Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lone Star Loonies

The pinhead state board of education down in Texas is one again covering itself with glory. They've decided to rewrite history so it's more appealing to them. It's been all over the media lately. Guess who's responsible for this? Correcto! The lunatic right wing which lets nothing that might be construed as accurate get in the way of its seriously flawed ideology. Pardon me, but isn't this the way all totalitarian regimes handle history? Isn't this what Big Brother did in 1984?

So what millions, literally, of schoolchildren are going to get in Texas is the yahoo spin on everything. For example:

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. 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 . . . [also included] is heralding "American exceptionalism" and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention. . . . Board members argued about the classification of historic periods (still B.C. and A.D., rather than B.C.E. and C.E.); whether students should be required to explain the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on global politics (they will); and whether former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir should be required learning (she will). In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class. Conservatives beat back multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement. Numerous attempts to add the names or references to important Hispanics throughout history also were denied, inducing one amendment that would specify that Tejanos died at the Alamo alongside Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Another amendment deleted a requirement that sociology students "explain how institutional racism is evident in American society."
And let's not forget that they will also have to study Jefferson Davis's inaugural address right alongside Lincoln's, as if they were of equal weight. No more "capitalism" either: it's the "free enterprise system" now. Thomas Jefferson is gone now, too, from a list of people who inspired revolutions in the 18th century. He got blackballed because he originated the phrase "separation of church and state." Further changes are detailed in the article here.


Such changes are going to apply to all social studies--history, government, sociology, and economics--elementary through high school; and worse, since the Texas schoolbook market is so huge, it will have a huge influence on the entire country's textbooks. Lovely, eh?
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