When the Washington Postasked several historians to examine a textbook widely used in Virginia public schools, including Fairfax and Loudoun counties, they found it contained dozens of historical errors, including the wrong date for when the United States entered World War I. Other texts got Mount Vernon and Monticello mixed up and stated that the colonists were the ones wearing the red coats during the Revolutionary War. In response, the Virginia Department of Education announced a "new" textbook review process that will require publishers to certify that their instructional material has been vetted by "competent authorities who vouch for their accuracy."

Apparently the old textbook review process did not include competent authorities who could vouch for the accuracy of the historical information taught to Virginia youngsters. This is noteworthy because the state's textbook review committees are made up of classroom teachers and curriculum specialists who are nominated by their local school districts precisely because they are considered experts in the subject matter under review. Yet the review committee that recommended "Our Virginia: Past and Present," published by Connecticut-based Five Ponds Press, to local school districts failed to catch dozens of factual errors and apparently never questioned the competency of author Joy Masoff, whose past titles include such academic classics as "Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty."

However, the scandal highlights a much bigger problem than incompetent book reviewers and lousy textbooks. History has long been the target of multiculturalists who would like nothing better than to erase the record of our nation's exceptional past and replace it with race-, class- and gender-based propaganda. The fact that even the top educators in historically rich Virginia are ignorant of basic historical facts proves that the multiculturalists have largely succeeded in scrubbing the history curriculum clean of content. Nobody should be surprised, therefore, that even in the home of presidents, where the Standards of Learning force reluctant public educators to teach basic American history, history textbooks have been dumbed down to the point where they are worse than useless.

This embarrassing state of affairs is being used by statists, educrats, and the editorial page of the Washington Post

to push for "national standards" that are even more dumbed down than Virginia's. But the real lesson here is that despite the billions of tax dollars spent on it annually, public education has become a bastion of mediocrity from top to bottom.