Forum: Arts / Debates

The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By balletgurl03member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Mar 31, 2010 02:56 PM

www.nytimes.com . . .

The Texas Board of Education approved a revised social studies curriculum earlier in March. The new changes will but a more conservative spin on their telling of history. A few examples:

"Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported." NY Times

"Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)" NY Times

Dozens of other changes like the rejection of Oscar Romero (he wasn't well known enough), the superiority of American caitalism, the questioning of the Founding Father's commitment to a secular government, and so on.

Not to mention, Texas is one of the largest buyer of textbooks, and this could affect a large number of states.

So, who can decide what goes into a curriculum? And, is significant bias appropriate? Do you agree with these changes?

-Balletgurl03

9 Replies to The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?

re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Wed Mar 31, 2010 03:31 PM
I believe that every Board of Education should have a fairly equal mix of liberal and conservative, mainstream and alternative, Dates-and-Facts and Concepts....people that are on opposite ends of the spectrum. That way, when compromises are made, the children end up with a more rounded education that develops their critical thinking skills.

I don't think it's right for a government to raise their children to favor one political party. Tough noogies, Texas: Tommy J was pretty freakin' important in American History.
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:19 PM
The crows may come home to roost. A couple years ago the Kansas State Board of Ed. mandated Creationism as a curriculum item for science class and specifically downplayed the teaching of evolution. The next election most, if not all of the members mandating that got thrown out. The same thing happened in a small Pennsyvania town as well.

Elected state school boards (and we don't even have them in this state - Maryland) are one of those offices that people with agendas try to get on because they know there is usually little electoral interest in them, but when they pull stunts like these, interest peaks when they run again. In a politically active juridiction such as the one I live in...suburban Washington DC, we have many activists who are quite good at ferreting out people with these agenda since the western suburbs of Washington are where many politically active career federal employees (such as I was once) now live.

Jon
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By Incarnadinemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:48 AM
Edited by Incarnadine (15186) on 2010-04-02 11:55:54
Edited by Incarnadine (15186) on 2010-04-02 11:58:41
AlwaysOnStage wrote:

I believe that every Board of Education should have a fairly equal mix of liberal and conservative, mainstream and alternative, Dates-and-Facts and Concepts....people that are on opposite ends of the spectrum. That way, when compromises are made, the children end up with a more rounded education that develops their critical thinking skills.


I believe there shouldn’t be liberal or conservative influence PERIOD.

Here’s a progressive idea- why not depict history as accurately as humanely possible- without allowing partisan politics to taint and spin????

Limit history books to the bare bones facts as much as possible and provide a collection of evidence and balanced arguments for/against specific instances in which a “filling of the gaps” is needed to provide context to limited known information and let discussion ensue.

I’m so damn sick of liberals and conservatives pushing their agendas into everything. They put their noses (talking points, agendas, manipulations) into everything- and this is especially bothersome because the last place it belongs is in the manipulation of history or “facts.”

EDIT:

Isn’t that the cornerstone of a great education? Getting students to think, weigh facts, form their own opinions, question and challenge? A freakin’ monkey can be taught to memorize. Intellect comes from being able to gather and weigh information, apply it, stretch it, discuss it and challenge it. when politics are allowed to influence and spin and twist…then it compromises the integrity of the academic system and knowledge itself.

As far as I’m concerned, allowing liberals or conservatives to influence the writing of history is both immoral, unethical and dare I say treasonous.

Teach children the truth, with neutrality, as we know it and through the course of their intellectual growth- allow them to decide what they think of the facts. Once you spin it in any direction beyond the simple facts…you are essentially brain washing and manipulating. (And let’s be honest- when you boil it down...that’s exactly the motive in its entirety.)
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Apr 02, 2010 02:03 PM
Ah, yet another beauty of homeschooling, the freedom from state control over what your kid reads. I tried not to use textbooks when teaching history for this very reason. I haven't found a completely objective history textbook, they typically spin towards one side of center. But that's because history itself isn't entirely objective - if you weren't there to see it for yourself then you are always going to get a certain amount of another's impressions whether you like it or not. Even if you just stuck with the 'facts', how do you decide which ones get in and which ones get left out? You can spin an entire agenda just with a weighted list of facts. When I did use texts I tried to have books from both 'sides'. But mostly we stayed away from texts altogether and used other sources - encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies, etc. But guess what? Those can't be guaranteed to be entirely objective either. The best thing to do is tell your student ahead of time about the way the spinning of world views works and start them thinking themselves about what their own world view is, how to spot another's world view, and learn to question everything they read.

:)
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Fri Apr 02, 2010 06:33 PM
Here’s a progressive idea- why not depict history as accurately as humanely possible- without allowing partisan politics to taint and spin????


