Monday, March 15, 2010

"The Texas Textbook Massacre"

(Cross-posted at Vim and Vinegar) That's how the recent decision to revamp the Texas education standards was described by Kathy Miller, the President of the Texas Freedom Network. Most significant of these changes was the removal of Thomas Jefferson from the world history standards. In addition, a proposal to include discussion on the importance of the concept of Separation of Church and State was rejected.

Other changes include: America's financial system will be herewith described as "free enterprise" because, as Member Terri Leo (R - Spring) writes: "Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation. You know, ‘capitalist pig!’" And while it's not possible to list the most outrageous change, it's hard to have a post on this development without including the following tidbit from this TFN insider summary: "In an absurd attempt to excuse Joseph McCarthy’s outrageous witchhunts in the 1950s, far-right board members succeeded in adding a requirement that students learn about “communist infiltration in U.S. government” during the Cold War. (Board member Don McLeroy has even claimed outright that Joseph McCarthy has been “vindicated,” a contention not supported by mainstream scholarship.)"

These changes to the Texas curriculum will affect textbooks across the country, as Texas is (one of, if not) the largest buyers of textbooks in the nation. These changes, and the ones that I haven't commented will bear tremendously on the quality of education in our country. Further, by substituting Jefferson for Aquinas and John Calvin, Texas has given a larger foothold for Christian educational encroachment into public education - which future generations might not be able to understand, due to the exclusion of a segment considering the importance of separation of Church and State...

There are little, simple things that you can do to show your displeasure. One thing you can do is sign up for Just Educate, a TFN petition (I promise, I don't work for TFN, I just get daily updates from them, and they are an outstanding source for education issues in Texas).

Changes are afoot, and not for the better.

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