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Rick Santorum Flunks Basic History Again, This Time About Public Education

It's difficult to recall a presidential candidate who had such a poor grasp of the basic facts of history than Rick Santorum. He's mangled the Crusades. Less than two weeks ago, he botched the French Revolution. And Saturday, he revealed an

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It's difficult to recall a presidential candidate who had such a poor grasp of the basic facts of history than Rick Santorum. He's mangled the Crusades. Less than two weeks ago, he botched the French Revolution. And Saturday, he revealed an astonishing ignorance of U.S. history as well with his remarks on public education.

At one appearance here, he said the idea of schools run by the federal government or by state governments was “anachronistic.” Mr. Santorum did not say public schools were a bad idea, and he said that there was a role for government help in education.

[...]

“Yes the government can help,” Mr. Santorum added. “But the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home-school or have the little neighborhood school, and into these big factories, so we built equal factories called public schools."

That's absolutely false.

The idea that the government should be running schools goes back to the Founders and Thomas Jefferson, who originally promoted public education in his home state of Virginia.

To secure the broadest level of popular education Jefferson prepared his "Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge" as part of the revision of Virginia's laws. As chair of the committee, Jefferson proposed a three level system in 1779, (never adopted): three years of primary education for all girls and boys; advanced studies for a select number of boys; a state scholarship to the College of William and Mary for one boy from each district every two years.

Jefferson, who so strongly believed that government-run public education was absolutely necessary for a healthy democracy, also proposed it at the federal level in his 1806 State of the Union address.

Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper to add to the constitutional enumeration of Federal powers.

Santorum is clearly and deliberately distorting the facts of history to comport with his right-wing ideology. There's something creepily fascist about his revisionism.

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