Community members were furious when the Pennridge school board decided on Wednesday to hire a consultant with ties to conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan to review the district’s curriculum. They said that the board was trying to force its political views on students.
A 5-4 vote was needed to approve the contract with Vermilion Education, which also received criticism from teachers. The Christian college described Hillsdale’s 1776 Curriculum as demonstrating how America’s founding principles make it “an exceptionally good country,” and the district has been considering it.
Moves of Pennridge School
In support of the contract, board members claimed that they were working to improve the district’s curriculum, which some claimed did not meet their goals.
Ricki Chaikin, a board member, stated, “Our end goal is that every single kid who leaves Pennridge loves this country and understands our constitution.” That is not happening right now.
However, critics questioned the necessity of bringing in Vermilion, a company founded in December by a former Hillsdale employee. Republicans like former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have embraced the college, which has pledged to combat “leftist academics.”
Jordan Adams, the employee who started Vermilion, graduated from Hillsdale in 2013 and has taught at a “classical Catholic school” and a charter school affiliated with Hillsdale. He then, at that point, got back to Hillsdale to work for its drive attempting to grow an organization of contract schools utilizing the school’s educational plan.
Adams praised Hillsdale professor Wilfred McClay and his book Land of Hope at a panel discussion in 2020 at the National Archives. Adams was referring to Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States, and the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which focused on slavery in America’s origin story, when he said that McClay “doesn’t grab attention solely with scandal and outrage, as Zinn or 1619 might do.”