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Let’s Hope What’s Taught In Texas, Stays In Texas

March 15, 2010

Let What’s Taught in Texas, Stay In Texas

There’s a fight of academic and political proportions boiling over in Texas.  What has been described as a far-right, ultraconservative faction of the Texas State Board of Education triumphed last week in pushing their own conservative ideals into history, economics, and social studies lessons which will be taught to millions of students for at least the next ten years.

Ultraconservatives used their majority voting block to make changes to hundreds of academic subjects, introducing and rejecting amendments on everything from the civil rights movement to global politics; the board has given initial approval to the new requirements with a vote down party lines; Repubicans for the changes- Democtrats against.

Republicans say the changes highlight “American exceptionalism”.  Fellow board members who oppose the changes walked out of a meeting late last week, accusing the Republicans of ‘white-washing’ history and academic standards.

What changes are being made, and are they really that serious?

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.

Thomas Jefferson would be removed entirely and replaced with religious right icon John Calvin.  Yeah I’ve never heard of him either.
In more recent history, conservatives refused and voted down multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement.

In Texas, where half of the four million students are Hispanic, references to the cultural contributions of Latinos would be trimmed from the curriculum.  Efforts to include references or names of notable Hispanics throughout history were also denied, inducing one amendment that would specify that Tejanos died at the Alamo alongside Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie.

Social justice advocates will just love this one; an amendment with specifically deleted a requirement that sociology students “explain how institutional racism is evident in American society.”

Democrats have had at least one victory.  Removing a section to an amendment by Republican Don McLeroy which suggested the civil rights movement has only led to “unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes.”

They’ve cut ourt non-Christian founders, beefed up the right to bear arms, removed reference to brown and black people- let’s see, what’s left?

Oh yeah.  Currently the curriculum urges students to learn about and examine how traditional roles of women and men have changed since the 1950s.  The seven stubborn and irrational conversatives said the text would promote sexualism and sex change operations.    A finger to the LGBT community, while also screwing over the women’s lib movement- no pun intended.

What’s happening in Texas right now is timely.  President Obama is moving to take on the standards of US public education as a whole, including curriculum.

Surely conservatives will insist Obama is just working to push his socialist agenda, but lets face it, there have to been even standards across the country, to make sure all students are getting a quality education.  I have to believe that includes the accuracy of the information being taught.

The battle over public education curriculum in Texas is far from over.  Until common sense rules the fight, let’s hope that what is taught in Texas, stays in Texas.

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