The Education Wars just never go away, and in today’s dispatch from the front lines we’ll look at Tennessee, where a rightwing conspiracy theory fan and anti-Muslim bigot has just been appointed to the committee that sets standards for the state’s social studies curricula.
Yr Wonkette already introduced you last year to Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the nutball Tennessee bigot lady, when she was a member of the state textbook commission that was tasked with making sure only “age appropriate” materials were in them. You may recall that Tennessee was considering a measure that would have required state approval of every last item in the collections of school libraries; the bill’s sponsor charmingly said that any materials not approved by the commission should be burned. Ultimately, the Lege settled for a different plan that gave the textbook commission the power to hear appeals of book challenges brought by parents, so the state could ban library books even after a local school board had gone through a challenge process and approved them. Hooray for compromise.
We guess that Ms. Cardoza-Moore must have either done a bang-up job on that commission, or at the very least that she has powerful friends in Tennessee, because clearly it’s the latter thing. She was chosen for the Tennessee Standards Recommendation Committee by Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R), the slimebooger we came to know and loathe during the kangaroo court proceedings that expelled Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson in April. Sexton also appointed her to the textbook commission in 2021, which is quite the coincidence.
In her new job, Cardoza-Moore will have a say in setting state standards for social studies classes, although we suspect she’ll just photocopy the course offerings at Hillsdale College and say “Done!” As Judd Legum points out in his Popular Information newsletter, Cardoza-Moore doesn’t actually believe in public schools; she’s homeschooled her own five kids, and she’s simply horrified that US history texts teach historical facts that make America look bad, such as the fact that the Constitution provided a framework for oppression of African Americans. In a 2020 Fox News interview, she blamed Common Core, because why not? She claimed, falsely, that schools no longer teach about the founding of the US, but instead skip ahead to the Civil War and Reconstruction so they can harp on all the slavery, those monsters.
“This is an outrage,” Cardoza-Moore exclaimed. “It poses the greatest national security threat to our constitutional republic.”
So yeah, she’s a real peach. She somehow also took issue with a textbook’s factual statement that the Republican Party was originally founded to fight the spread of slavery beyond the states where it was already allowed, complaining that it was “disinformation” because Lincoln was anti-slavery, which, yeah, that’s what the book said. She was mostly upset the book didn’t say that Democrats were pro-slavery and KKK, and also what about that Klansman Robert Byrd, huh?
Cardoza-Moore initially made her name in Tennessee politics by fearmongering about Islam, back when that was the thing the Right was certain would destroy America, because Barack Obama was president. She led some of the most paranoid opposition to a mosque being built in Murfreesboro, claiming that fully 30 percent of Muslims are terrorists and that the mosque would be a base for “radical Islamic extremists” bent on destroying Nashville’s Christian music industry.
During her 2021 confirmation hearing for her seat on the textbook commission, she explained that bad school textbooks are directly responsible for wrecking America and of course the riots that burned all cities in America to the ground in 2020, several of them more than once.
While America slept, the hearts, minds and souls of our students were being influenced by disinformation. Tragically we have seen the result over the past few months; our streets have been filled with rioting destructive American young people who have not been taught the values entrusted to us by our nation’s founders … nor have they been taught our nation’s history — history which many seem intent to destroy
See, if only kids been made to memorize more facts about how George Washington was a Christian and God wrote the Constitution, there might be a few more cities still standing in our great land.
As Legum details, Cardoza-Moore doesn’t seem to have met a conspiracy theory she didn’t glom on to. She’s said that 9/11 was an “inside job,” that Donald Trump was the true winner of the 2020 election, and that January 6 was a false flag attack by “Antifa.” I’m just disappointed that she doesn’t appear to have said anything about chemtrails. But she came kind of close in 2011, as Legum explains, when she
claimed that former President Barack Obama was causing “horrific tornadoes” because he made a speech that discussed the plight of Palestinians. Asked if she still held these views, Cardoza-Moore did not respond.
She also runs her very own “Christian Zionist” nonprofit called “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations,” which recently ran a press release on her appointment to the social studies standards job. In it, we learn that she has previously helped the Florida Department of Education screen textbooks, “a successful review effort that ‘caught and corrected dozens of books to prevent political indoctrination of Florida’s children,’ a spokesperson for Governor Ron DeSantis noted.”
In the press release, Cardoza-Moore reflected on the important task ahead of her, because
“The materials we will be reviewing can only accomplish the mission of educating good American citizens if our Tennessee textbooks are devoid of left-aligned historic revisionism and the toxic material found in the antisemitic Critical Race Theory; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Social-Emotional Learning and Ethnic Studies.”
Impressive how she got all the rightwing shibboleths in there!
The statement also emphasized that Muslim groups opposed her appointment to the textbook commission, presumably because if she has the right enemies, that just shows what a great job she’ll do for Tennessee students.
We can hardly wait to see what happens to Tennessee social studies standards. Haha, we kid, of course, because we read the history standards that Donald Trump’s “1776 Commission” came up with, so we have a pretty good idea. Good luck, kids!
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