Monday, March 15, 2010

The Texas Two-Step

Most of you have probably read what’s been happening with the Texas State Board of Education.  In an attempt to present a more conservative retelling of history, the 15 member board voted for some major changes in their textbooks.  The problem is, their textbooks are the textbooks of other states, too.  Because Texas is one of the major purchasers of textbooks in the United States, its board of Education has a major in what students in other parts of the country learn, too.

Luisita Lopez Torregrosa summarizes the changes in a piece for Politics Daily.
In a matter of days last week in Austin, the majority of the 15-member board, insisting they were only trying to offset liberal bias in textbooks, questioned Darwin's theory of evolution and the constitutional principle of separation of church and state; debated hip-hop and genocide in Darfur; deleted Albert Einstein and Thomas Alva Edison from textbooks; emphasized Christian teachings and fundamentalist values; adopted conservative articles of faith like American exceptionalism; promoted right-wing leaders and organizations like Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association; and refused to give adequate attention to Hispanic and African American contributions to U.S. and Texas history.
Jeff Schneider of the Huffington Post cites at least three significant changes that we’ll see in some history or social studies texts:

1. A questioning of whether the founding fathers sought a separation of Church and State in the US Constitution.

2. The teaching of sexual identity, eating disorders, and rape as a result "choice".

3. The rejuvenation of McCarthyism.  Said one board member, "Read the latest on McCarthy -- He was basically vindicated."

4. The emphasis of how Conservatives were responsible for Civil Rights legislation.

These are just four changes.  It boggles the mind that we are now praising McCarthy, questioning whether the separation of church and state is an American value, and rewriting the history of Civil Rights.

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