May 26, 2010
Well, the Texas Board of Education voted, and here are some of the more egregious results. I warn you, though. Take some Dramamine before you read this. While a few controversial changes I wrote about are now gone, a few others passed with little to no resistance.
Before I get to these, I’d just like to say that I am genuinely scared for children right now. These people have done a disservice to both the state and the concept of education. It was a conscious effort to make history… nice. Make history show something specific, not what happened, but what they wanted to show. It’s all done in the name of the greater good, but it’s hardly doing anyone any benefit. They are the people that make parents think, “Hey, home-schooling or un-schooling sound good right about now.” And while both have their merits, we shouldn’t have to really get to that point because schools fail so miserably. My boss mentioned private school for her kids’ future and, if I were in her shoes, I’d seriously consider it at this point.
When I become the god-emperor of Earth, I will make these kinds of crimes punishable by being forced to memorize pi to the hundredth digit. In three languages. While a real teacher beats you with a wiffle bat.
Wait, here’s the list of just SOME of the changes.
America is a “constitutional republic,” not a democracy.
This statement is 100% true, but here’s the problem. Board member Cynthia Dunbar stated that this was done to minimize confusion. She said she didn’t want students thinking they lived in a “pure” democracy. Oooookay… why not just have one sentence explaining the difference?
To give a little background, David Barton, an expert with a revisionist streak consulted by the board and one of the few experts they listened to, said students should learn “republican” values, not “democratic” values. He may have been speaking about the difference between a republic and a democracy, but the wording makes it clear that they want to push a political agenda.
And if you still think it’s a coincidence, they’ve even renamed “democratic societies” to “societies with a representative government.” Wow, talk about adding verbosity to an otherwise innocuous political phrase.
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Thomas Jefferson is out like a light.
Board Member Cynthia Dunbar pushed Jefferson and the Enlightenment out. The new amendment reads (section not in bold in the original): “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.”
We’re going to ignore that Jefferson is globally recognized as the author of the Constitution and the inspiration for revolutions in other parts of the world. Oh joy. The rationale, says Dunbar, is that Jefferson’s ideas were based on the writings of others, so it’s helpful to just learn that instead.
Wonderful. When discussing cooking, do we ignore the chef and talk about how the farmers grew the plants or what we fed the cow from which we took the beef? I’m getting sick here…
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Students will study the decline of the U.S. dollar and how it relates to the abandonment of the Gold Standard.
There are a lot of reasons why money changes value. Anyone else thinks this sounds like the kind of crap Beck keeps shilling on his shows? Paranoid elements in this country blame the Fed, the abandonment of the Gold Standard, and taxes for every ill, and this sounds, at least to me, like a smoke screen to talk about those paranoid theories.
America is the greatest nation on Earth and the UN are working for the Illuminati. Sort of…
Don McLeroy, dentist, added an amendment that will require students learn American exceptionalism. In other words, we are a great nation no matter what anyone says and no matter what you may learn. It’s indoctrination, because while we may be a great nation, schools are not a place to force beliefs on anyone.
Together with this, students will now learn about international efforts, like those of the UN, to subvert American sovereignty. That’s right, we get to learn about the international conspiracy to rob the US of its rights as a free nation… except that the Board didn’t actually cite examples. This is like saying that we have to learn how the government is controlling the population… but without citing specific examples.
Hey! It turns out we DID have slaves.
I wrote a few days ago how the Board tried to replace the phrase “slave trade” with “Atlantic triangular trade.” Well, the new term is the “trans-Atlantic slave trade.” That one caused WAY too much controversy even for these guys and gals.
Christians can stay. Everyone else OUT!
Board member Ken Mercer brought up the existence of Congressional chaplains, prayer in Congress, and the phrase “In God We Trust” as proof that we are a Christian nation.
Later in the debate, an amendment by Mavis Knight was defeated. The amendment would have required that students learn about the separation of church and state and why the Founders felt such a measure was necessary. Instead, Dunbar went on and on about how the Founders actually wanted to promote religion and the so-called separation actually meant that government had to stay out of religion, but religion could enter government.
