Friday, May 21, 2010

More Texas Board of Education Shenanigans

I don't think there can be any doubt that what is motivating the reform of the Texas public education curriculum is bald-faced ideological bias. In fact, the conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education are making absolutely no efforts to hide this:

McLeroy [a conservative Republican member of the Board] believes the Texas history curriculum has been unfairly skewed after years of Democrats controlling the board.
So, he's just going to skew it in the other direction! Even if one accepts that the curriculum has represented an ideologically leftist position, does that then justify going in the other direction? Should ideology even factor into the debate? Where is the discussion about trying to be as neutral as possible in representing facts? Shouldn't that be the discussion instead of trying to present knowledge in any ideologically skewed direction? If there is a clear ideological bias in the curriculum towards the left, then by all means remove it, because it shouldn't have a place in the curriculum. But don't then try to do the same thing, only replacing liberal bias with conservative bias!

Read the article and check out some of the ludicrous aspects being debated here. One effort made by a clearly Obama-hating Republican on the Committee was to insist that Obama be identified by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama. Clearly, since this requirement applies to no other President (do these textbooks demand reference to the middle names of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, etc.), the intent of this effort is purposefully to try to use Obama's middle name as an anti-Islamic smear. I mean even some of this dude's fellow Republicans on the Committee were embarrassed by this effort and by their colleague's clear motivations and intentions in making this proposal.

Another one of my favorite absurdities involves reference to labor leader Dolores Huerta:
The board rejected a renewed effort to include labor leader Dolores Huerta as an example of good citizenship in third-grade history classes. Huerta, who worked alongside Cesar Chavez for farmworkers' rights, was removed from the list in January amid concerns that she was affiliated with socialists.
Even if Huerta was "affiliated with socialists" (and is there some crime in that worthy of excluding her from history?), shouldn't any evaluation of her inclusion in curriculum have to do with the significance of her work as a citizen? What's next, removing references to Martin Luther King, Jr., from the curriculum as an unworthy example of "good citizenship" because he "affiliated with" socialists and radicals? Maybe Texas can remove the Bushes from the curriculum because the Bush family has had cozy relationships with those radical, terrorist-funding Saudi royalty. See how absurd this can get once ideology replaces some measure of objectivity in developing curriculum? Sheesh!

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