Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gimme Them New-Time Texas Textbooks, Yeah! (by Xan)

So the story is all over the Innertubes here about the Texas Board of Education "advisory" committee which proposes to modify the requirements for the course on US History Since Reconstruction (warning, PDF) to require students "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority."

Gearing up as I am for a possible career change into teaching, I say: Hell yeah. And the TX team doesn't go nearly far enough.

I want high school students to know about all those people just named. In addition to individuals, the board wants mention included of groups like the National Rifle Association. I propose they should add: the American Enterprise Institute. The Cato Foundation. The Conservative Citizen's Council(s). The Scaife Foundation (I think that's the name, this is sort of off the top of my head.) There are others.

This is actually good, serious teaching and good education. Who are/were the founders of these organizations? What are the groups' stated purposes and aims? Where does their money come from and where does it go? How often do persons affiliated with these groups appear on television or other media, and do those media disclose the "aims and purposes" of the groups or just state the name without context?

This could be a very good textbook indeed. And given the influence that Texas (and California) have, due to their populations, on textbooks all across the country, I may very well find myself teaching out of one of them one of these days.

Not in Texas though. Those people are nuts down there. Look who they let be on their state Board of Education. Look who they tend to elect to statewide office. (shudder.) Nearly reconciles me to living in Tennessee, it does.