Social studies curricula climb the scaffold to the gallows set by the “conservative” majority of the Texas State Board of Education today. If they get their way — and signs are they will — they will hobble social studies education for at least a half generation.
As The Dallas Morning News explains this morning, lame-duck board members fully intend to change Texas and American culture with their rewriting of history, de-emphasis of traditional history education, and insertion of what they consider pro-patriotic ideas in social studies.
AUSTIN – When social conservatives on the State Board of Education put the final touches on social studies curriculum standards this week, it will be a significant victory in their years-long push to imprint their beliefs upon what Texas students learn.
We in the part-time blogosphere can’t cover the meeting as it deserves — nor have we been able to mobilize pro-education forces to do what was needed to stop the board — yet.
McLeroy will make the most of his remaining time on the panel. He proposed several additions to the social studies standards for the board to consider this week. One would require students to “contrast” the legal doctrine of separation of church and state with the actual wording in the Bill of Rights that bars a state-established religion.
McLeroy has resurrected the old Cleon Skousen/David Barton/White Supremecist argument that “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution, disregarding what the document and its amendments actually say. Jefferson warned that such discussions poison children’s education, coming prematurely as this one would be as McLeroy wants it.
Watch that space. Tony Whitson at Curricublog will cover it well, and probably timely — read his stuff. Steve Shafersman’s work will be informative. The Texas Tribune offered great coverage in the past. Stay tuned. And the Texas Freedom Network carries the flag and works hard to recruit the troops and keep up morale.
People for the American Way and the American Civil Liberties Union have already chimed in.
It is discouraging. Under current history standards, Texas kids should know the phrase “shot heard ’round the world,” but they do not get exposure to the poem from which the phrase comes, nor to the poet (Emerson), nor exposure to Paul Revere whose ride inspired Longfellow later to write a poem that children have read ever since — except in Texas.
But under the new standards, Texas children will learn who Phyllis Schlafly is. Patriots are out; hypocrites and demagogues are in.