Saturday, May 22, 2010

Texas Rewrites History?

Today I learned that the Texas Education Agency had voted to approve a conservative textbook curriculum. I wanted to learn more so I went to the website for the Texas Education Agency. I'm assuming it's just a coincidence that the letters on the website are TEA.

Some of the changes to curriculum include:
1. Replacing Thomas Jefferson with John Calvin as an example of enlightened thinking.
2. Studying the Judeo-Christian thinking of the founding fathers rather than the ideas of separation of church and state.
3. Studying the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic" rather than "democratic."
4. Omitting information that the constitution prevents the government from promoting one religion over another.

There are quite a few other changes as well, many reflecting conservative thinking. Several members of the board, upset with proceedings, walked out, leaving the more conservative members an easy vote. And with Texas impacting textbook publishing, many of these curriculum changes may eventually be found in textbooks nationwide, although I heard that California has already introduced legislation that would keep Texas' standards and textbooks out of California.

It's not that I'm for or against a conservative agenda or a liberal one, but I believe that history is history and should be taught as facts. You can't just leave out facts because you don't like them or they don't fit your politics. Nor can you include items that aren't true because they promote your beliefs.

School boards across the nation need to take note of what happened in Texas. Personally, I don't believe public school curriculum is the place to promote conservatism or liberalism or religious beliefs or political agendas. Unfortunately, there are people who do.

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