The Politics of Education

AUSTIN, Texas – A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded  in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.

For those of you who don’t know Texas has the largest number of school age children in the nation and most school book publishers are in the state. So, when Texas wants changes, these essentially become the curriculum for the entire nation no matter how wacky or bizarre it may be. Elected officials on the school board “vote” for changes and adopt standards.

I find the entire concept of “voting” for changes in American History to be an absurd notion in itself.  History is history, it either happened or it didn’t. We don’t get to change it just because we don’t like it, or personally agree or disagree with it. It is what it is. Beside what do a bunch of elected school board officials know about American History anyway? Aren’t these people the product of these same school systems?

We were always taught that history was written by the winners. I wasn’t aware we had another revolution. Even that doesn’t change the facts because it still happened whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.  Beside during the last election these “Conservative, Republican Fundamentalists” lost by a landslide. So now we are letting these wing nuts re-write American History to suit their personal bias and alternate realities?

I have an idea, why don’t we make history really, really interesting and re-write the text books to say that the United States was founded by a group of extraterrestrials from the planet Zorkon. The came to earth and mated with our women and created a super race that we know as Americans. Hey, If your going to rewrite history, why not at least make it really absurd. That way we can all get a good laugh.

Seriously, this is one of the greatest crimes attempted to be perpetrated on American Society in recent times. This is nothing more than a throw back to the Nazi Propaganda Ministers and their revisionist views of history.

If this nonsense is allowed to stand we will do nothing more than create an entire generation of anti-intellectual UN-informed idiots with no accurate understanding of the complex processes that shaped and continue to shape this great diverse nation.

Per,  Below are some of the most egregious proposed changes the  “Elected” school board is trying to ram through.

  • The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum’s world history standards on Enlightenment thinking, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”
  • “Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state.” “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”
  • Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a “constitutional republic,” rather than “democratic,” and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.
  • Conservatives beat back multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement.
  • The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”
  • “Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include ‘how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.’ The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.”
  • “They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about ‘the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.'” The Dallas Morning News noted that “high school students will learn about leading conservative groups from the 1980s and 1990s – but not about liberal or minority rights groups.”
  • “Board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, objected to a standard for a high school sociology course that addressed the difference between sex and gender. It was eliminated in a 9-to-6 vote. She worried that a discussion of that issue would lead students into the world of ‘transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else.'”
  • “Members voted to polish up references to the American ‘free enterprise’ economic system and removed most mentions of ‘capitalism,’ a word that board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said has a negative connotation.”
  • “Board members also rejected requiring history teachers and textbooks to provide coverage on the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, while the late President Ronald Reagan was elevated to more prominent coverage.”
  • With all five minority members dissenting, the conservative-dominated panel voted 10-5 to endorse the proposed standards after rejecting an effort to specifically mention that Tejanos were among the fallen heroes of the Alamo. “I am very distressed,” said Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, who sponsored the unsuccessful amendment. “Until we are ready to tell the truth about history, we don’t have a good history or social studies textbook.”
Here’s a novel idea, instead of elected individuals determining what school children are taught and obviously injecting their own personal belief systems and alternate realities into the mix, why don’t we have experts do it. Yikes! what a crazy thought that is. But seriously..

Wouldn’t it make more sense to create a national student curriculum advisory  board composed of  this countries greatest experts in the field, e.g.- Top university scholars and other nationally recognized experts to create a curriculum for students based on the facts instead of personal, political or religious bias? Wow! what a concept it just might be crazy enough to pull off.

The politics of education, you gotta love it.

What do you think?

As always,

I am…

Tom Dye, The Safety Guy

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