I couldn’t NOT write something about this

I’m not sure if any of you have heard about this story, but Texas has taken political bias to a whole new level. Very recently, the Texas Board of Education has decided to revise their historical curriculum and textbooks. Oh…and by ‘revise’ i meant DOCTOR. This story broke about a month and a bit ago, this is one of the earliest articles I could find from the New York Times.

Basically, the Texas Board of Education has a large faction of ultra conservative right wing members, and they believe that the education system has been skewed too far to the left. Thus, they have taken it into their own hands to actually CHANGE the history books to reflect more conservative views. That’s right, you’re reading correctly. Now I’m not living in a cave on mars, I know that the history books are always biased in some way. We will never be able to have a complete and unbiased picture of history, because humans are writing the books, and humans are subject to emotions, points-of-view, biases, etc. But wait until you hear some of the things that they are changing. And remember, these are NOT professional historians changing the curriculum. They are (failed) politicians, a dentist, and lawyers, among others.

One of the bigger changes is most american history concerning hispanic people has been removed, and even prompted a democrat representative on the board to storm out of the meeting. The board also wants to add a larger focus on the violence carried out by The Black Panthers in addition to the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr.

Economics will now have a larger focus on capitalism, though they noted that they don’t like the word ‘capitalist’ anymore because it carries negative connotations (ah, duh), thus they have changed it to ‘free-enterprise system.’

The sociology class, the board has removed references to sex and gender as social issues because they don’t want to expose highschool students to transvestites and transexuals. Wake up Texas, the gay/lesbian/transexual/transvestite/etc. crowd is here, and not going anywhere. They are real people. While you don’t have to dive deep into the issues related to this, you can’t blindfold americans.

The word ‘democratic’ as description of the US government has been removed in favour of ‘constitutional republic.’ There are literally hundreds of changes of this ilk that have been made that, to me, are very reminiscent of the way the government in Orwell’s 1984 controlled the information, speech, and history in that distopia.

And here, I think, is the most surprising one of them all. This board has actually PASSED a motion to remove Thomas Jefferson from the textbooks because he coined the term ‘separation of church and state.’ Now people, you may have heard over the past couple of elections in the states the common term that ‘america is a christian nation.’ And that ‘america was founded on christian values,’ and ‘that god has chosen america to be the leading light of the world.’ What many people don’t know is that the founding fathers of the USA mostly supported the separation of church and state. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy has commented on this here, where he talked about the Freedom From Religion Foundation which has funded new bus ads that directly quote the some founding fathers, and other politicians, explicitly saying that church is separate from state. What the US was based on was the constitution, and americans defend that to the death. The constitution gives you freedom from religion, and teaching students that the US is a christian nation founded by christians for christians is horrible. The united states has a HUGE population of other religions and ethnic background. Teaching this will only blind the students to the country they actually live in, and discriminate against the other religions that have helped shape the country into what it is today.

I have no problem if these people on this board have their own belief system. Where I have a problem is you deleting anyone saying otherwise. What bothers me most by all this is the conservative party’s constant whining about how the government should not be able to enforce things like public health care, and strict gun laws. The conservatives believe that the government should have very little say in the day-to-day life of an american, and the government’s only job is to defend the constitution. While I disagree with that very right wing view, that is their belief and they are entitled to it. If the conservatives want to keep the government out of their business, then how can they possibly justify doctoring the history/economic/sociology curriculum and textbooks. Education in the states is like canada, it’s public and funded by the government. What’s happening here is DEEPLY hypocritical.

Worse still, the textbooks that Texas writes/uses are typically the standard for many of the other states. As Texas is a large state, other smaller states wait for Texas to make their decision on what textbooks to use, and then follow suit. Therefore, these changes won’t just affect Texan children, but how the entire united states teaches their students.

How is it possible that this is allowed to happen?

Below I’ve added links to all the major places I got my info. Spread the word!

Jesse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/16/texas-schools-rewrites-us-history?CMP=twt_iph

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35839979/ns/us_news-education/

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-cuts-thomas-jefferson-out-of-its-textbooks/

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/03/14/texas-conservatives-screw-history/

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