Unhinged History

A committee at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas, which is apparently one of the wealthiest school systems in the entire state, will soon decide if students in Advanced Placement English classes should be allowed to read The Working Poor: Invisible in America, a book about Americans living near the federal poverty line.

The book is under review because a local parent is demanding that students also study the works of Ayn Rand and Ben Carson alongside the “Marxist” curriculum.

“These are feeding children values and beliefs that I don’t hold, and I don’t value. So, I gave some suggestions. If you want to understand poverty in a Marxist or socialist environment, let’s have the children read ‘We the Living’ by Ayn Rand,” she said. “And then let them compare that with poverty in free markets, and read ‘America the Beautiful’ by Benjamin Carson.”

The idea that the works of Ayn Rand and Ben Carson should be studied alongside well-researched literature on poverty is no different than saying creationism should be taught alongside evolution or that we should teach the controversy of climate change rather than just the science.

The concerned parent believes poverty should not be discussed or studied in Advanced Placement English class (a college-level class), but I would say it’s an excellent opportunity to study the topic.

If students are taught that accuracy matters and that fabricating economic theories out of whole cloth has no merit, they may never be tempted by the fictional works of Ayn Rand or Ben Carson.

Ben Carson, the author of America the Beautiful, recently favorably compared our founding fathers to ISIS and suggested that we should be more like ISIS today.