1066 and all that


At a time when religious conservatives are pushing for intelligent design to be taught in schools instead of or at least along with evolution, you would think officials in the Kentucky Department of Education would have better sense that to stir up a tempest over changing the way historical dates have been taught for a couple of thousand years.

But they didnt, and only the good sense of a majority of the State Board of Education Tuesday prevented the tempest from reaching hurricane proportions.

In a 600-page guidebook for teachers, the Department of Education called for ending the use of B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini) after historical dates being taught and substitute C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E. (Before Common Era) instead.

It seems the C.E. and B.C.E. designation is being used on national tests like the S.A.T. exam for college entrance.

Most adult Kentuckians, however, were taught that William of Normandy won the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. and the Second Punic War ended with Hannibals defeat by Rome in 202 B.C. And that the designations are a simple way of expressing the date of historical events that happened before and after the end of the ancient world with the birth of Christ.

To its credit, the State Board of Education simply decided that Kentucky students of history be taught both the old and new designations so they will be familiar with them on whatever national tests they may take.

We dont know whether the C.E. and B.C.E. represent another example of extreme political correctness or merely change for changes sake.

We do know that the whole thing is silly, and it is far more important for Kentucky students to understand the historical significance of William of Normandys victory and Hannibals defeat and how they affect the world we now live in no matter what initials come after those important dates in western civilization.

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