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Texas Revises Curriculum


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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html?scp=1&sq=Texas%20Approves%20Curriculum%20Revised%20by%20Conservatives&st=cse

 

Quite recently, the Texas Board of Education passed a slew of new amendments that would ultimately alter the content of the information presented in the Social Studies/History textbooks. From what the article says, the mostly-Conservative Board decided to include additional information about religion's impact on America's founding, and how it has affected our laws and leaders.

 

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

 

...

 

There are seven members of the conservative bloc on the board, but they are often joined by one of the other three Republicans on crucial votes. There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics.

 

The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

 

I find this action quite appalling, considering that these board members are trying to alter history in order to fit their notion of the world (not that it hasn't been done before, that is to say). The mind of a child is not something to be trifled with; though, they seem to be doing it with relative comfort.

 

What are your all opinions of this?

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This is one of the many reasons why public education standards should be federalized, and it's not just due to a evolution-creationism fiasco; Texas' standards are appalling comparing to the rest of the US, which is even more appalling considering the failure that is every other states' educational systems.

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I really hate how many religious conservatives seem to think that religion is part of being right wing. I myself vary from left to right depending on the issue, but many of my secular conservative friends feel that the religious right is trying to hijack and twist their beliefs. I think that the US's two party system is fundamentally flawed, but there's very little that can be done about it.

 

Edit: Though the people in the article are taking it too far, IMO, it should be at least mentioned that religious beliefs had some impact on the Revolution, as did philosophies of the Enlightenment. I was just a bit annoyed that the school board used "left wing" when they meant secular, and "right wing" when they meant religious.

Edited by Liverandbacon
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The Revolution didn't occur in a philosophical bubble. I think it's stupid to suggest that their religious beliefs didn't impact their actions. Frankly, it was a combination of secular and religious influences that drove the Founders. It was neither completely secular nor completly religious.

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A few gems taken from the article:

Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement

There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings
Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

 

It was defeated on a party-line vote.

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

What is going on with this? Science textbooks don't have guidelines set by farmers, dentists, and butchers, so why do history textbooks? How are children supposed to learn from the past if it's censored? The federal government needs to step in, this is absolutely ridiculous.

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There have been a number of events in the US that had a religious basis, and while I think it needs to be worded very carefully, ignoring the effects of religion on US history is foolish. Why did the Puritans ride the Mayflower over? For religious freedom. Why in part did the Revolution happen? So we were free of being forced to adhere to the Church of England. The Great Awakening in the 1800's had an impact on many aspects of American life, from the Abolitionist movement to temperence. Our Constitution is heavily influenced by the Founding Fathers' desire for the US to have religious freedom. To deny the impact of religion on our history is to miss a huge facet of our development, and actually puts students at a disadvantage in understanding the 'how' and 'why' of our history. Just as you cannot fully understand Middle Eastern history without having a basic understanding of Islam and its influence on the culture, or Judaism's influence on Israeli history or Hinduism's influence on Indian history, Western Europe and the US is profoundly influenced by Christianity. One can study Christianity's influence on things like the Abolition movement without being forced to worship a specific religion or deity. Stating that the US came to being without mentioning desire for freedom of religion is doing students a disservice.

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There have been a number of events in the US that had a religious basis, and while I think it needs to be worded very carefully, ignoring the effects of religion on US history is foolish. Why did the Puritans ride the Mayflower over? For religious freedom. Why in part did the Revolution happen? So we were free of being forced to adhere to the Church of England. The Great Awakening in the 1800's had an impact on many aspects of American life, from the Abolitionist movement to temperence. Our Constitution is heavily influenced by the Founding Fathers' desire for the US to have religious freedom. To deny the impact of religion on our history is to miss a huge facet of our development, and actually puts students at a disadvantage in understanding the 'how' and 'why' of our history. Just as you cannot fully understand Middle Eastern history without having a basic understanding of Islam and its influence on the culture, or Judaism's influence on Israeli history or Hinduism's influence on Indian history, Western Europe and the US is profoundly influenced by Christianity. One can study Christianity's influence on things like the Abolition movement without being forced to worship a specific religion or deity. Stating that the US came to being without mentioning desire for freedom of religion is doing students a disservice.

 

Nobody denies ANY of these things happen. Texas only changed the curriculum because it didn't focus on the Christianity and some of our Founding Fathers had ideas they didn't like. All the things you mention are already in Texas schoolbooks. But now Thomas Jefferson isn't because he suggested that Church and State should be separate.

 

People like these don't deserve to live in the United States. They **** on all the values we've tried to establish and protect for over 200 years. They'd praise Al Queda if they happened to be Christian instead of Muslim.

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All the things you mention are already in Texas schoolbooks.

