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Texas Sets Right Wing Slant for High School Textbook Standards

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by underthesea

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In The News

A new high school curriculum in Social Sciences that will influence what students across the entire United States learn, and are taught as fact, has been approved today by the Texas State Board of Education. The size of the Texas school system means that textbook publishers across the country will publish books that meet whatever standards are adopted in Texas. After months of debate and national controversy over its actions, the Texas State Board of Education has passed new high school textbook standards that will recast U.S. history from a very conservative slant.
Critics of the approval say the board’s new curriculum in history, economics and civics classes is far too ideological, skewed toward a right-wing, conservative political and religious belief system in the U.S. Despite separation of church and state, the new curriculum--as set forth by Texas--focuses more on Biblical and Christian traditions in America. That right-wing perspective also emphasizes capitalism, effects of taxes and regulation, and leaders like former President Ronald Reagan and former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.
For anyone who questions existence of a right-wing slant, here's how the board meeting opened, with Republican board member Cynthia Dunbar offering an invocation. "I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia, or the charter of New England ... the same objective is present: a Christian land governed by Christian principles," she says.
The partisan board has amended or watered down the teaching of the civil rights movement, slavery, America's relationship with the U.N. and hundreds of other items. ... They dictate how political events and figures will be taught to some 4.8 million schoolchildren in Texas and beyond for the next decade.
Among other things, the standards state that students must "discuss alternatives regarding long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, given the decreasing worker to retiree ratio." Another clause says students must "describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schafly, the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association."
“The problem is they want to put an emphasis on certain people and spotlight on certain people in history who are all predominantly Anglo-Americans. We should’ve had historians and educators overseeing the curriculum requirements. Instead, these [Texas state] board members, who don’t have any more expertise than I do, have imposed their personal beliefs, their own ideological agenda, on this curriculum,” says Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Texas chapter.

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