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View Full Version : History Textbook Controversy Roils Texas


EmeraldFields
25-01-10, 00:54
(Jan. 19) – "History is written by the victors," Winston Churchill famously said. In Texas, that may mean removing mention of Ted Kennedy and Cesar Chavez from textbooks in favor of new entries on the National Rifle Association and Phyllis Schlafly.

For much of the past year, the Texas State Board of Education has been considering changes to its social studies curriculum, hearing from community members and debating alterations to the way the state will teach history.

Many on the board, which is made up of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, seem to have concluded that Texas' classrooms have been infected with a liberal bias. As a result, the board has spent numerous hours hearing from members of the community on subjects such as whether labor activist Chavez and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall deserve space in history textbooks alongside founding fathers like Benjamin Franklin.

Also at issue is whether Christianity deserves more classroom time in the Lone Star State, and whether Abraham Lincoln deserves so much. (Read more here) (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6526101.html)

Last week, the board voted 7-6 to make some changes, so that the state standards will mandate that lessons include the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including anti-feminism advocate Schlafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.

It wasn't clear which grades would be affected.

In a written statement, the measure's sponsor, board member Don McLeroy, explained why he believes the current textbooks are unacceptable and needed revising.

"These standards are rife with leftist political periods and events: the populists, the progressives, the New Deal and the Great Society," McLeroy wrote. "Including material about the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s provides some political balance to the document."

McLeroy also succeeded in making changes to how Sen. Joseph McCarthy will be taught, painting the man – whose use of Congress to investigate alleged communist behavior in the 1950s has been widely repudiated – in a more favorable light.

The board's preliminary vote has met with some opposition.

"When partisan politicians take a wrecking ball to the work of teachers and scholars, you get a document that looks more like a party platform than a social studies curriculum," Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, a group that monitors public education in the state, told the Houston Chronicle.

The final vote on the new standards will be held in May. There are 4 million children in the Texas public school system, making it the second-largest market for textbooks in the country. As a result, changes to the Texas curriculum are likely to impact other states as well.

http://www.sphere.com/nation/article/texas-board-of-education-considers-making-history-lessons-more-conservative/19323135

Beans-Bot
25-01-10, 01:07
We're not as crazy as we're portrayed in the media, I swear.

:o

[Notice how I said "not as crazy"...:pi:]

Encore
25-01-10, 01:13
Creepy how easy it is to manipulate the education system..

miss.haggard
25-01-10, 01:14
Home schooling FTW.

Ward Dragon
25-01-10, 01:26
Interesting. Now that I think about it, in New York my high school history classes never got up to the '80's so we didn't cover any of the "conservative resurgence" either. I think it's a fair point to ask why history classes don't cover much from the last thirty years. I also felt that my US history class spent way too much time on the Civil War, which is probably why we didn't get up to recent history. If they want to reallocate classroom time to try to squeeze in more recent history, that sounds like a good idea.

Now, having said that, there's obviously political motivation behind this on one or both sides, so I'd have to see how the Texas curriculum is now and how it would be after the changes take place before I could decide if this was a good move for Texan schools. I may be idealistic, but I think the curriculum should cover actual history (including the facts surrounding both "liberal" and "conservative" movements) so that the students actually know what happened and have an understanding of history. They can decide for themselves if they don't like the union advocates or the anti-feminists, but they have to actually know who those people were in the first place in order to make that evaluation.

I do disagree with painting McCarthy in a favorable light, however. If they don't want to inject the emotional aspect and insult him during the lesson, that's of course how it should be taught anyway -- truthfully say what happened, but let the facts speak for themselves and don't try to excuse or justify his behavior.

Indiana Croft
25-01-10, 02:33
You know, this is such a whatever topic. Who cares? What your kids learn in class won't stop them from being sluts and hypocrites to their religion, you annoying serial bible bumpers!
Sex ed didn't stop pregnancy issues and teaching more conservative material wont stop your children from being liberal and vice versa.
Ultimately people make up their own decisions and trying to force feed one on generation x is all in vain anyway.
Much more concerning issue please? How about Haiti? How about Gay progress? How about the war in afghanistan? Why is the educational material an issue all of a sudden? What needs fixed is the time schedule and the means of education, not the curriculum. :hea: It's not like we're teaching kids that Gay is okay or that slavery should be reinstituted. Move on my gosh. Why are we still having moral fiber wars?

