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Dr. Larry Arnn’s opening remarks at Common Core hearing in Lansing, MI.
Dr. Larry Arnn’s comments in Lansing at a hearing on Common Core. A link to his opening remarks can be found here, and I have it embedded as well as a transcription below.
“Next up, we have Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College, welcome Dr. Arnn.”
“Thank you, very much. I have with me Professor Terrence Moore of our History department, who is a former Marine Lieutenant, he is a graduate of the University of Chicago in History, he founded and ran for twelve years Ridgeview, a classical academy which was ranked nationally as one of the best, several times, and he helps run our Charter School project at Hillsdale College, and he is going to help me give this testimony because there’s all kinds of things about Michigan education public policy that I have the honor not to know.
This is my second visit, Mr. Chairman, to Lansing to deal with the Government of Michigan, and the first one, I’ll tell you about it because it makes me skeptical about the State standards and about increasing control from the Federal and the State governments in the details of education.
When I came to the College in the year 2000, I had a 35-page letter on my desk from the Michigan Department of Education, and it was full of picayune details that nearly nobody should take the time to read, but it contained two things that were of interest, and that was they said that we violated the standard for global and multicultural curricula because we teach Western Civilization. And they said that we violated the standards for diversity because we didn’t have enough dark ones, I guess is what they meant. And I came up here to explain to them that the West begins with the confluence of Jerusalem and Athens, the city in which the idea of a universal philosophy for every human being was born, Athens. And the idea of one God for every man was born in Jerusalem. So, we didn’t think of that as a parochial thing to study, and about that race matter that they brought up, I pointed out to them that we are probably the first College in human history, certainly one of them, founded with a charter that says, we will take black and white and man and woman, all alike without discrimination. I brought a picture that was taken, one of the most famous photographs taken of Frederick Douglass on our campus in 1863, and wondered if someone from that department had told us to invite him, and they said well, we really didn’t exist back then, and I said, “Well then maybe we just did that on our own.”
So I worry about things like that, and since those days, we have given up our accreditation to certify teachers to teach in public schools although we are one of the oldest and one of the most distinguished Colleges in Michigan and indeed, in the country, and we do not take any money directly or indirectly from the State of Michigan as we used to do. And I don’t mean to complain about any authorities in the State of Michigan who are serving now, and I will tell you that our dealings back in the days when we did receive the state aid that went to liberal arts colleges with the state government were always very friendly and cordial and I’m grateful for that.
But Professor Moore and I have a few criticisms to make of this core. To begin with, I’m going to summarize and state what a core should actually do in our opinion, and then Professor Moore is going to talk and I’m going to close by saying, and Professor Moore will second it, that we should think of a new way, because there is actually an old way, of government accountability that might do better than this complex way which we are to go.”
Arnn goes on to refer to Professor Smit, who had testified before him, but this is the bulk of what the good Dr. said, in the clip offered by Talking Points Memo.
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