What will the South do with national education standards?

There is an academy in Arkansas named after him, a high school in Florida, a street in Tennessee and who knows what else. Few have ever heard of him, but I would not be surprised if his name becomes the center-point of the standards movement. Nathaniel Bedford Forrest was a talented Southern Civil War General. He was legitimately feared by Northern Armies. Had his intelligence been acknowledged at the Battle of Shiloh, Grant may have been denied his victory at that location. Indeed Ulysses Sam Grant may have never risen to be the savior of the United States in our bloodiest war had Bedford Forrest’s advice been taken. Prior to the war Nathaniel Bedford Forrest was slave trader. After the war he founded an organization known as the Klu Klux Klan. At the end of his life he realized his error and rode across the South trying to convince Southerners to abandon the Klan. It was his least successful effort.  

How will the South deal with standards? We have no schools that I am aware of named after Benedict Arnold whose deeds in truth pale in comparison to Nathaniel Bedford Forrest. James Longstreet, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee were at one point legitimate American heroes.  Today, especially with standards in education, how do we honor anyone who fought against the United States, who sought the domination of others and attempted to deny them what both North and South had previously agreed were god given rights, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? How will the South deal with American History standards? This is going to be messier than the evolution and intelligent design arguments.

In the long run, this argument may be good for America and end distortions concerning the war and those who fought for the South. It may be the only good thing I can say about national standards. I just hope the argument remains civil.




3 thoughts on “What will the South do with national education standards?

  1. I’m sorry you are upset by my post. Imagine how African American children feel when they attend schools which are generally named after American heroes and then they learn what the person their school is named in honor of actually did. By someone’s standard Forrest was a hero. How would standards treat Forrest? How will standards treat the causes of the civil war and how will the South deal with this?
    Are you aware that in Richmond many tried to prevent a statue of Lincoln and even more recently one of Arthur Ashe? Many say the South is still fighting the civil war and if you look at their voting record in presidential elections there is a reason to support that statement. National standards will trump local teaching practices. The South may have a very difficult time with this though I was touched by the recent tributes to the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.
    Nevertheless Forrest was no hero and should not be treated as such. The North took Robert E. Lee’s home and turned it into a national cemetery. They did not treat him as a hero then. What has changed that he who led an army against the United States of America should now be honored as one of our great heroes? These are questions standards must answer and the South may not like these answers.

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