Thursday, May 20, 2010

Revisionist Social Studies

Texas is the country's second-largest textbook buyer, behind California, which has more than 6.2 million public school students in grades K-12.
I love Texas, don't get me wrong -- especially the BBQ. But ever since I heard that the Texas Board of Education approved a revised social studies curriculum to include adding language saying the country's Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles and a new section on "the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s," I got a little frightened. The revisions also include positive references to the Moral Majority, the National Rifle Association and the Contract with America, the congressional GOP manifesto from the 1990s.
Critics say if the changes are incorporated into textbooks, they will be historically inaccurate and dismissive of the contributions of minorities. The Texas recommendations face a final vote by the Republican-dominated board on May 21. The amendments to the state's curriculum standards also minimize Thomas Jefferson's role in world and U.S. history because he advocated the separation of church and state, and require that students learn about "the unintended consequences" of affirmative action and Title IX, the landmark federal law that bans gender discrimination in education programs and activities. 
 California may soon take a stand against proposed changes to social studies textbook sas a way to prevent them from being incorporated in California texts. Legislation by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, seeks to protect the nation's largest public school population. "While some Texas politicians may want to set their educational standards back 50 years, California should not be subject to their backward curriculum changes," Yee said (Amen)

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