And do to the size and number of students/schools in Texas, Texas requirements force Textbook publishers to include this information in their Textbooks and that means what is in Texas Textbooks make its way into the rest of the nations Textbooks. I could actually disregard this stupidity not for that fact. If my home state is dumb enough to elect zealous to decide what is taught to their children, it is their right to have stupid children, but these zealous should not have the right to influence what is in Textbooks outside of Texas.

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Do you honestly think the curriculum wasn't presenting an unbalanced treatment of your history already?

 

All governments - local or national - edit history curricula to their own advantage. Or attempt to.

 

Sorry.

True, it would not be that bad if it were only history they been doing this to.
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Do you honestly think the curriculum wasn't presenting an unbalanced treatment of your history already?

 

All governments - local or national - edit history curricula to their own advantage. Or attempt to.

 

Sorry.

 

Textbooks are not rewritten yearly on who won the Civil War, what the reasons for the Revolution were, or who our most important Founding Fathers are. You don't remove Thomas Jefferson because you're a Republican!

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Textbooks are not rewritten yearly on who won the Civil War, what the reasons for the Revolution were, or who our most important Founding Fathers are. You don't remove Thomas Jefferson because you're a Republican!

I think the point was that the history curriculum is probably skewed in favour of showing how wonderful the United States is.

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I think the point was that the history curriculum is probably skewed in favour of showing how wonderful the United States is.

 

Which I'm pretty sure is both irrelevant to the subject matter since it is a US history textbook, and pretty much the same thing every other nation does.

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You don't remove Thomas Jefferson because you're a Republican!

 

Yea, removing Thomas Jefferson is pretty stupid. Frankly, it's also pretty stupid to write about the Civil War the way textbooks present it, but that's a different issue. :lol:

 

Putting more about religion's impact on history = Good, for all the reasons Jae listed

Removing certain important people because they said things some people don't like = Terrible

 

So--good in one way, bad in another. That's all I can say.

Edited by Endorenna
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So, they're rewriting history just to teach kids about religion and how state and church should be together? This just makes me believe more and more that religion should be banned. It's done more harm than good. I also think the school board members would freak out if they learned that some of the Founding Fathers were deists.

 

You know what, I'm tired of advocating talking to these people.

 

Kill them all.

 

People like these don't deserve to live in the United States. They **** on all the values we've tried to establish and protect for over 200 years. They'd praise Al Queda if they happened to be Christian instead of Muslim.

 

Ditto on both of the above. I'm sick of religious jackasses who can't seem to realize religion isn't everything, and may not even be right. Someone remind me never to go to Texas, as I happen to be an agnostic. :¬:

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Textbooks are not rewritten yearly on who won the Civil War, what the reasons for the Revolution were, or who our most important Founding Fathers are. You don't remove Thomas Jefferson because you're a Republican!

:yodac:

New editions of textbooks are written all the time, including in the history field. I've bought enough of them to know.

 

I re-read this article to see just what was being proposed.

 

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

Well, Reagan and Bush 1 were conservatives--that's historical fact and should be acknowledged. If it's not, I have a problem with that textbook. The Moral Majority and the Contract with American had definite effects on our political and economic history, and that can't be swept under the rug.

Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

Malcolm X is a huge figure in civil rights history, and should be acknowledged as well. His violent methods did have an impact on the movement, like it or not. I have no problems with Republicans being mentioned as supporting the civil rights legislation. If they had not, non-whites would still be disenfranchised--LBJ needed every single vote he could get to get the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts passed. Why the NYTimes thinks this is a negative thing is beyond me.

 

Mr. Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.
If by 'unintended consequences' they refer to welfare fraud, sure. I've seen enough fraud in the welfare and Medicaid system to be severely ticked off about people driving up in new cars, professionally manicured nails, and expensive jewelry and then whipping out their Medicaid cards to pay for their exams. As for Germans and Italians being interned--sure. It shows what war did to us. We don't lock up Americans of Iraqi descent just because of their nationality precisely because of what we learned in WWII. I'm not sure why NYTimes thinks this is 'bad'.

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied
Why in the world would anyone find it objectionable to include Friedman, who won a Nobel prize in economics and who was one of the biggest influences on economic theory in the US for decades? Is there some compelling reason why students should NOT be learning about these men?

 

In the field of sociology, another conservative member, Barbara Cargill, won passage of an amendment requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.

Well, God forbid we actually teach about personal responsibility for things like drug use and dating violence, because we all know that society forces the pills into our mouths, the needles into our arms, and people to beat the snot out of each other. Nope, learning to control your own behavior and be responsible for your own actions must be just awful. I believe I'll exercise my personal responsibility in calling the writer of this article biased in the extreme, and idiotic on top of it.

