•Describe efforts by the United States and other world powers to avoid future wars
•Examine the failure of the United States to support the League of Nations
•Discuss the economic outcomes of demobilization.

Underline and bold added to highlight the concern.


  1. Thank you Mr. Kalahar for bringing this to our attention. As the parent of a soon-to-be Florida high school senior, I will be spreading the word and contacting fldoe. Most importantly, these topics will be discussed, at length, with my child to ensure that he truly understands these topics from all points of view. Thank you again!

  2. "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." — George Orwell

  3. Anonymous... nice potty mouth. Can you say it without using foul language?

  4. Good for you. I connected through Brieitbart.BigGovernment which featured your post. Recently I was looking for appropriate film clips on the Great Depression. I was amazed to find that the only ones available were advertised in the catalog as “meeting voluntary history standards” which said that Hoover was a laissez-faire advocate, the Depression was caused in part by excesses of the 1920s, etc. My impression is that if you wanted to get a Master’s degree in history from a mainstream university or college, you must pretty much accept the progressive narrative. Anyway, your post inspired me to write my local representative!
    P.S. You left one out. “Compare how different nongovernmental organizations and progressives worked to shape public policy, restore economic opportunities, and correct injustices in American life.” Also, the questions on the Great Depression are really weak. But you would expect this since it was probably written by a history major.

  5. > The following exit exam specifics are
    > copied directly from the Florida DOE website.

    A link so that we can check this would have been nice.

  6. Did I miss the part about the Founding of the U.S.? This assessment starts at the Civil War. Is there a separate assessment for U.S. history prior to the Civil War?

  7. First, you did not copy directly from the website. You omitted portions from some of the benchmarks. Specifically these 2:
    "SS.912.A.7.6 Assess key figures and organizations in shaping the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement."
    These movements are very important parts of our social history and integral movements to understand when examining the current racial relations in America. Also, it reads "assess". Assessing allows for exploration of both negative and positive aspects of these key figures.
    "SS.912.A.7.8 Analyze significant Supreme Court decisions relating to integration, busing, affirmative action, the rights of the accused, and
    reproductive rights."
    Again, it says analyze. That means objectively explore all sides of the argument. And clearly it wasn't 1 benchmark only about reproductive rights as you presented it above. The benchmark is about exploring how the Supreme Court's decisions affect US society.
    "SS.912.A.6.7 Describe the attempts to promote international justice through the Nuremberg Trials."
    Quite the omission. And it says to describe the attempts that were made, not that they did.

  8. Second, you don't mention the standard that the benchmarks fall under. In context, the historical period these standards are referring to, it makes sense to discuss them. I don't see how they justify a soviet style propaganda reference. I don't exactly know why discussing the economic outcomes of demobilization (this is under the standard of history about the 1920s) is propaganda. WW 1 had great economic impacts both domestically and abroad, not discussing it seems like ignoring the elephant in the room. I think the same phrase can be applied to the benchmark about terrorism. You omitted international. It seems very relevant to discuss effects of international and domestic terrorism.

    Now, with a little more information about context, here are the only 2 points I feel you made with this post.
    The imperialism benchmark is under history leading up to and including WW1. It is commonly coined among historians that the late 19th century was the "Age of Imperialism". If you take issue with the labeling of America as imperialistic, I agree. I think that imperialism has direct implications of an empire (for arguments sake, empire being a negative connotation) and the word hegemony would have been much more appropriate.
    The “failure” of the US to join the League was also a word choice that I feel has negative implications. More appropriate would be the US’s choice not to join. I do feel it is important to look at though, especially in light of the Iraq War since the Senate’s main opposition to the League was over the fact that the US would have to consult the League before using aggression.

  9. Finally, with full context given, these are absolutely appropriate to teach. Your argument seems to be more with how these standards are being taught as opposed to how they are written. The standards present no bias or political indoctrination except, as I mentioned, the wording of 2. Your post just makes me so angry because it is blatantly misleading. You are the one promoting an agenda, not the standards and benchmarks. I’m so sick of hearing how analyzing both sides of situation immediately makes it have a bias! Sorry, this anger has been building for a while, and clearly this just happened to be the post that threw me over the edge.

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