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Texas is up to no good, again

July 16, 2009

If what’s going on in Texas with the Board of Education doesn’t worry you, it should.  After the long debate of religion’s role in the science classroom, the Board’s focus has moved on to history.  Yes, history.  Apparently there isn’t enough religion involved in the teaching of American history, so says members of a panel appoint by the BoE to examine the state’s social studies curriculum.

One of the panel’s members Rev. Peter Marshall not only believes, but preaches that Watergate, the Vietnam War and Hurricane Katrina were God’s judgments on the nation’s sexual immorality.  You know who else holds beliefs like those?  The Westboro Baptist Church.  Yep, the crazies who protested Iraq War military funerals because God is punishing America for tolerating homosexuality (and Jews, among others).

According to the WSJ, the conservative members of the panel have made the following suggestions:

  • Replace Thurgood Marshall with Harriet Tubman or Sam Houston.
  • In first grade, students are expected to study the contributions of Americans who have influenced the course of history. Rev. Peter Marshall, a reviewer, calls Thurgood Marshall — who as a lawyer arged Brown v. Board of Education and later became the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court — a weak example.

  • Delete Anne Hutchinson from a list of colonial leaders
  • Students learn about colonial history in the fifth grade, and three reviewers suggested that the standards not include Anne Hutchinson, a 17th century figure, among a list of significant leaders. Ms. Hutchinson was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for teaching religious views at odds with the officially sanctioned faith.

  • Replace references to America’s “democratic” values with “republican” values
  • Reviewer David Barton suggests swapping out “republican” for “democratic” in teaching materials. As he explains: “We don’t pledge allegiance to the flag and the democracy for which it stands.”

In case you missed that, Thurgood Marshall is a weak example of an American who changed the course of history; Anne Hutchinson (and the creation of Rhode Island, so it seems) was insigfinicant; and telling kids they have republican beliefs in no way will brain-wash them to vote for the GOP.  I really hope that the liberal voice on this panel pull through, especially as Texas often dictates the way the textbook industry behaves.

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