Texans re-writing history 202 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 9 years ago

The Texas State Board of Education is meeting over of what kind of material they would like to see in their next shipment of textbooks. There has been a long drive by certain groups in the state, particularly those among the "religious right", who are seeking to re-write history to further their political views.

The first shot fired by these groups was the sacking of the head of the science branch of the Texas Education Agency, Christine Comer, in 2007, for mentioning in an email a presentation that (rightfully) criticized Intelligent Design as being a front for creationist propaganda. The state at the time said the firing was for "repeated" misconduct.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/us/30resign.html?_r=1 http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/education/stories/121307dnmetevolution.2af0951.html

Comer, and many others, argued that her firing was politically motivated. Many newspapers from across the country blasted the move, and Comer received the support of almost 100 Biology professors from the major universities in Texas. Comer also says that she received many emails from teachers who have been bullied into not teaching the evolution theory in biology classes in secondary schools.

Governor Perry also appointed Don McLeroy, a dentist with no teaching experience, to head the State Board of Education the same year. McLeroy, unsurprisingly, is a young earth creationist. His reappointment was blocked by the legislature, but he was replaced by another creationist, Gail Lowe. (Perry also had the choice of a much worser Cynthia Dunbar, an unabashedly anti-intellectual).

The groups then advanced their agenda the following months during the heated battle in the 81st session of the Texas legislature, held on Jan. 11 - June 1. (Texas legislature meets every other year), arguing for the inclusion of intelligent design in school science textbooks.

The only bill that got to the top was a measure that would force biology classes in Texas to point out the weaknesses of evolution and natural selection, and raise other concepts, mainly intelligent design. This move was defeated, but an amendment that was worded slightly differently did pass- to discuss the weaknesses of evolution, which critics charged was a 'foot in the door' to eventually introduce intelligent design in science courses.

With the state legislature closed until 2011, the efforts of this group then joined with TEA Party members and went to the social sciences. Texas's standing Board of Education, which is formed by the governor, has the power to decide what are in school textbooks. The social studies discussion started at a small committee specifically for social studies. Once this committee comes up with a draft of what they want in their social studies textbooks, it'll be advanced to the state board of education for a vote.

It is important to note that two of the six members of the social studies committee are not full-time teachers, rather members of special interest groups seeking historical revisionism- Wallbuilders (a group seeking to remove criticism of American practices and highlight the religious roots of America as well as modern conservative politicians) and Peter Marshall Ministries (as one can tell by the name, a group seeking to highlight religious moral values in history).

Some measures being advocated by the committee include (and not limited to) these. I am currently taking these from some selections of this site, which blogged from the past hearing of the social studies debate at the Texas State Board of Education

http://tfninsider.org/2010/01/13/live-blogging-the-social-studies-hearing/ http://tfninsider.org/2010/01/13/live-blogging-the-social-studies-hearing-ii/ http://tfninsider.org/2010/01/14/live-blogging-social-studies-standards-debate/ http://tfninsider.org/2010/01/14/live-blogging-the-social-studies-debate-ii/ http://tfninsider.org/2010/01/15/live-blogging-the-social-studies-debate-iii/

The writers here report that some of the testifiers were ignored, primarily Latinos. They had traveled from across the state to appear and were snubbed.

General Teaching -An attempt to have Aesop’s fables's to be removed from First Grade curricula. I'm not sure what this suggestion is over. Maybe the fables promote socialism or something :rolleyes: -Removal of words like "justice" and "equality" from the characteristics of a good citizen -A proposal for a "World Cultures" class focuses on Christianity and Judaism, with a passing reference to Islam. Other religions aren't mentioned.