It's impossible: bias isn't always conscious, and people remember history differently. Having people of a range of ideals and background will MAKE the most averaged progression of history. It's not necessarily politics, but rather approaches to history and decisions on 'what's important to include'.
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History? (karma: 4)
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Apr 02, 2010 08:16 PM
Image hotlink - 'http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l026rveJ2N1qz4sr8o1_500.jpg'
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By Incarnadinemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Apr 03, 2010 09:24 AM
AlwaysOnStage wrote:

Here’s a progressive idea- why not depict history as accurately as humanely possible- without allowing partisan politics to taint and spin????


It's impossible: bias isn't always conscious, and people remember history differently. Having people of a range of ideals and background will MAKE the most averaged progression of history. It's not necessarily politics, but rather approaches to history and decisions on 'what's important to include'.


Except that there’s clear partisan/political motives present, which is what the debate is about.
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By GypsieFreemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:20 AM
Text books should have all sides. Taking out influential people such as Tommy Jeff isn't the way to do it at all. We all know how influential he truly was, and you can't deny it.. But not just him... The entire idea is just. ugh. I want to wring people's necks when I read stuff like this.

Some things should be added to text books and some things should be removed. They definitely DO need revision, however they are going about it entirely wrong. If you show BOTH ends of the spectrum, at least children will grow up learning about the fact that our country has two very different ends of the spectrum going on, it will actually make them more aware of political parties/belief systems and give them a leg to stand on.. One side shouldnt be shoved down childrens throats... That's basically brain washing and last I checked we don't live in a communist society.
re: The Texas Textbook Controversy - Rewriting History?
By rmdanceguy1
On Tue Apr 20, 2010 08:39 PM
Edited by rmdanceguy1 (145782) on 2010-04-20 22:12:31
I do not agree with these changes at all. I love the history of the establishment of the American Government and consider myself somewhat of a historian.

The reason why this controversy was so significant is when the Texas School Board adopts new textbooks the printing company, in order to maximize profits, sell copies of these textbooks to school districts in the other fifty states minus California. So, the scope of these fundemental changes go farther than just in Texas.

This concentrates squarely on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the American doctrine of the Separation of Church and State. This doctrine was advanced by Thomas Jefferson in his writings and implemented as central to the foundations of American Government. This is the central reason why Thomas Jefferson was removed.

Thomas Jefferson sincerely believed although he was Christian, religion was an internally personal relationship between the individual and his god and the Federal government had no business intervening in between this relationship. This country was established with a history of people fleeing theocracies in Europe for religious freedom dating back to the Pilgrims in 1620. Once the state adopts a religion, the government becomes a theocracy and not a democracy.

Thomas Jefferson was not only our third president, he was a member of the Virgina state legislature, the governor of the State of Virginia, the Secretary of State under President Washington, founder of the modern Democratic National political Party, and founder of the University of Virginia among others. He was also the prime drafter of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Jefferson also believed in states rights and the power of the government should be centralized with the states and argued about the appropriate strength of the federal government. He would roll over in his grave if he knew he was now being termed somehow liberal when he was completely opposite. How do you reconcile these when you remove him from American history?

Under the First Amendment, it guarantees these freedoms to every American citizen: speech, press, and religion. However, I believe these are not just rights they are responsibilities.

One thing I was always taught is history is always written by the victors. If the Axis powers had been victorious in World War II, we would have a completely different history. The First Amendment is designed to be sure all people are given all of the facts and points of view to make their own decision. The Freedom to get that information should never be infringed. I always support teaching doctines which give all of the historical facts even the inhumane events and policies to all people and let them choose what to believe.

When a state government institution such as a School Board passes a directive limiting the free flow of original ideas based on an agenda, they are blocking free speech. When the state omits factual events and influential people of history from being mentioned in print, they are violating freedom of press. This is censorship when you omit certain people, events, and places because they are contrary to you agenda. When the state promotes religious teachings injecting them into the public school system violates freedom of religion. In effect, they are imposing religion onto young people this way, they are invading the personal and private choice of am individual's own practice of religion. This is central to what this specific agenda is designed to do for the country because of the perceived agenda from the other end of the spectrum. This is also contrary to the establishment of the principals of a School Board in the first place.

If Cindy Dunbar says she is a strict Constitutionalist, she is not well informed. When the Constitution was adopted, as a woman she had no right to vote, work, publish or talk of her opinions, and was chattel, property of her husband. African Americans were still slaves and counted only as 3/5 of a person.

I have always had a problem with the hyprocracy of people who claim to be strict interpreters of the Constitution and then advocate for some of the most sweeping acts of activism by the Supreme Court. They also do not realize the Constitution was also written to be a living document which needs to change as the country's needs change. They claim judicial activism is "legislating from the bench". The rights they enjoy today are from certain Supreme Court rulings which were part of "judicial activism" from the other end of the spectrum such as establishing separation of church and state as law.

Strict interpreters don't realize certain institutions of our government would not exist such as the Federal Reserve, Postal Service, the creation of the Air Force as part of the national defense, or the establishment of other American doctrines such as judicial review, due process, and the miranda rights to name a few.

ReplySendWatch

Powered by XP Experience Server.
Copyright ©1999-2021 XP.COM, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS