Conservative Christians win – children lose: In a deplorable development the Texas Education Board votes to keep Moses with the founding fathers in statewide social studies curriculum.
Despite recommendations from experts, the GOP controlled Texas State Board of Education voted to continue to use public schools to teach students the patently false notion that Moses influenced the U.S. Constitution and that the Old Testament is the root of democracy.
Currently Texas teaching standards allow for teaching public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and that the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.
Earlier this week the Texas State Board of Education had a chance to remedy this grave injustice. Instead, they voted to keep Moses in the social studies curriculum, voted to keep teaching students that Moses was a major influence on the Constitution and that the roots of our nation’s legal and political systems are found in the Bible.
The Dallas Morning News reports the board voted 12-2 to keep Moses in the U.S. government curriculum. In addition the board voted “to keep Hillary Clinton, Helen Keller and several other historical figures in the Texas curriculum.”
Associated Press reports:
Political lessons referencing Moses have been in Texas curriculums since 2010. A panel of experts had proposed cutting those but the board voted … to preserve them.
Writing for The Houston Chronicle, Alejandra Matos notes that the vast majority of academic experts had rejected the conservative Christian plot to include Moses as an influence on the founding fathers:
The advisory group recommended removing references to Moses as an individual whose principles of laws and government informed America’s founding. The advisory group wrote that Moses “is too removed from time period the U.S. constitution was authored and beyond time scope.”
Several historians and teachers also urged the board to heed that recommendation, noting there is little to no proof that Moses’ principles influenced America’s founding documents.
Board member Pat Hardy, a Republican from Fort Worth, tried to justify the vote by claiming:
In the United States, the most common book in any household in this time period was in fact the Bible and people who didn’t necessarily believe in religion as such…still had a great knowledge of the Bible. In referencing Moses in the time period, they would have known who Moses was and that Moses was the law-giver.
However, Democrats on the board insisted that keeping Moses in the curriculum was historically inaccurate and that members should follow the recommendation of experts to strike Moses from the curriculum. Board member Ruben Cortez, a Democrat from Brownsville, said:
Maybe he was a law-giver, but that doesn’t mean he influenced our Founding Fathers,. That doesn’t mean we can make a giant leap that someone from an entirely different continent centuries ago…was somehow responsible for drafting…these founding documents.
In essence, Texas public school students will be taught the false notion that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and that the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.
In effect, Texas teachers will be forced to promote a false historical narrative in service to the conservative Christian agenda.
Bottom line: In a disappointing defeat for historical accuracy the Texas Education Board votes to keep Moses with the founding fathers, promoting conservative Christian propaganda and rejecting historical truth.
Children in Texas deserve better; children deserve the truth.