Thursday, March 18, 2010

Protect our schools' textbooks  

5 comments
This whole Texas textbook debacle makes me shudder. It may sound cliche, but true change does rely heavily on our children. But how can they understand what needs to change if they are being fed B.S. in school? The entire schooling system angers the hell out of me. I wasn't taught a damn thing about feminism until twelfth grade when I had a feminist teacher for my U.S. government class, who finally explained women's suffrage in a way that I understood. Still, she was forced to teach us how to pass the AP test instead, and had to leave behind most of the truly important stuff.

Well I'll tell you: I don't remember one thing on that AP test, but I do remember her telling us how Alice Paul was sent to prison, where she went on a hunger strike and was force-fed meals through a rubber tube inserted in her throat... and all so women would be treated like human beings. Still, my eyes weren't truly opened to feminism and the importance of equality and all the social injustices that exist in this world until I went to my super liberal college. It's so upsetting to me that children are being given textbooks that glorify Christopher Columbus (and leave out his slaughtering of Native Americans), exclude the LGBTQ movement, and devote all of two pages to women's rights. And it's about to get worse! From CredoAction.com:

Led by far-right ideologues, the Texas SBOE recently gave preliminary approval to a plan that would radically change what children across the country learn in history class.

The ultra-conservative majority on the board (none of whom are experts in any academic discipline and many of whom are explicitly anti-science) took the curricula proposed by teachers and made over a hundred changes to "correct" the perceived left-wing bias.

But it gets worse. Since Texas is one of the largest textbook markets in the country, material written to cater to the Texas curricula will find its way into textbooks across the country unless textbook publishers take a stand.

We can't allow a small group of extreme ideologues on the Texas State Board of Education to re-write history.

Children who use textbooks conforming to the new standards will not learn anything about the political philosophy of Thomas Jefferson or his thoughts on the separation of church and state. When they learn about the Civil War, they'll have to study Jefferson Davis' inaugural address alongside Abraham Lincoln's. And when they study the civil rights movement they'll have to learn about the "unintended consequences" of Great Society programs, affirmative action and Title IX. Oh — and Joe McCarthy was right all along no matter what historians actually say about it.

*bangs head on desk repeatedly*

Write to the United States' largest textbook publishers and tell them this is unacceptable, please. The future of this country depends on it.

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5 comments: to “ Protect our schools' textbooks


  • March 22, 2010 at 11:34 PM  

    The people that approved this movement are downright crazy. People can not just take things that actually happened in history out of textbooks. This seems almost cult-like because of the fact that these people are taking facts out of textbooks just because they have "left-wing" tendencies. The great thoughts of Thomas Jefferson should be broadcasted to children and they should not be filled with lies such-as "What McCarthy did was right".


  • March 22, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

    The people that approved this movement are downright crazy. People can not just take things that actually happened in history out of textbooks. This seems almost cult-like because of the fact that these people are taking facts out of textbooks just because they have "left-wing" tendencies. The great thoughts of Thomas Jefferson should be broadcasted to children and they should not be filled with lies such-as "What McCarthy did was right".


  • March 23, 2010 at 9:01 AM  

    Shouldn't history textbooks contain history? Why are they being dragged into a political party debate? The textbooks should contain an accurate account of the history of our country. The good, the bad and the ugly. Our children have a right to know what happened. If this sort of thing continues every little thing will be taken and inspected to make sure both party's find that it suits their needs.


  • March 30, 2010 at 12:55 PM  

    I think the point you're trying to make here is a very valid one. We cannot let people rewrite the history our children are learning in schools. However I must argue that this article never says anything about portions of history being eliminated. You said yourself that growing up, history books and lessons were biased. I believe the only way to change that is to edit the curriculum and change the way things are being presented in order to reflect our society's change in morals. If you read history books from the 1950s I bet they portrayed the exact same aspects of history in an entirely different way than we do now. My point is that as our society recognizes more and more that racism or sexism is wrong, we must also take the steps to change how that is presented to the youth of America.

    While these particular changes being made in Texas right now could be extremely harmful, I think that is impossible to tell from the very little information given here. By looking at this Board and classifying them as extremely conservative Texans who are out to destroy women's rights, we are only making judgments that attack those individuals. How is that going to make anyone want to join the feminist movement? I believe we need to be more informed before we jump to conclusions and make accusations.


  • April 2, 2010 at 7:59 AM  

    It is such a misfortune that textbooks are now being affected for the worst because of a political dispute. If this does happen, then it comes down to the teachers to teach outside of the box.

    In 4th and 5th grade, I had he same teacher. I have never learned more about cultural differences, African-American history, or Women History in any of my classes in my 13 year education so far. None of it was in a textbook. It is possible for kids to learn it without a textbook and usually it's more fun! It's more interacting and kids are bound to listen more when they don't have to read a dry history book.