Friday, October 5, 2012

"The Revisionaries" & "The Accommodation" Presented by CitySquare!

A couple of exciting things happening at CitySquare in our Public Policy work that we want you aware of...

Thursday, October 11, at 7:00, we will host a screening of the documentary 'The Revisionaries'. I review it in my monthly column in the Dallas Morning News:

"The Revisionaries depicts the ideological tug of war on the 15-member board as it made critical decisions about school curriculum during the 2009-10 session. Their votes determined the content of textbooks bought by our state. And because Texas and California are the largest purchasers of textbooks in the country, those decisions, in effect, create the baseline for what children nationwide will be taught. The next set of revisions can’t be made for another decade."

"Political nerds will find it fascinating to watch the motivations and machinations involved in inserting language into curriculum and textbooks, for example, presenting creationism as a comparably credible scientific theory alongside evolution. It’s equally interesting to watch social studies curriculum massaged to raise Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority movement to greater significance, while de-emphasizing the contributions of civil rights leaders and urban cultural trends."

"Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network (protagonist or antagonist, depending on your point of view), shares what she sees at stake: “Controlling and shaping the politics of a state [by] controlling and shaping what children learn from ages 5-18 is a really smart strategy.”
The story told in The Revisionaries largely flew under the radar for most citizens. As such, it becomes a cautionary tale regarding who potentially can wind up wielding power if more people aren’t aware of the existence and importance of government bodies such as the State Board of Education."

After the movie, we will have our customary 'town hall' meeting and we're excited about our list of panel guests: the director of 'The Revisionaries', Scott Thurman; State Board of Education Member, Mavis Knight; SMU anthropology professor and Texas Freedom Network board member, Dr. Ron Wetherington. The panel discussion will be led by the publisher of 'The Dallas Examiner', Jim Washington.

This screening will support the public policy work (normally the screenings are free) of CitySquare and we hope you'll join us for what promises to be an exciting and informative evening.

On October 18, at 12:00 pm at the First United Methodist Church of Dallas, we will host our bi-monthly Urban Engagement Book Club and it promises to be a thriller!

We will be reviewing the local classic 'The Accommodation', by Dallas Observer columnist (and sometimes nemesis) Jim Schutze. Jim's book tells how race relations evolved in Dallas. It is a primer and a must read for anyone serious about understanding the origins of tensions race relations in our city.

A community conversation will be held after the review (led ably by Randy Mayeaux) led by Jim Schutze and Rev. Peter Johnson, a former Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) regional organizer in Dallas, whose story is told in the book. Peter is legendary for his work in non-violent civil disobedience and social justice in our city during very turbulent times.

The Urban Engagement Book Club is a public awareness initiative of CitySquare's Public Policy Department and is free and open to the public. It's held on first Thursdays at the Highland Park United Methodist Church and the third Thursdays at First United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas.

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