History (this will impact textbooks) Spoiler tagged because it's too long

Spoiler: Show
-Remove criticism of Columbus -Downplay the negative aspects of American history in textbooks for all ages- this means labor disputes, Native Americans, slavery, jim crow, America in the Philippines, etc. One "expert" questioned about this was asked whether he thinks they should remove teaching of the holocaust if he wants to downplay "bad" things, and dodges the question. -Removal of "liberal" and "socialistic" influences in the current textbooks. The site points out their reporter at the hearing said that the "experts" pushing for this did not give any examples as to where they saw this. -Attempts to emphasize the role of religion (and not enlightenment ideals) in the US's founding. Also downplay the role of the division of church and state. -Again emphasize the Judeo-Christian influences on the US's founding. Removal of things encouraging multiculturalism. Man points out that “The name of our country is the United States of America, not the Diverse States of America.” -Experts giving examples of how groups like Latinos and African-Americans have contributed to the US's history are ignored. -Racial discrimination leading up to the 1960s to be downplayed. "Expert" argues the problems under "godless communism" were even worse and those should be mentioned. -Removal of teaching of figures like Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez for being "socialist" -Addition of four military chaplains to a list of "heroes" on a third-grade textbook. They join an increasingly long list of "heroes" being suggested from the religious right groups. -Religious groups attempt to remove the current texts which state that European colonization of the Americas had economic motivations. -Removal of Margaret Sanger (early birth control advocate) from history books -A suggestion to remove sections covering the Red Scare -One board member suggests that McCarthy was in fact innocent and was doing good things for the country. Argues the history book shouldn't talk about the bad aspects of McCarthyism, and say it was perfectly justified and not motivated by any personal opportunism from McCarthy. Board accepts -The textbook should learn even more about Reagan's succesess in office and the benefits of Reaganomics. Unsurprisingly no mention is made of the deficit during Reagan's time. -Changing of American "imperialism" to "expansionism" -Removal of suggestions that propaganda aided US's decision into WW I -References to Clarence Darrow and Marcus Garvey removed -TEA expert offers addition that government regulation and taxation is bad for the economy. Is this staying in education, or ideological dogma? -One member says the Klondike Gold Rush should have more mention. When asked by another member if he knew when this happened, he didn't know. Motion is defeated (This took place in Alaska, home of Sarah Palin, so TEA wants it in) -Board passes a suggestion to emphasize more the "Conservative resurgence" of the 1980s and 1990s, and add more attention to figures like Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association, because of the "leftist propaganda" that permeates these eras currently. -Discussion of how the government has infringed on fifth amendment property rights through the EPA. -Addition of a standard: “Evaluate Constitutional ‘change’ in terms of strict constructionalism versus judicial interpretation.” More ideological hogwash -Further addition of notable figures such as Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley, and Jeane Kirkpatrick. One member argues that if those are going to be included, the Kennedy family should have something in there to. Unsurprisingly the board doesn't take that. Again, ideological influence. -Member suggests the section on cultural discussion to remove hip-hop and replace it with country. Another member supports this arguing that hip-hop is "gangsta-rap". An argument that similar objections was raised about Rock in earlier days is ignored.

A line from one of the "experts" stating his views earlier

"The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation. But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan--he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.""

Some measures weren't passed because of how blatantly biased they were, leading some of the religious right and TEA activists to have the chair of the board to skirt regulations and vote (as per Texas law, she can't).

Others have pointed out that there was a clear ideological bias on behalf of the religious right groups and TEA activists, who had not read any of the proposed drafts and instead came in with their own proposals. Many times no evidence was offered in the cases where it involved modifying existing passages.

The debate over this blatant revisionism was met by criticism by some members and caused the final vote to be delayed until May. However, the disturbing amount of amendments to the draft show there would be some willingness to put all that onto the final draft.

Now how does this affect the rest of the United States? In the actual teaching components, not much, but in the textbooks, a lot. The state of Texas is the largest customer for textbook publishers, right behind California. This means that many of the textbooks out there are catered to what the Texas State Board of Education approves of, so these new textbooks could find their way to any classroom in the country.

The US could potentially land right up there for notorious historical revisionism, with Russia's ongoing white-washing of Stalin, Japan's downplaying of its imperialist era and WW II, and China's reworking of its early history to favor the Chinese Communist Party.

Other relevant articles http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/09/right_wing_ideologue_experts_weigh_in_on_texas_standards_hearing_tomorrow.php http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/the_rehabilitation_of_joseph_mccarthy_texas_textbo.php http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/1893524.html




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#2 9 years ago

Wow. I cannot believe how stupid people are, I mean maybe you can make the USoA look good for the Elementary school, but by Middle School or Junior High you should be able to admit your faults

-One board member suggests that McCarthy was in fact innocent and was doing good things for the country. Argues the history book shouldn't talk about the bad aspects of McCarthyism, and say it was perfectly justified and not motivated by any personal opportunism from McCarthy. Board accepts

Are you fucking kidding me? How many people went through a McCarthy trial and actually didn't have there lives ruined? The logic usually went in the form of Prosecutor A asks Defendant X if he or she is a Communist-If Defendant X says yes he or she is a Communist and is sent to jail for Conspiracy as well as black listed from getting a job or -if Defendant X says he or she isn't a Communist, he or she is lying and gets sent to jail for conspiracy and blacklisted in the job market.

If it wasn't for personal gain, then say it was because he was a complete paranoid retard, but even that is hard to say because of his supposed list of 200 Communist members which was just a dry cleaning receipt and the fact that he was famous for being a WWII veteran, when he never was, obvious propaganda to say he's true American.

-Again emphasize the Judeo-Christian influences on the US's founding. Removal of things encouraging multiculturalism. Man points out that “The name of our country is the United States of America, not the Diverse States of America.”

.......Yah totally, but hardly any of the population can trace there heritage back to the original British colonies, most can trace it back to Ireland and Germany. Have they already left out the parts where alot of the Founding Fathers were Atheist and some considered it evil? Or about the part where they said this nation is in no way a Christian nation.

