The Texas Republican Party platform has always been a good read if you like chills up your spine. But the latest effort by the Gee Oh Pee in Texas takes this another step. The Houston Chronicle reports:
Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority — but nothing about liberals — under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks.
The first draft for proposed standards in United States History Studies Since Reconstruction declares that students should be expected "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority," according to the Dallas Morning News.
A six-member panel was set up by the Republican-dominated Texas Board of Education to advise teams of teachers, academics and community representatives to rewrite the standards for social studies textbooks and curricula. One advisor, Peter Marshall, head of Peter Marshall Ministries in Massachusetts, said in early July:
"To have César Chávez listed next to Ben Franklin" – as in the current standards – "is ludicrous," wrote evangelical minister Peter Marshall, one of six experts advising the state as it develops new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. [...]
Marshall also questioned whether Thurgood Marshall, who argued the landmark case that resulted in school desegregation and was the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice, should be presented to Texas students as an important historical figure. He wrote that the late justice is "not a strong enough example" of such a figure.
Dave Barton, formerly a vice chair of the Texas Republicans, and another of the six advisors, also joined Peter Marshall in condemning the inclusion of Anne Hutchinson, who was banished from Puritan-ruled Massachusetts for her advocacy of women's rights and religious freedom.
"She was certainly not a significant colonial leader, and didn't accomplish anything except getting herself exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for making trouble," Marshall wrote.
"Anne Hutchinson does not belong in the company of these eminent gentlemen," he said, referring to colonial leaders William Penn, Roger Williams and others. Williams later invited Hutchinson to help establish a colony in what became Rhode Island.
The new standards will determine what gets taught in Texas for the next 10 years in social studies, government and history classes.
The rightwingers who for more than a decade and a half have been seeking control over social studies curricula are not without their opponents. The Texas Freedom Network has been engaged in this culture war and has published a report you can read here.
Child abuse is what this Glenn Beck approach to education amounts to, a dumbing down of future generations for the express purpose of keeping the lid on the kind of critical thinking that leads to dissent. This isn't just know-nothingism at work. It's far more sinister. One bit of fall-out from such revisions is that Texas is a huge market for textbook publishers, who may dilute their offerings to avoid losing out in that market, and thus affect the choices of other state education systems.
Sometimes, one can almost agree with the snarks who argue that Texas should be allowed to secede without any intervention this time. But that would, of course, consign the millions of our compatriot blue voters in the Lone Star state to hopelessness.
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h/t to Think Progress. See also caseyaaronsmith's diary.