As Goes Texas?

I started this alternate blog with the intent of avoiding controversial topics. However, I don’t think that I can let this subject go.

Texas is a very important state when it comes to what is in textbooks. Not only in Texas, but around the country. Unlike most states, where local school districts decide which books to use, books in Texas must be approved at the state level. Being such a huge consumer of books, Texas is much-sought by text book publishers. Therefore, books are often skewed toward appealing to the Texas State Board of Education.

That, frankly, should scare you in light of just how that is done and who’s doing it.

Recently, for example, they banned the children’s picture book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? because one member mistakenly thought that the author of the picture book was also the author of a book called Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperitive of Liberation. Bill Martin, Jr., the author of Brown Bear, died in 2004. Prof. Bill Martin, who wrote Ethical Marxism, published his tome in 2008.

How did this come about? Apparently the web site book-selling web site borders.com listed the two Bill Martins as the same person.

Borders. Yes, folks. Not even looking at books, but taking a listing from a book store’s web site. How’s that for academic excellence?

That story alone should make one wonder whether these jokers have any business shaping the education (and critical thinking skills, research habits, etc.) of children.

However, this board is far more powerful than that.

Mariah Blake recently wrote an article for Washington Monthly that takes a look at just how the board works.

The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.

That’s from Don McLeroy, who helps determine what text books will be allowed in Texas, and therefore what publishers will offer to the rest of the nation. So, those are his priorities. Not honesty, balance, critical thinking, etc.. He wants to make sure that the book presents his opinion as fact.

That isn’t education, people … that’s brainwashing.

A lot of noise is made about the alleged left-wing bias of school text books and public schools in general. This, though, is worse than bias. This is flagrant denial of the possibility of an alternate view.

Blake’s article is well worth taking the time to read. The Texas Right is going far beyond defending any realistic view of history, and simply rewriting it for their views. Civil rights leaders aren’t important, the New Deal isn’t a major event in US history, and you’d better not call the US a democratic nation. It’s a republican one.

Also from that article:

The ultraconservatives argued that they were too light on basics like grammar and too heavy on reading comprehension and critical thinking. “This critical-thinking stuff is gobbledygook,” grumbled David Bradley, an insurance salesman with no college degree, who often acts as the faction’s enforcer.

Indeed, they seem not to have any use for reading comprehension (or even picking up the book) or critical thinking. Simply reinforce their prejudices, that’s what the Texas Board wants.

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7 Responses to As Goes Texas?

  1. PMalvey says:

    Ahhh…I could have a long discussion here, but I’ll just throw one point of clarity. The US is not a “democratic” nation…by design. Nor is it “republican” unless you put “form” following. We are of republic design because no direct democracies had, or have, survived anywhere near as long.
    Oh…two points…at the same time it’s not the Democratic Party…its the Democrat Party. It IS, however, the Democratic National Committee. Not that you referenced, but personal peeve when people misspeak.

  2. wken says:

    The Republic, though, is a form of democracy. There hasn’t been a pure democracy, true … but we are democratic. It’s the meticulous avoidance of referring to us as democratic that troubles me. That was being done, as the other changes, for overtly political reasons.

    The Democrats, by the way, disagree about the name of their party. According to dnc.org, they’re the Democratic Party. Thus the whole flap a couple years ago when Pres. Bush called them “the Democrat Party.”

  3. John Shore says:

    Wow. Awesomely well done post. EXTREMELY interesting. Thank you.

  4. nonnie9999 says:

    a bit of a pet peeve for me, too. democrat is a noun, democratic is an adjective. party is a noun, and any modifier must be an adjective. therefore, democratic party is correct. calling them the democrat party was a frank luntz little trick, and it’s disrespectful. of course, being disrespectful was the whole point.

    with that out of the way, i have to wonder about the people who vote in texas. do they want the best for their children or the best for the republican party? is critical thinking elitist now? they had better start realizing that those kids will grow up and be the doctors, lawyers, police officers, teachers, etc. that they will have to depend on in the future. do they really want them not to be able to think for themselves?

  5. wken says:

    Thanks, John! Unless there’s sarcasm in there … nah, you wouldn’t do that to me.

    Nonnie, I also wonder about that. Blind ideology would, you’d think, only take you so far. My wife was asking about science students who come out of Texas. What happens when you haven’t even studied evolution and have only looked at global warming denial (and not the science supporting it), and then set up as a Biology major in college? You’re a little bit behind your classmates.

  6. betabob says:

    Great and inormative post. Shows that all politics really is local.

  7. […] here, but below are some highlights. One of the things we have to realize is that as Texas goes, so does the nation. Find more here as […]

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