Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For those who think Texas public schools suck: do worry

They're about to get a whole lot worse.

The Texas Board of Education, which recently approved new science standards that made room for creationist critiques of evolution, is revising the state's social studies curriculum. In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history.

Three reviewers, appointed by social conservatives, have recommended revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.

Yup. No-good "liberal" figures such as Chávez (who revolutionized and vastly ameliorated the working conditions of thousands) and Marshall (first Black to serve on the US Supreme Court ever) are thrown out the window, and the rest of the curriculum emphasizes how America is Christian at heart and how it was founded with biblical standards in mind (which, as is becoming increasingly exasperating to point out, IT WASN'T as it was founded upon HUMANISTIC morals and values such as right to life, liberty, security, etc.). Just fucking perfect. As if schools in Texas couldn't be shittier. (I know. I've been there.)

Apparently these "conservative reviews" (or "wingnut hacks") state that the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution, the "checks and balances" system, is actually – get this – a scriptural interpretation from the Bible about "original sin" (ie. that all men are inherently sinful), which they dub "radical depravity" (owch). Sorry, religious nuts, but it doesn't take original sin to make a single unified government a very bad idea, hence requiring a bicameral Congress at best. It's called human nature. (Which is what nuts interpret as a result of original sin, I guess.)

The curriculum, they say, should clearly present Christianity as an overall force for good -- and a key reason for American exceptionalism, the notion that the country stands above and apart.

"America is a special place and we need to be sure we communicate that to our children," said Don McLeroy, a leading conservative on the board. "The foundational principles of our country are very biblical.... That needs to come out in the textbooks."


Shut up, Don.

Below are some (but, sadly, not all) of the suggested and anticipated changes that are winging their way into Texas classrooms.

  • Replace Thurgood Marshall with Harriet Tubman or Sam Houston
  • Delete Anne Hutchinson from a list of colonial leaders
  • Delete César Chávez from a list of figures who modeled active participation in the democratic process
  • Include more study of religious revival movements
  • Replace references to America's "democratic values" with "republican" values"

A couple of the other suggestions make a bit of sense – such as emphasizing the study of original documents as opposed to textbooks from authors that merely represent the authors' interpretations of said original documents, or rewording references from minorities' "contributions" to society, to their "role" in society. But the rest – the ones listed above – are just batshit stupid. Nothing but another stupid and disingenuous attempt at removing those Evil Liberals references and their positive impact on society whilst boasting about how great religion is and how America is a Christian nation.

It's positively vomit-inducing to realize this bullshit is what's gonna be crammed into schoolchildren's heads for years to come.

(via Forever In Hell)


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