Pawlenty’s Attempt to Give Education Standards a Wingnut Makeover

April 20, 2011

(ChattahBox Political News)–GOP presidential hopeful, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, with his personable aw-shucks demeanor and standard vanilla family values conservatism, is having trouble getting noticed in the crowded field of incendiary Republican wingnuts. Despite his over-the-top action hero campaign videos and his hating on the gays, Pawlenty is constantly finding himself upstaged by the extremist haters, teapartiers and birthers, such as Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) and circus clown Donald Trump. But according to a report by Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy, if you dig deep enough into his past, Pawlenty has plenty of right-wing street cred that would play well with the fringe Iowa primary voters. T-Paw’s hand-picked education commissioner sought to ban the “Socialist” concept of sharing in kindergartens, and promote the Confederacy while ignoring slavery.

Pawlenty’s education commissioner Cheri Yecke was eventually run out of town for her radical wingnuttery. But hey, maybe T-Paw can take credit for a trend to dumb-down and whitewash educational standards, to please radical evangelical Christians, that later took hold in Texas.

Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy reports on Pawlenty’s brush with extremism that ultimately backfired:

“One of those exceptions came in 2003, when the newly elected Republican governor selected Cheri Yecke, a little-known Bush administration veteran, to produce new educational standards for what students should—and shouldn’t—learn.”

“The battle that followed put Pawlenty at the center of a culture war conflagration. Members of Yecke’s handpicked standards committees dismissed sharing and cooperation as “socialist” ideas, suggested replacing “We Shall Overcome” with “Dixie” in a unit on protest songs, and advocated downplaying the impact of slavery on the nation’s antebellum economy—lest it sour students on the virtues of the free market.”

It’s a great read. Check it out.


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