Essentially, the Board now mandates that children not learn the government cannot establish or promote a particular religion.
Dunbar also pushed an amendment that required students learn “the laws of nature and nature’s God” in relation to our country’s political foundations.
If you’ve ever eaten shell-fish, I guess you’re going to get stoned to death. And Red Lobsters across the state will burn to appease God.
‘Tis the Year of our Lord, not some heathen date.
This one’s a very small change, but dates will be specified as “Anno Domini,” or “Year of Our Lord,” instead of the more religiously neutral “Common Era,” or “CE.” Dates before the first year would have been noted as “BCE,” or “Before Common Era.”
But then again, this is a Jeezus-lovin’ nation, right?
Socialism bad. Free Market good.
The board will keep the amendment that mandates capitalism be referred to as “free enterprise.” It seems they still feel, despite various academics telling them the contrary, that capitalism is a negative term.
Grab yer guns, boys!
Board Member Barbara Cargill helped pass an amendment that discussed the right to bear arms and how it relates to the First Amendment. The original version talked about the freedoms in the First Amendment as extremely important to personal freedom, but Cargill and Dunbar said this unfairly made the First Amendment look more important than the others and pushed to include the Second Amendment in that discussion.
Before I get a lot of email telling me the right to bear arms is important… I know it’s important. I’m for it.
The problem is that the original discussion focused on the importance of free expression, and the right to own guns has NO bearing on that. That’s a separate amendment.
Oddly enough, the change in the wording leaves out RELIGIOUS freedom. That’s not part of free speech, it seems.
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Regulation is a noose. Taxes kill babies.
Board Member Ken Mercer pushed an amendment that would require students to discuss how taxation and regulation hurt business. There will be no talk of how taxation and regulation can be a good thing, though.
So go play with those lead-lined toys, work in your sweat-shop, and make sure you drive down that unpaved road. Because if we have standards, the terrorists win. And they’ll rape you.
Gays? What gays?
The Board passed a motion that strikes a standard that states students must “differentiate between sex and gender as social constructs and determine how gender and socialization interact.” Mavis Knight of Dallas insisted the original standard was a way for students to learn about the changing roles of men and women.
However, Cargill argued, and I’m not exaggerating here, that she did a Google search and found the amendment would expose children to “transexuals, transvestites and who knows what else.”
Excuse me? She GOOGLED it? That’s the basis for not talking about gender roles and sexuality in an academic context?
If we’re basing school curriculum based on the internet, should we also learn about the hazard Pedobear poses to underage girls?
Chicana artist Santa Barraza is out and Tex Avery is in.
You remember Tex Avery, right? He created Bugs Bunny and several classic Warner Brothers characters. Well, in a state with a massive Hispanic population, apparently Santa Barraza has a painting that shows nudity, making her inappropriate for middle schoolers. Which painting? The Board didn’t specify. She’s out. Tex Avery is in.
Not that Tex Avery didn’t contribute to the development of animation in this country, but are we now saying that a cartoonist is more relevant to Texas than a local artist who explores ethnicity, race, and integration through art and who, in fact, had several paintings hanging in the Texas governor’s mansion?
Oh, and most of Barraza’s work depicts women. Avery? Well…
Let’s just say it’s not what you’d call an enlightened perspective. Moving on…
Amendment claiming the Civil Rights Movement created “unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes” is struck down.
However, it happened only after an intense backlash. Just to give you an idea of the kinds of people rewriting the history of minorities and civil rights, here is Don McLeroy, dentist, to explain who are the real heroes in the Civil Rights Movement:
Hip hop is still out.
McLeroy pushed to take hip hop out of talks on culture, but he was overturned. When half the board was gone for the night, however, he proposed his amendment again and it passed with the remaining Board members.
And that’s it. That’s just a taste of what kids will have to learn, the standards for teaching, for the next ten years. Despite McLeroy’s claims in the last few days, they didn’t listen to any expert who didn’t have a highly conservative agenda. They let people talk, but the Board listened to none of them. You could virtually cut the vote in half along right and left-wing politics.
I’m done with this. Unless one of the Board members turns into a werewolf and eats the others, I’m just about done with this.