Texas SBOE: Experts? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Experts.

Texas SBOE: Experts? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Experts. November 20, 2015

dunce.cap.06From the Department of Totally Unsurprising News: The Texas State Board of Education voted down a proposal by one of its members that would have established panels of experts from universities in the state to review the accuracy of textbooks in their specialty areas before the board votes on whether to adopt them. Because why in the world would you want knowledgeable people rather than right-wing cranks deciding what’s in the textbooks?

Members of Texas’ State Board of Education on Wednesday narrowly rejected a plan to create a group of state university professors to scour Texas schoolchildren’s textbooks for factual errors.

The vote against was 8-7, with all the board’s Republicans except two opposing the measure.

The push for more experts to be involved came after more than a year of controversy over board-sanctioned books’ coverage of global warming, descriptions of Islamic history and terrorism and handling of the Civil War and the importance of Moses and the Ten Commandments to the Founding Fathers.

A tipping point to add more fact checking may have come last month. A suburban Houston mom’s alert that a newly approved geography text described African slaves forcibly brought to North America as “workers” set off a national furor…

“I know that people are concerned about pointy headed liberals in the ivory tower making our process … worse,” he said. “Why wouldn’t we reach out to them and say let’s make sure these books are as factually accurate as possible?”

Because that would impede the ability of the right-wingers on the board to get lies put into the textbooks, obviously. Reminds me of Don McLeroy, the staggeringly ignorant dentist who used to chair that board, saying during a meeting, “Someone has to stand up to the experts!”

The way we govern our schools in this country is absolutely asinine. No one in their right mind would suggest that textbooks for medical school be written or approved by anyone other than medical professionals, yet we somehow think that decisions on school curricula should be made by whatever random yahoos can get elected by a few hundred local yokels who don’t know shit about shit. I would be willing to bet that if you had school boards across the country take the final exams in almost any of the courses offered in the schools they govern, a very small percentage could even pass them, much less demonstrate a solid understanding of the subjects.

History curricula and textbooks should be determined by historians, chemistry by chemists, math by mathematicians, and so forth. It boggles my mind that anyone could possibly disagree with that.

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