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The Texas Textbook Massacre

Okay, I think now is a good time to finally write more about this. =P

Basically, as I posted a few days ago, the State Board of Education in Texas is planning to start a massive textbook overhaul, but unfortunately not for the better, but for the much, MUCH worse. Their attempt to re-write history with a Conservative bias is straight out of George Orwell's 1984 (if you haven't read the book, the main character's job is to re-write history in a way that is slanted in favor of Big Brother, a fascist dictator). Not only is there a disregard for facts, but on top of omitting facts, they're also making up their own, which is absolutely unacceptable.

Also worth mentioning, the only credentials the people on the State Board of Education have are the fact that they were elected to this board. To give you an idea of exactly how unqualified these people are, here are a few quotes from one of the board members, Don McLeroy:
-"Instead of the American way they want multiculturalism." (Because of course the "American Way" is ALL about being bigoted and narrow-minded. Not.)
-"I don't care what the educational political lobby and their allies on the left say," he declared at one point. "Evolution is hooey."
-"The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation," McLeroy said, jabbing his finger in the air for emphasis. "But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles."
-"Our science standards are light years ahead of any other state when it comes to challenging evolution!" (1)

And now for a few examples of some of the "revisions" they plan to make.

-They are planning to put less emphasis on the Constitution's statement of the importance of separation of church and state. Because of course they can't teach kids about separation of church and state when they're blatantly violating that.

-While they aren't cutting Thomas Jefferson out of textbooks completely as some have feared, they are going to omit him when discussing important thinkers in the Enlightenment. Even though he was, you know, one of the most significant thinkers of that movement. Instead, they want more focus on religious figures such as John Calvin. Know that guy Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church? He's a Calvinist.

-They want to change certain terms to cast America in a more positive light because of the ridiculous notion of nationalism: Terms that the board’s conservative majority felt were ideologically loaded are being retired. Hence, “imperialism” as a characterization of America’s modern rise to world power is giving way to “expansionism,” and “capitalism” is being dropped in economic material, in favor of the more positive expression “free market.” (The new recommendations stress the need for favorable depictions of America’s economic superiority across the board.) (2) Also, "Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic"". (4)

-"Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christian beliefs." (2) Which of course is bull. The founding fathers were mainly Deists, and some were even rather secular. (3) America was founded on freedom of religion and was also meant to be an escape from the Christians' religious persecution in England.

-"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." For the millionth time, these idiots need to READ THE WHOLE SENTENCE. The Second Amendment in it's entirety says "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". Which means guns were only intended to be used by the military and only for defense purposes.

-"the Texas board's review panel doubts that such "minority figures" as Cesar Chavez, Justice Thurgood Marshall and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. need to be included.". (1) Yes, that's right. They want to write MARTIN LUTHER FREAKING KING out of history.

-They have also mentioned having less of a focus on minorities in general, including major omissions of Hispanic history (which even upset one of the board members enough that she stormed out of the meeting): A reduced scope for Latino history and culture. A proposal to expand such material in recognition of Texas’ rapidly growing Hispanic population was defeated in last week’s meetings—provoking one board member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out in protest. "They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist," she said of her conservative colleagues on the board. "They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world." (2)

-While we're on the subject of minorities, "Another proposed change removes any reference to race, sex or religion in talking about how different groups have contributed to the national identity". (5) Uuuuh, good luck figuring out how to do THAT one. *rolleyes*

All of this would be bad enough if it were only affecting Texas, but the changes set to possibly take effect will affect the entire nation. On top of that, they will be upheld for ten years if they are passed. Ten years is enough to make up the majority of a child's education, and if these impressionable minds are indoctrinated with this BS for that long, they will most likely grow up believing it to be fact. Which is a very, VERY scary thought.

(1) http://community.livejournal.com/ontd_political/5812509.html
(2) http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20100315/ts_ynews/ynews_ts1253
(3) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/17/AR2010031700560.html
(4) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35839979/
(5) http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/03/11/just-how-ridiculous-are-texas-textbook-standards/

Further reading if you're interested:


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
oh my god.

What the fuck is this shit.
Apr. 7th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
Apr. 8th, 2010 06:15 am (UTC)
You here? I just woke up from a nap and saw your IMs
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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