School Curriculum Whitewashes Communism’s History


When the state Assembly passed Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s bill that would have repealed state provisions that make membership in the Communist Party a fireable offense for state employment, a firestorm of criticism ensued.

The backlash forced Bonta to withdraw the bill, but any rejoicing should be tempered by the knowledge that California’s new curriculum guidelines whitewash communism’s gruesome history.

While Bonta’s backdown is a tactical victory for the victims of communism, the history and social studies curriculum frameworks approved last year by the state Board of Education could ensure a long-term strategic defeat for communism’s opponents.

In describing the Cold War, the 11th-grade curriculum framework says that the Soviet Union was a communist nation “that had a very poor record of protecting human rights.” This is a spectacular understatement. Through politically motivated forced starvations, mass executions and other heinous means, the Soviet Union was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people. The Soviet Union did not just fail to protect human rights, but rather was a killing machine of gargantuan proportions.

It gets worse, however.

In discussing the policies of Mao Zedong, longtime ruler of communist China, the framework says, “The Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) caused massive turmoil in China.” Students, therefore, “should learn about the unrest and disorder in China during these years: elites were made to work on farms; there was arbitrary application of revolutionary justice; the Red Guard even turned on members of Mao’s own party.”

Terms such as “massive turmoil,” “unrest” and “disorder” are euphemisms of appalling dimensions here. According to “The Black Book of Communism,” up to 3 million Chinese were killed during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

Worse, 20 million to 43 million Chinese people died in the massive famine caused by Mao’s forced communist agricultural policies during The Great Leap Forward, making it the worst famine in history.

Among the atrocities committed, “The Black Book” notes that children were killed, boiled and used for fertilizer, while in various provinces children were eaten.

The death toll of communism worldwide during the 20th century is estimated to be between 85 million to 100 million. The failure of the 11th-grade framework to mention that crucial basic fact is an epic whitewash.

What children are taught or not taught in the classroom has an impact on their beliefs.

A recent YouGov survey found that, of those who have heard of him, one out of four millennials have a favorable opinion of Vladimir Lenin. A larger proportion of millennials believe that more people were killed by George W. Bush’s administration than by Joseph Stalin.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the communist revolution in Russia. Instead of learning about the mind-boggling toll of lives lost to communism, our children are receiving a sanitized version of communism’s evil history. In an interview, a member of the Southern California Young Communist League prophetically said, “Whoever controls the minds of the next generation basically controls the future.”

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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