How The Texas Textbook Standards Got Corrupted

People For The American Way have an analysis of the process by which Texas’s textbook standards became tools for rewriting history according to a contemporary right wing religious political viewpoint.  Here are just a few glimpses of the changes, both those merely proposed and those actually accepted by the school board, which I had not heard much about prior:

One goal of the board’s far-right faction was the whitewashing of Joseph McCarthy, so they required the teaching of historical material that they believe (wrongly) shows he was vindicated.  The board dropped labor and civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta; and took out Ted Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court. References to the slave trade were replaced with “triangular trade.”  Right-wing advisors to the board wanted them to drop Thurgood Marshall, the historic civil rights lawyer and Supreme Court justice, but Marshall made the cut.

The board also turned the teaching of religious liberty and the First Amendment on its head.  It rejected an amendment about the importance of the founders’ decision to include the First Amendment to prevent the government from favoring one religion over another.  Instead, board members included language to require textbooks to “compare and contrast”the language of the First Amendment with the concept of separation of church and state.

The board changed language regarding the study of civil rights movements, like women’s suffrage and the African American civil rights movement.  Board members voted to focus not on the decades of strategic thinking and organizing that went into building support for democratic change but on the majority which ultimately bestowed those rights.

Via Joe.My.God.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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