 

As for cutting Jefferson from the curriculum--the writer is very careful here to say Dunbar cut it from her list, but didn't specify if the entire panel agreed to this or not. However, he writes it in a way that makes the reader think that at first blush the panel passed this as an amendment. I believe that particular paragraph, and the parenthetical judgment by the writer, was put there simply to be inflammatory.

 

This is not a news article, it's an op-ed essay pretending to be a news article. I would recommend looking at the original meeting minutes instead of McKinley's very opinionated review of the meeting. I'm sure it'll be far more enlightening.

Edited by Jae Onasi
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I'm with Web. These people need to die.

 

And, is this really how far Texas is down the dump? I learned about Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Reagan, Bush, the religious influence's of many different religions on this country, our internment of people within the US during history, and so on multiple times in multiple history classes.

 

Nearly everything right they are trying to correct with this stuff has been in California curriculum for years. Nearly everything wrong with this just goes to further show how big'a scumbags these board members are and how backwards that state's education is. Sorry to be a little partisan here, but those Republicans can go **** themselves.

 

Seriously, denying Separation of Church and state? Trying to put more Christianity into the schools? Removing founding fathers? Putting emphasis on Republican contributions?

 

You know, no offense to Evil Q, but I usually take the whole "the schools are trying to brainwash us!" spiel with an ocean of salt but, in this case, I have to completely agree. This is just a blatant attempt to lean kids with manipulated and false information.

 

This is just disgusting if any of this is true.

 

I'd say there's at least an equal chance that this article is as skewed as its subjects.

Someone please find a less opinionated article so I can figure out exactly wtf is going on with Texas.

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This just makes me believe more and more that religion should be banned. It's done more harm than good. I also think the school board members would freak out if they learned that some of the Founding Fathers were deists.

 

Yea, 'cuz obviously, having a percentage of the people in America believe that there is absolute truth, set morals, and God is horrible. Getting rid of that will cut down on crime and make everyone's lives better. :rolleyes:

 

Yes, some of the Founding Fathers were deists. The reason they could be deists was because religious freedom was clearly outlined as a fundamental right in the first amendment. In fact, the reason you can be an agnostic is because of religious freedom. If the Founding Fathers hadn't put religious freedom in the Constitution, you'd be having to follow a state religion right now or be persecuted for your beliefs.

 

Banning religion means that atheism will be a state religion and everyone who believes otherwise will be persecuted.

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• Struck the word "democratic" in references to the form of U.S. government and replaced it with "constitutional republic."
While I suppose that the latter term would be more appropriate in the context of classifying a government, and is also a tad more specific, both are inherently interchangeable, which brings me to rule that it is definitely biased against the Democratic Party.

 

• Rejected lessons about why the United States was founded on the principle of religious freedom.
Rather vague, but that's irrelevant; this completely eschews the deistic nature of a good deal of the framers, and presents a rather distorted view of the Constitution. Furthermore, why should freedom of religion imply secularism? Even the Charter of Medina guaranteed religious and governmental autonomy for non-Muslims living within the caliphate, and that was in practice for 1000+ years.

 

• Removed most references to "capitalism," "capitalist" and "free market," because conservatives said they had a "negative connotation." Instead, "free enterprise" will be used when referring to the U.S. economic system.
I can somewhat agree with this notion, as the term "capitalism" has become as nearly as derogatory as "socialism", or at least in the US. Still, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't call it by what it really is. Edited by jrrtoken
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Banning religion means that atheism will be a state religion and everyone who believes otherwise will be persecuted.

 

I worded it that way due to lack of a better term. I don't think religion should be practiced publically, or beliefs should be known, because you have some Christians who just go, "Convert or burn in Hell," and then there's the Christian extremists. I'm for freedom of religion, but I don't think it should be a public thing. I know, I know, the chances of that working are slim to none, but as I said before, religion seems to do more harm than good. Buddhism has to be one of the few religions I respect any more, just because I'm unaware of extremists from that particular religion, and to my knowledge, it's never started a religiously fueled war. It's by no mean perfect, but it works.

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Yea, 'cuz obviously, having a percentage of the people in America believe that there is absolute truth, set morals, and God is horrible.[/Quote] You can be a moral person and not believe in God, just as you can believe in God and be a immoral person. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Banning religion means that atheism will be a state religion and everyone who believes otherwise will be persecuted.
Nope. Atheism is not a religion.

 

I actually believe in the constitution and the separation of church and state. I also believe in the freedom of religion. Our founding fathers were intelligent enough to protect our beliefs, unfortunately some of us (those on the Texas Board of Education) believe the constitution protects their freedom of Religion, but still want to force their beliefs onto other.

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