Tuesday, March 16, 2010

T.I.B.S. Texas Textbook Edition

I have a weird sort of affection for Texas, since I grew up there. But this is bullshit.

On Friday, Texas's board of education approved a social studies curriculum designed to put a more conservative spin on history. If you read through the article, you'll find a few disturbing trends.

First, there's the belief in Texas that history texts are too liberal. I find this frightening because across the country, history texts are overwhelmingly conservative. They cast American history in a light of marching progress, completely glossing over or ignoring the darker bits (not the least of which is our genocide of the natives, which dominated American politics for the first 100 years of her existence).

Second, there's the belief that America was founded on Christian principles, which is demonstrably untrue--laughably false, given that many of the founding fathers were openly deist. America was founded on, if anything, French philosophy.

Third, there's the belief that the skewing of history should be remedied by skewing it the other way. You don't fix a broken leg by breaking it in the opposite direction.

Fourth, there's the surprising lack of internal logic. One of the changes being proposed is to highlight that German and Italian Americans were interned during World War II along with Japanese Americans--to undermine the notion that Japanese internment was motivated by racism. But it doesn't. It just points out that racism was extended to Germans and Italians as well as the Japanese.

Lastly, I'm disturbed by what's overwhelmingly lacking: the opinion of anyone who is a historian (the changes are being championed by Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist), and the pursuit of truth. Balance should not be an issue in history--there is one set of facts. Often those facts are subject to some interpretation, but that interpretation should be the activity of the students, not the history textbook.

This is bullshit.

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1 comment:

Amy said...

I could say a few things about "education" in Texas, starting with that blasted NCLB program. It has really gone downhill, even since we were in school.