Does Tennessee’s New History Bill Employ Historical Thinking ?

The Tennessee General Assembly is currently considering a bill that appears to emphasize a specific political agenda in the teaching of history in the state's public schools. The version of the bill passed by the state senate says: Generally, present law requires the textbook commission to recommend textbooks to the state board of education for use …

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Should Public Funding for History Be Cut?

Governor Bill Haslam has issued his amendment to the 2011-12 budget. Sadly, the proposed budget cuts to TSLA that I've discussed on several occasions remain intact. The mantra from Secretary Tre Hargett's office has remained consistent. As Speaker Beth Harwell wrote in an e-mail response to my concerns, "I have spoken with Secretary Hargett's office, and have been reassured the …

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Don’t Forget TSLA!

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to remind you to contact Tennessee politicians regarding the proposed TSLA budget cuts. You can find their contact info here. I'm hearing through back-channel contacts that these cuts are not necessarily a done deal. I'm not quite sure what that means, since personnel who are being forcibly …

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Editorial on TSLA Budget Cuts in Today’s Tennessean

The Nashville Tennessean published the editorial that I submitted early in the week. I find it fascinating that comments on the newspaper website are already critical of my stance. I never thought that maintaining public access to state historical resources was that controversial, but, apparently, I was wrong. Again, the taxpayer is being asked to fund …

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Update on TSLA Budget Cuts

At the recommendation of Secretary of State Tre Hargett, State Librarian Chuck Sherrill has replied to an e-mail that I sent him summarizing my arguments in this blog post. His e-mail hewed closely to what Gordon Belt posted on Monday, but with some additional information. First, Sherrill noted that TSLA will have a Tu.-Sat. 8:00-4:30 schedule that will …

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Budget Cuts Affecting Tennessee History

Update: Gordon Belt has added some additional perspective and provided State Librarian Chuck Sherrill's official response to questions about the cuts. Upcoming budget cuts will affect those interested in studying Tennessee history. The budget proposed by Governor Bill Haslam recommends the cutting of seven full-time positions at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) [1]. …

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Humpty Dumpty History

In a an editorial last month, Stanley Kutler criticized American political conservatives for misusing history for their own purposes: Serious history, serious scholarship and serious discussion of facts and ideas are dismissed with tunnel vision. In Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass,” Humpty Dumpty scornfully said “when I use a word, it means just what I choose it to …

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