I previously wrote on this topic at this link.
Seemingly antithetical to anything that could be called educational planning, planning based on science and the record of history, that is, the Texas Board of Education handed down a 10-5 preliminary vote in favor of amending the state’s social studies curriculum, with many of the decisions falling along conservative political or ideological lines.
So, he introduced an amendment to state social studies curriculum standards that said: “understand how government taxation and regulations can serve as restriction to private enterprise.”
He said the students need to know that over-regulation and over-taxation can inhibit innovation and stifle industry.
His fellow member, Terri Leo, agreed. She said it’s especially important today, with issues like cap-and-trade and “policies that are based on supposed global warming theories.”
The amendment passed.
As part of the new curriculum, the elected board — made up of lawyers, a dentist and a weekly newspaper publisher among others — rejected an attempt to ensure that children learn wshy the U.S. was founded on the principle of religious freedom.
But, it agreed to strengthen nods to Christianity by adding references to “laws of nature and nature’s God” to a section in U.S. history that requires students to explain major political ideas.
They also agreed to strike the word “democratic” in references to the form of U.S. government, opting instead to call it a “constitutional republic.”
In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class and agreed to require economics students to “analyze the decline of the U.S. dollar including abandonment of the gold standard.”
And possibly the most ridiculous example I can find, one that smacks of anti-intellectualism all around is the case of the children’s book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr., which the board of education moved to ban because, and without doing any fact-checking, members thought it was written by Bill Martin, who indeed penned, “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.” The latter Bill Martin, however, is a philosophy teacher at DePaul University in Chicago.
From the The Dallas Morning News:
Hardy’s motion is “a new low in terms of the group that’s supposed to represent education having such faulty research and making such a false leap without substantiating what they’re doing,” said Michael Sampson, Martin’s co-author on 30 children’s books.
The social studies standards update, which started last spring when groups of educators met to suggest revisions, has brought criticism from the right and the left about politicizing the process. As trustees worked their way through a draft this month, political ideas like imperialism, communism and free enterprise were at the heart of some of the changes.
The good news, I suppose, is that the person holding the board’s most conservative, far right seat, member Don McLeroy, was ousted by lobbyist Thomas Ratliff earlier this month. Said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network:
Voters sent a clear message by rejecting the ringleader [McLeroy] of the faction that has repeatedly dragged our public schools into the nation’s divisive culture wars over the past four years. Parents want a state board that focuses on educating their kids, not promoting divisive political and personal agendas.
The bad news, at least for students, is that
social conservatives claimed at least one victory as Ken Mercer of San Antonio successfully fended off a GOP challenge from Austin attorney Tim Tuggey. And conservative Brian Russell forced an April runoff with educator Marsha Farney in the race for the seat held by outgoing Christian conservative Cynthia Dunbar.
“I hope we can keep our conservative posture,” Mercer said of the board.
Since when should educational material break down along party lines or even ideological lines? I will now return to some corner silently weeping.