A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.Conservatives are trying to play a dangerous political game with the education system, by determining the content to be allowed in textbooks of Texas, and essentially the nation. Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, had made the statement warning against infusing politics into the textbooks, stating that once the curriculum is established," it will affect a generation of students - how they think." What is more troubling is the Texan's infusion of religion in to history, with Gilbert T. Sewall, Director of the American Textbook Council, stating that the Christian right is trying to recapture the "soul" of the nation, with Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State saying that the Christian right is trying to "convince Americans that this was founded as a Christian nation," chiseling away at the separation of church and state. Lynn points out that the deeply flawed system in Texas has unqualified elected people making decisions for the entire nation.
Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.
"We have been about conservatism versus liberalism," said Democrat Mavis Knight of Dallas, explaining her vote against the standards. "We have manipulated strands to insert what we want it to be in the document, regardless as to whether or not it's appropriate."
Following three days of impassioned and acrimonious debate, the board gave preliminary approval to the new standards with a 10-5 party line vote. A final vote is expected in May, after a public comment period that could produce additional amendments and arguments.
Decisions by the board – made up of lawyers, a dentist and a weekly newspaper publisher among others – can affect textbook content nationwide because Texas is one of publishers' biggest clients.
Ultraconservatives wielded their power over hundreds of subjects this week, introducing and rejecting amendments on everything from the civil rights movement to global politics. Hostilities flared and prompted a walkout Thursday by one of the board's most prominent Democrats, Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi, who accused her colleagues of "whitewashing" curriculum standards.
By late Thursday night, three other Democrats seemed to sense their futility and left, leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding "American exceptionalism" and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.
"Some board members themselves acknowledged this morning that the process for revising curriculum standards in Texas is seriously broken, with politics and personal agendas dominating just about every decision," said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for religious freedom.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Texas State Board of Education Approves Right Wing Agenda To be Put In Textbooks
From The Huffington Post: