The Education Department this summer destroyed more than 300,000 copies of a booklet designed for parents to help their children learn history after the office of Vice President Dick Cheney's wife complained that it mentioned the National Standards for History, which she has long opposed.
In June, during a routine update, the Education Department began distributing a new edition of a 10-year-old how-to guide called "Helping Your Child Learn History." Aimed at parents of children from preschool through fifth grade, the 73-page booklet presented an assortment of advice, including taking children to museums and visiting historical sites.
The booklet included several brief references to the National Standards for History, which were developed at UCLA in the mid-1990s with federal support. Created by scholars and educators to help school officials design better history courses, they are voluntary benchmarks, not mandatory requirements.
At the time, Lynne Cheney, the wife of now-Vice President Cheney, led a vociferous campaign complaining that the standards were not positive enough about America's achievements and paid too little attention to figures such as Gen. Robert E. Lee, Paul Revere and Thomas Edison.
Retired UCLA professor Gary Nash, co-chairman of the effort to develop the National Standards for History, said he found the decision to destroy the booklets after Cheney's office complained "extremely troubling."
"That's a pretty god-awful example of spending the taxpayers' money and also a pretty god-awful example of interference — intellectual interference," Nash said. "If that's not Big Brother or Big Sister, I don't know what is."
Recently, when the department decided to update "Helping Your Child Learn History," Cheney's office became involved because of her long-standing interest in American history.
Cheney is prominently quoted in the booklet as a "noted author and wife of the vice president." Two books on history that she wrote for children are mentioned in the booklet.
The acknowledgments also credit her office for helping with the guide, which cost $110,360 to print, Aspey said.
"Noted author" and taxpayer-funded self-promoter Lynne Cheney should fund her historical propaganda efforts herself, with the "royalties" of her "books." (The Amazon reader review of her book Sisters at the "royalties" link is especially curious.)