Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Don't Mess With Texas

It's already a mess, and getting messier.  And I apologise for the politics, but this is important.

If you haven't been following, Texas is rewriting their history curriculum, and rewriting history at the same time.

They're removed references to Thomas Jefferson (that deist!), and separation of church and state, and even the fact that Hispanics died defending the Alamo.  They added sections on the "conservative resurgence" of the 80s and 90s, but no reference to liberal ideas.  They raise Reagan to superhero.  They teach McCarthy was a good guy, just terribly misunderstood.

Why should non-Texans care?  Because Texas buys a lot of textbooks, so the publishers are likely to try to sell them to other school boards.  These are the children who will be running the country some day.  I'd rather they didn't use their false view of history to run the country into the ground. I'm an unabashed liberal (I've been bashed, but not abashed) and if they tried to publish books that gave a false lefty view, I'd be against that too.  The key word is false.  If they wrote that the Kennedys saved America and slavery existed up to the civil rights movement of the 60s, and conservatives were a failed genetic experiments, I'd object.  We can't compete in the world if our children are taught rubbish.  The publishers assure us "it's so easy to print different books that this will be the Texas edition and it won't affect the thinking parts of the country."  I paraphrase.  After Citizens United, we were assured that that ruling would only have a minor effect on elections.  That lie will be in the next Texas history book, I guess.

Why should you and I care?  Here's what one of the perpetrators of this crime said:

Board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, objected to a standard for a high school sociology course that addressed the difference between sex and gender. It was eliminated in a 9-to-6 vote.

She worried that a discussion of that issue would lead students into the world of “transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else.”

As a who-knows-what-else, I'm concerned.  A discussion of differences among people!  Heaven forbid!

Long live the master race.

If you think I'm exaggerating,  read this article in the Statesman.  There are lots of other stories from major publications as well.


  1. I'm getting nervous, and I don't even have children myself!

  2. The proceedings in Texas regarding school books has been brewing for the past few years. It may be one of the few places where active discussion, evaluation, public input and a lively give and take of opinions and positions has started to take place.

    My children are now done with their education but some of the things that they were taught, or more importantly were not taught, gave me major cause for concern.

    Living in a liberal area of a very liberal state the political left side indoctrination that my kids were exposed to from first grade through college was overwhelming. The educational philosophy of their elementary school was based on the mis-guided, left leaning 'whole language' approach to teaching. There was little structure and a focus of feelings and doing what one wanted to do. As a result basic English, Math and History assumed secondary priority. The parents in my district were uniformly disturbed that our children were not being taught anything, they all got the same good marks and the official word was that they should first learn to feel good about themselves. By the time we realized what was going on the new-age principal had created a fiefdom of like minded indoctrinators. Any teacher who even tried to teach basics was fired. Our district lost good teachers. It took us almost 10 years to get rid of the principal. It was a nightmare trying to get our children to learn educational basics rather than liberal ideology.

    In middle and high school the revision of history was appalling. They were taught the beauty and benefits of the socialist state and the evil motivations of greed fueled business. They seemed to be learning more about Lenin, Mao, Castro and Che than about the founders of our nation. The anti-Columbus spin that they were fed was over the line.

    I am concerned, if information ends up in the text books that will be purchased by us to teach our children, that information should be vetted and correct and free of political slant, in either direction. Editorial control of the curriculum should also be free of political pressure, one way or the other, regarding what is included in the teaching and, as importantly, what is excluded.

    It is critical that parents pay attention to what goes on in the schools. It takes time and commitment and, on occasion, the willingness to take the education of your children into your own hands.

    It is important to read original documents and not just accept what is fed to us in the media and by our politicians. I cringe when our President mis-quotes the Declaration of Independence and omits the words "by their Creator" when he talks about our self evident inalienable rights. The NY Times did the same thing in a recent editorial when they wrote, "...all men are created equal, that they are endowed...with certain unalienable Rights". Adding the three words "by their Creator" rather that the three dots would not have blown their ink budget.

    Sorry for the rant but the re-writing of history for progressive political purposes really hits a raw nerve with me. Let me know if you are ready for my take on the freedom restricting impact of McCain-Feingold or the politics behind Citizens United.


  3. I think it's wrong, too. But, you shouldn't get the idea that the US is the only place amongst developed nations that this occurs.

    Most Americans would not even recognize the version of WWII in the Pacific that is taught to Japanese schoolchildren.

    Chinese children are certainly not educated with the same history lessons that are learned in the free West.

    It doesn't hurt their competitiveness one bit. If anything, it removes a lot of national guilt, making it easier for them to feel patriotic.

    To be honest, I have trouble myself feeling patriotic, these days. Sometimes I wish I could learn an alternative version of the history of the last decade.

    There's a lot of truth in the old adage, "Ignorance is bliss."

  4. Good point Jamie, about what is taught in other countries. There is danger when the politicians control the message.

    Last week there was an article in the NY Daily News about Tylibah Washington, goddaughter of City Councilman Charles Barron. Ms Washington was paid $38K for a series of talks to 5th graders (10 year old kids). Additionally, NYC distributed over 5000 copies of her booklet "Streets in Poem". It was supposed to be 'relevant' since she wrote in street language. Here the government used tax dollars to provide school children with poems about crackheads performing oral sex, etc. There was one poem titled "Who is the Axis of Evil" which teaches that "George W. Bush loves war so much he gets an erection".

    Councilman Barron in promoting the work by his goddaughter claims that Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" should be banned because of the use of the "N-word". I remember that in grade school we were allowed to read "Tom Sawyer" but we could not read "Huck Finn" until HS.

    I worry aboout what is being taught in government controlled schools. I realize that I suffer from comparing my own broad based liberal education to the limited and lazy education that was provided to my children. You have a point when you note that there is something to be said about 'ignorance being blissful' but we need to have a renewable resource of curious free thinkers. Old cranks like us are not going to be around forever.



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