Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Texas State Board of Mis-Education

4.8 million.

That's the number of children in public schools in Texas.

One day they will become parents. Some will own businesses. Others will be CEO's of major corporations. They will be blue collar workers, nurses, doctors, musicians, pastors and teachers. From those platforms, some of them will be our mayors, council members, state legislators, congress members, senators, governors and presidents.

And what they know about the history of their country, if the majority of the Texas State Board of Education has its way, will be less substantive than if they had watched an entire season of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'!

Have these people lost their minds?!

Our children will learn about the Declaration of Independence, but they will do an academic 'drive by' on the significance of Thomas Jefferson. The will have the words of Jefferson Davis, placed on par with Abraham Lincoln (seriously?!). They will learn a sanitized version of Joseph McCarthy, the meglomaniacal chairman of the House on Un-American Activities (HUAC), who ruined careers as he ran rough shod over the Constitution in search of 'Reds' (communists). Justifiable, because, of course, there actually were communists!

When 1-3 graders are taught about good citizenship, they will no longer have a definition that includes the words 'justice' or the phrase 'responsibility for the common good'.

And should any of these 4.8 million young people be able to escape the intellectual travesty foisted upon them by this institutionalized ideology run amok, they will have to have remediation should they take a real world history course. You see, in real world history courses they no longer use B.C. or A.D. to refer to periods 'Before Christ' (B.C.) or After Christ (Anno Domini, or AD). It is B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) or CE (the Common Era).

You can browse the list of other ridiculous proposals here.

This is not just a matter of Texas becoming a laughing stock (again, I say, our Governor has intimated a willingness on the part of Texans to secede from the union again; it may be a moot point, we may get kicked out before too long!). No, this is about the absolute pitifulness of a state board entrusted with determining the material which will serve as the foundation upon which our children are educated, 'researching' on the Internet as opposed to consulting historians, academics or experts on historical facts. Its about substituting opinion and ideology for objective fact, and forcing that 'world view' on young minds that ultimately will shape the world.

To put it another way, "The problem isn’t simply that many changes were wrong factually. Teachers will surely despair as they read through the numerous names, dates and events board members added willy-nilly to the standards with little consideration of how in the world to cram all of those facts into the limited instructional time available for classes."

Even for Bush Secretary of Education and former Houston School District Superintendent Rod Paige says this has gone too far, voicing concerns about the teaching of slavery and civil rights
""In Texas, we've allowed the pendulum to swing backwards and forward," said Paige, a former Houston schools superintendent. "I'm asking that that swing be narrower and let history speak for itself.""

In Dallas, there is a question of whether or not the City Council should draft a resolution opposing Arizona's recent immigration legislation. I suggest that it would be the height of folly to address such an issue without strongly speaking out against this nonsense.

There was a time when the chief complaint was that we do not provide our children with enough knowledge about other countries and cultures. Now we are intentionally providing them with misleading and inaccurate information about their own.

What a way to prepare our children for the future.

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