by Al Benson Jr.
During the latter half of the 1970s my family and I spent two years in Kanawha County, West Virginia during an event called the Kanawha County Textbook Protest. This protest started in 1974 when the county school board, with the exception of one courageous lady on it, Alice Moore, tried to foist off a set of textbooks on the children that was nothing more than unbridled humanist and leftist propaganda.
The parents in the county rebelled against this. They kept their kids out of the public schools and they picketed those schools for the best part of a month. They created a furor that, at that time was heard all across the country and even in parts of Europe. The public school establishment from Washington on down finally managed to put a stop to it, but not before it had given them a black eye. Then they sought to portray the book protesters as nothing more than ignorant hillbillies. Does this sound familiar today?
The problem wasn’t the parents. It was the public school system, not only in West Virginia, but all across the country. Since the 1970s nothing with the public school system has changed–except to get worse!
In the beginning, the public school system was the brainchild of Unitarians and socialists. It was only fitting that it originated in New England, the original hotbed of Unitarianism in this country. The Unitarians wanted to try to limit the influence of church schools and a system of required public education seemed to them to be the solution to that theological problem. Unfortunately, most Christians went along with it because they did not perceive the theological problems involved. That was the beginning of public schools as we now have them in this country.
I have to laugh when I hear people say “Everything would be okay if we could just get the public schools back to the good old days, the way they used to be.” Those that say such do not understand the history of public schools. If the public schools were Unitarian and socialist in their origins (and they were) then what, pray tell, do you “reform” them back to? A less obnoxious brand of anti-Christianity? No one ever deals with that question. It gets ignored because they have no answer for it but don’t want you to know that so they change the subject and hope you don’t notice.
Having grown up in New England, I would expect that kind of rationale from the intelligentsia up there. I would not expect it from Southerners, given the history of public education in the South. Sadly, my expectations have been dashed.
Most Southern folks I know, even those with no connections to the Southern Heritage Movement, have at least some recognition of how bad “reconstruction” at the end of the War Between the States was here in the South. And public schools in the South were part and parcel of that “reconstruction.” Before that war you had almost nothing in the way of public schools in the South. Those few that may have been there were most defintely under local control. There was no public school “establishment” like we now have until it came in as part of the Northern “reconstruction” agenda.
To be continued.