Some, if not all, of the original thirteen may have had some claim to state’s rights in that as individual and separate colonies they had known some autonomy. None of the states admitted later, with the possible exception of Texas, had claim to such rights. Any legitimate claim by Texas, or any of the thirteen original, was abrogated with their secession from the Union during the Civil War.
So many of our current ills are attributable to this original sin of according significant rights to the individual states. This autonomy allowed for legitimatizing slavery, and later, the implementation of Jim Crow Laws. This autonomy allows for gerrymandering. Allowed segregation to persist and persist.
Unfortunately, our system of public schools is much modeled on the states’ rights model. State Legislatures hold sway over the context of textbooks for schools within the state. Larger states are able to exert influence on a regional and national level. Local school boards can and do influence the curriculum within their district.
If this state and local influence was exercised with best thinking, the best of intentions, this wouldn’t be all bad.
In almost all, if not all, of the ‘red’ states, climate change is either not taught as a fact or is taught as a subject of debate. There is no debate. Climate change is real; and, it is much a consequence of the burning of fossil fuels. This means that upward to one-half the public schools students in America are either being taught a lie or denied the truth. Which makes it too, too, difficult for the nation to effectively deal with the issue of climate change.
These, in the main, same ‘red’ states teach their students that evolution is debatable. Evolution is not debatable, it is the cornerstone of modern biology. It is the scriptures that are debatable, that are refutable.
For nearly one hundred years, many of these ‘red’ states taught their school children that the south’s was a noble cause, that slavery wasn’t really all that bad, that the Civil War was about states’ rights. Leaving the nation with a hundred-year legacy of Jim Crow Laws and segregation.
Currently, the nation is locked in a suicidal partisan battle where Mitch McConnell a very powerful senator from a small red state says that winning is all that matters.
This current partisanship is much the legacy of states’ rights and our decentralized education system. School children who grew up in ‘red’ states are given a false set of facts, taught to believe things that simply aren’t true.
Today, 11/23/2021, in the Washington Post, Professor Robert Mann of Louisiana State University responds with satire and humor to Louisiana Senator John Kennedy’s treatment of Professor Saule Omarova, Cornell, during her confirmation hearing for Comptroller of Currency. It isn’t really funny. Senator Kennedy is knowingly pandering to the ignorance of his ‘red’ state constituents. Their ignorance by design is being enabled by states’ rights and America’s decentralized education system.
Senator Kennedy has lots of company. Almost daily we see Reps. Louis Gohmert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Billy Long, …, doing the same pandering. Often we see Senators Barrasso, Cornyn, McConnell, Shelby, … take a hand at this pandering. None other than Ronald Reagan pandered to this same ignorance.
They couldn’t do it but for the ability of their states’ legislatures to control what is being taught in the states’ public schools. Propagating lies.
America is in peril. Much of the cause for this peril can be traced back to the original sin of states’ rights. A more proximate cause is today’s Republican Party. It is as if they have set course to destroy America. They were granted the power to pose this threat in large part by states’ rights and a decentralized education system.
For the sake of the Nation, for the sake of us all, there needs to be enforceable standards against the teaching of lies to our children.