Thursday, October 1, 2020

Texas Ed Board Rewrites History

Claiming that they are responding to years of historical skewing by the left, the Texas State Board of Education approved new guidelines last Friday for social studies and high school text books that contain a decidedly conservative bend.

The process to approve the new text books is required every ten years by state law.  However, this year, the board, which is populated by a majority of Republicans and includes a very conservative bloc, has exercised direct control over the minute details of what and who is to be covered in the public school curriculum.

Included in the new focus are guidelines that require “teaching the Judeo-Christian influences of America’s founders” and looks to water down any rationale for the separation of church and state.

By a final vote of 9-5, no longer is the US government a democracy.  Rather, it will now be called a “constitutional republic”.

Students will study the decline of the US dollar, and the abandonment of the gold standard.  (A return to the gold standard was part of the platform of Rep. Rob Paul’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2008 and has been embraced by many in the Tea Party movement.)

Thomas Jefferson, as an example of an influential political philosopher, is gone, but added is a discussion of efforts “by global organizations such as the United Nations to undermine U.S. sovereignty.”

The board’s actions have raised ire and outcry across the state.  Only after strong organized protests did the board members back down on an effort to strip civil rights figures Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall from the texts.

However, in an effort to “balance” the study of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a piece on the Black Panthers organization will be included.

Don McLeroy, an outspoken member of the board, argues that King is given too much credit for advancing the rights of African-Americans, because, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.”

McLeroy, who has been at the center of the board’s efforts, was quoted in an interview as saying, “The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”

The controversy cost McLeroy his re-election bid for the education board earlier this spring when he lost to a moderate Republican.

Educators have blasted these actions as being overtly political and not based in academics, and at least one state lawmaker vows to “rein in” the board.

“They have ignored historians and teachers, allowing ideological activists to push the culture war further into our classrooms,” said Rep. Mike Villareal, a San Antonio Democrat. “They fail to understand that we don’t want liberal textbooks or conservative textbooks. We want excellent textbooks, written by historians instead of activists.”

LA Times

Associated Press

Pitt News

Washington Monthly