Ward Dragon
25-01-10, 02:40
It's not like we're teaching kids that Gay is okay

We're not? :confused: Not that homosexuality was ever a big issue in any of the high school classes I took, but the school did give messages of tolerance for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. There were also apparently support counselors for students who advised them for a variety of reasons including having social issues due to being gay (I didn't find that out until trying to become a teacher though). Then again I suppose New York is probably quite different from Texas so maybe my experience doesn't count towards the topic :p

Indiana Croft
25-01-10, 02:48
We're not? :confused: Not that homosexuality was ever a big issue in any of the high school classes I took, but the school did give messages of tolerance for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. There were also apparently support counselors for students who advised them for a variety of reasons including having social issues due to being gay (I didn't find that out until trying to become a teacher though). Then again I suppose New York is probably quite different from Texas so maybe my experience doesn't count towards the topic :p

I meant "Go out and hug a homosexual and you have to agree 100% with his lifestyle despite what daddy taught you" or "If you wanna be gay thats all cool cause gay is in right now"
I am gay. So obviously I support gay rights but it's not like schools are spoonfeeding homosexual tolerance in school. Kids still get teased for that everyday. Gay is deff not okay in teenage social situations yet. I'm just saying it's not like the classrooms are going out of thier way to be liberal. And they're not going out of their way to be conservative. So it's level.

AmericanAssassin
25-01-10, 02:52
We're not? :confused: Not that homosexuality was ever a big issue in any of the high school classes I took, but the school did give messages of tolerance for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. There were also apparently support counselors for students who advised them for a variety of reasons including having social issues due to being gay (I didn't find that out until trying to become a teacher though). Then again I suppose New York is probably quite different from Texas so maybe my experience doesn't count towards the topic :p

Wow. Life is different just a few states away. Teachers bash gays like there's no tomorrow in Indiana. Talking about how immoral it is and how they're headed for hell. The laws on religion aren't very strict here. Teachers were constantly shoving the bible down my throat.

TheBloodRed
25-01-10, 03:08
LOL! That article is biased in and of itself! xD

I do agree that home schooling is so much better than the government subsidized teaching here in the states.

I'd rather move to Sweden before my children go to a public school here. (would probably go to Japan to school them anyways haha)

Solice
25-01-10, 03:15
Creepy how easy it is to manipulate the education system..

Both sides do it, and they are both hypocrites.

TheBloodRed
25-01-10, 03:15
Both sides? There is only one separate from ourselves.

aktrekker
25-01-10, 04:34
You know, this is such a whatever topic. Who cares? What your kids learn in class won't stop them from being sluts and hypocrites to their religion, you annoying serial bible bumpers!
Sex ed didn't stop pregnancy issues and teaching more conservative material wont stop your children from being liberal and vice versa.
Ultimately people make up their own decisions and trying to force feed one on generation x is all in vain anyway.
Much more concerning issue please? How about Haiti? How about Gay progress? How about the war in afghanistan? Why is the educational material an issue all of a sudden? What needs fixed is the time schedule and the means of education, not the curriculum. :hea: It's not like we're teaching kids that Gay is okay or that slavery should be reinstituted. Move on my gosh. Why are we still having moral fiber wars?

No offense intended, but it sounds like you have issues.

Dennis's Mom
25-01-10, 12:07
I find this soooooo embarrassing. Really.

Fortunately, my husband and I pay close attention to what our children say and home and do our best to provide thoughtful answers to their questions.

Cochrane
25-01-10, 13:16
Updating the textbooks to reflect recent developments is a good idea. The new conservatism certainly is important for understanding the landscape of the modern US, possibly more than a number of other topics that are currently being taught. It's the reasoning that is worrying me. Public schools must not be "politically balanced", they must be neutral and objective — what political conclusions to draw from this must be left up to the students.

Bongo Fury
25-01-10, 13:46
It's the reasoning that is worrying me. Public schools must not be "politically balanced", they must be neutral and objective — what political conclusions to draw from this must be left up to the students.

Everyone has bias though, and that is the problem. The “objective viewpoint” really doesn't exist. Nonetheless decisions have to be made. Some people are more qualified than others I suppose and you can hope to have the better qualified making decisions but still.