-Changing of American "imperialism" to "expansionism"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA its the same shit, Europe see's Africa and all its resources, takes it over and uses the land, same thing in America, except we wanted "from shining sea to shining sea" as motivation to Imperialize. Don't hide your dirty secrets.

-Member suggests the section on cultural discussion to remove hip-hop and replace it with country. Another member supports this arguing that hip-hop is "gangsta-rap". An argument that similar objections was raised about Rock in earlier days is ignored.

Wtf? Since when was Hip-Hop gangsta rap? It wasn't like that at the beginning, it rose during the 70's, it wasn't until the 80's until Gangster rap hit the scene, and even then it wasn't anything that controversial mostly "life is hard, I'm poor and the bad guys live the good life" Gangsta rap wasn't even considered profitable at the time, it wasn't until the N.W.A hit the scene in the late 80's and early 90's when the Gangster rap started to take over, when they dissolved after there leader died of AIDS they already left there mark, since by the early 90's artist like Mobb Deep, Tupac and Nas hit the scene.

-Removal of suggestions that propaganda aided US's decision into WW I

That was probably the most intense hatred of anyone America has ever experience due to propaganda.

-Experts giving examples of how groups like Latinos and African-Americans have contributed to the US's history are ignored.

:rolleyes:




Octovon

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#3 9 years ago

Wow, it still amazes me that things of this perverse nature continue to occur. How can such close-minded people acquire such positions and continue to influence these sorts of decisions? its more pathetic than anything, they can't convince people through rational argument and thus decide to attempt to brainwash future generations. These people who wish to re-write history, removing the "less-desirable" aspects or change them to something better fitting their own views are no better than the totalitarian states they deride. What's next a good old fashioned book-burning?




Destroyer25

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#4 9 years ago

A lot of American school material is bullshit. I remember in grade 9, a guy from Virginia moved here. He told me that the teachers told them that the US won the war of 1812, won Vietnam, and beated Germany single handedly in WW1 and WW2.




IrationalFear

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#5 9 years ago

I don't need neg-rep just because I state my opinions (rediculous or not), especially in a forum section designed for it.

Frankly, as long as these [abominable] revisions are exclusive to Texas, then let them stay in the clouds. But, since this is probably not the case, may I ask why these revisions are being proposed in the first place?

Somebody get a time machine. . .




Junk angel

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#6 9 years ago

Whoa reminds me of commie era history books to be honest. While none of what was written in them was really wrong, it usually had a lot ommited and some parts stressed.

The same goes for literature very often, hardly mentioning the underground or non-commie authors of the past.




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#7 9 years ago

Octovon;5212452Wow, it still amazes me that things of this perverse nature continue to occur. How can such close-minded people acquire such positions and continue to influence these sorts of decisions? its more pathetic than anything, they can't convince people through rational argument and thus decide to attempt to brainwash future generations. These people who wish to re-write history, removing the "less-desirable" aspects or change them to something better fitting their own views are no better than the totalitarian states they deride. What's next a good old fashioned book-burning?[/QUOTE]

I know right? Its ironic that these same people didn't want there children to listen to Obama's message saying "do good in school" to them so he can't "recruit them into his socialist agenda" when there recruiting there children to a Conservative agenda.

[QUOTE=Destroyer25;5212453]A lot of American school material is bullshit. I remember in grade 9, a guy from Virginia moved here. He told me that the teachers told them that the US won the war of 1812, won Vietnam, and beated Germany single handedly in WW1 and WW2.

It depends on the state, frankly each other sides textbooks try to say that they did a very important role in history, so I assume it must be the same case for Britain and Canada. In WWI, in a way America kinda did, with the Germans who regained there momentum they had at the beginning and got within miles of Paris, and with France and Britain on the edge of Starvation due to U-Boats devastating shipping, the Allies weren't doing too well, then the Americans came in and zerg rushed the Germans back to where to the same trenches they were in for the past 4 years, and no, I did a project on it and I got the info from online resources, not textbooks.

As for the War Of 1812, officially it was a tie, but American textbooks like to think that only good things came out of the war, like the economy became more self-sufficient and Native American resistance fell.




evildude

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#8 9 years ago

Hm, What ever happened to the idea of letting kids make up there own minds about things?




NiteStryker

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#9 9 years ago

History is written by the victors. But edited by Texas. Gotcha.

This type of thing is really dangerous. You re-write history and teach it wrong, you get people screwed up.

Really dont care for Texas anyhow.




eezstreet

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#10 9 years ago

The problem is Texas's education as a whole. Hell, look at the Pub thread just posted recently that was also in Texas.

http://forums.filefront.com/pub/415738-4-year-old-boy-suspended-school-months-because-his-hair-too-long.html