Friday, May 21, 2010

Your daily update of what constitutes education in Texas

You have to admire the education board goon in Texas. They've become national pariahs and jokes, they've become a symbol for all that's wrong in our educational system and prioritizing politicization and ideologies over facts, and they've even engendered the beginning of a backlash in their state. Yet still they go on, rewriting history so that maybe, just maybe, kids will have a more positive view of the Republican Party and definitely, definitely have to retake a bunch of basic, high school level history courses if they want to meet the minimum requirements to graduate from college.

So what constitutes history today? What race has been getting it too good in our history books? What awful historical event needs whitewashed? What relatively unimportant event within the conservative movement needs to replace a bit of actual history? Let us find out.
Several changes include... introducing a new focus on the "significant contributions" of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war.

The new curriculum asserts that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an important element of a democratic society. Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favour of examining scientific advances through military technology.
The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous "Atlantic triangular trade", and recasts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as driven by Islamic fundamentalism.
Dunbar backed amendments to the curriculum that portray the free enterprise system (there is no mention of capitalism, deemed to be a tainted word) as a cornerstone of liberty and argue that the government should have a minimal role in the economy.

One amendment requires that students be taught that economic prosperity requires "minimal government intrusion and taxation".
On the education board, Dunbar backed changes that include teaching the role the "Jewish Ten Commandments" played in "political and legal ideas", and the study of the influence of Moses on the US constitution. Dunbar says these are important steps to overturning what she believes is the myth of a separation between church and state in the US.
Ahh Newton you hack, go sit with Jefferson on the swings, we need to learn how George Wallace is the exact same kind of fighter for racial rights as MLK (true, according to Texas curriculum). And thank God the softened the language on the slave trade. Otherwise kids might get an idea that slaves were the only thing being traded. I think some tools and a couple barrels of molasses were involved.

Finally someone is willing to stand up and say that the separation of church and state is a myth. Sure, some wags might point out that it's in the 1st Amendment or that Thomas Jefferson talked about how the combined effects of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause in the 1st formed a separation of church and state. But if Jefferson was so important, wouldn't he be part of Texas educational guidelines?

Go read the article and get a little insight into the mind of the Texas school board. The phrase "paranoid persecution fantasies" and "rampant flag eating bullshit" don't even begin to explain their mindset. They believe that God has called them to indoctrinate kids with conservative dogma. Kind of frightening to think about what they'd try to pull if they thought no one was paying attention and they weren't being made national lightening rods. Then again, maybe schoolchildren haven't learned enough about President Jesus H. Christ and His victorious fight against the Kaiser.

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