Sunday, March 14, 2010

Education, Texas Style

I've written fiction -- but I wouldn't dare make up stuff like this.

According to the New York Times (3/11/10, page A18, and a follow-up article on 3/13/10), conservatives on the Texas board of education are re-writing the social services curriculum in a manner more to their liking.

Ralph Nader -- and presumably therefore the entire automobile safety and consumer protection movement that he initiated -- out! Never happened. Those doggone corporations -- icons of the free enterprise system that don't need any regulation -- would never build a vehicle they knew was unsafe -- would they?

Phyllis Schlafly -- vigorous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, who once described the United Nations as "a monument to foolish hopes, embarrassing compromises, betrayal of our servicemen, and a steady stream of insults to our nation" -- in!

Martin Luther King Jr. -- apparently he can stay. But references to race when describing how different groups have contributed to the national identity will be forbidden, so presumably the textbooks will not be allowed to say he was African-American. And General Stonewall Jackson will be included as a "role model for effective leadership." Yes, these conservatives have a dream!

A majority of the 15-member board of education wants to "highlight what they see as the Christian roots of the Constitution" -- you know, the document that refers to religion only twice: once in the First Amendment, establishing what has come to be known as the separation of church and state, and once in Article VI, stating that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any public office or public trust under the United States."

Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies -- when they're not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they're all "in."

Since Texas buys a lot of textbooks, this modified curriculum may in fact impact the education of most or all public school students in the entire country.

Well, majority rules. I wonder if they'll tackle the math curriculum next. If they do, will 3 plus 4 be redefined to equal 6?

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