Sunday, May 23, 2010

Texas Puts American History Back Into School

The Texas State Board of education overhauled its existing social studies and history curriculum [Friday] by a majority vote, much to the chagrin of educators and political activists across the country.

-- From "In Texas, social studies textbooks get a conservative make-over" By Brad Knickerbocker, Staff writer, Christian Science Monitor 5/22/10

In a move that has potential national impact, the Texas State Board of Education has approved controversial changes to social studies textbooks – pushing high school teaching in a more conservative direction.

The Dallas Morning news reports that the curriculum standards adopted Friday by a 9-5 vote along party lines on the elected board have “a definite political and philosophical bent in many areas.”

Students would learn about the “unintended consequences” of Title IX, affirmative action, and the Great Society, and would study such conservative icons as Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation, and the Moral Majority.

There’s also more emphasis on religion’s role in US history. This was evident in the opening prayer at Friday’s meeting in Austin by education board member Cynthia Dunbar made "in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … [on behalf of] “a Christian land governed by Christian principles.”

Supporters of the changes see them as correcting liberal views imposed when Democrats controlled the state education board.

But as the Monitor’s Amanda Paulson reported this week, critics are dismayed at what they see as an attempt to push conservative ideology – even if it flies in the face of scholarship – into textbooks.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Texas textbook controversy: outdated or back on track from politically correct derailment?" by Melissa Thayer, Independent Examiner 5/22/10

One of the changes that has caused a stir is that during a high school government class the students were asked to compare and contrast the judicial language of the separation of church and state with the wording in the First Amendment. An Associated Press writer chose to use the wording "watered down the rationale".

The board also rejected the use of the secular terms B.C.E. and C.E. for distinguishing historical periods and will use the normal terms B.C. and A.D. in the textbooks. The people who claim that those terms are "religious" should consider the case of the Byron Union School District in California who incorporate fasting and other religious practices into their World History and Cultures studies on Muslim culture. Parents who were upset that their children were adopting a Muslim name, fasting and being required to learn Muslim prayers sued the school district and after a long process, finally the Supreme Court rejected the appeal in 2006. The instructional material is still available for the classes.

The amendments to the curriculum include referring to the United States of America's government as a "constitutional republic" instead of a "democracy". In [Arne] Duncan's concern that children will be "shielded from the truth", one wonders if the Secretary of Education [Duncan] has read the wording of the foundational documents of America where the word "democracy" is, in truth, absent.

Author and scholar Diane Ravitch has already said that textbook and test publishers have been censoring the content of educational materials to screen out topics and ideas that might be considered traditional or controversial or offensive. Children have been being taught a filtered form of history instead of the truth.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.