History is (re)written by the winners

Claiming history texts are skewed, Republicans in Texas skew it their own way:

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

The curriculum standards will now be published in a state register, opening them up for 30 days of public comment. A final vote will be taken in May, but given the Republican dominance of the board, it is unlikely that many changes will be made.

Comments

I wonder if we'll see

the same kind of kerfluffle erupt in Texas over these changes as we did here in NC a few weeks ago. Probably not. I also wonder if Civitas would oppose changes like these, if someone proposed them for NC textbooks...

DPI

The Department of Public Instruction in North Carolina should adopt rule that prevent NC public schools from using such text books. My rule of thumb: if it's okay for Texas, the rest of the world should steer the heck clear.

PS

I was at Monticello last week ... had a chance to see several films on Jefferson. There is no doubt he was a secularist, so it's not surprising that the creationists in Texas want to expunge him from history.

Heh.

"Everything's bigger in Texas, including the gap between reality and fantasy."

What is all this that is being done lately with textbooks?

Since when is education in public schools all about presentations that include political and/or religious beliefs? Why are we seeing textbooks and curriculum being considered for changes? Nothing in my textbooks and nothing in my class instruction in my day was about something being right or wrong because of conservative principles or liberal principles. We were left to decide for ourselves based on just the facts of history. To my knowledge, little was left out about our country's history...ever since its inception on 1776 and what brought that about before that date. And, I personally have ZERO recollection of any of the textbooks making judgements on right or wrong other than to present why slavery was abolished and why our country saw that as wrong and made the bold decisions to eliminate it in addition to women's rights legislation.

What the heck is going on now with our public instruction materials and what is being taught in classrooms? Education should be about giving facts and enabling our young folks to ultimately make their own decisions on how those facts form their beliefs.

I think it is very sad that we are allowing any philosophy (even my own) to be taught as right and some other philosophy as wrong in public schools.

A Pre-Emptive Action NC Could Take

The problem with the decision in Texas is that national schoolbook publishers tend to publish to the Texas standards because they can then have one edition to sell to all states. Conservatives in Texas have used this fact for about two decades to shape what is in all US textbooks. The only different this recent decision makes is that it is so broad and sweeping as to demonstrate what has been going on and enable the shining of a spotlight on it.

The appropriate response is for the NC Department of Public Instruction to encourage the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Press to launch a textbook division that draws on scholars at North Carolina campuses and fulfills North Carolina's education standards. Because it will take some time to rewrite nationally published textbooks to the Texas standards, there is sufficient time for UNC Chapel Hill press to pull together the first editions of the most critical books - high school American History, high school World History, high school Civics, high school Biology, middle school social studies and science.

Yes, it's a large project, but having our textbooks held hostage by a small number of Texas politicians who can wiggle into power is no longer a good solution.

50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

Braveheart

I wondered about the headline in this blogpost and thought of the line in the Mel Gibson film Braveheart. history is written by men who ahve slaughtered heroes. HIS STORY ... aka history. MEN. Hey don't you just love the male of the species....testosterone and all that!!
Give women a chance and all the world will worry about is shoes and shopping, and maybe make up! Ha ha.

Good teachers with some years

Good teachers with some years of experience don't pay much attention to the textbook anyway. It's just one tool in the box. Textbooks are crutches for inexperienced and lazy teachers.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

What happened

50 or 100 or 200 or 500 years ago?

Does it matter if we know the events, the motivations, the outcomes, the ripple effects through time?

The connectedness of us all?

Or was/is it all just one big land grab?

Or as my biology friends say (jokingly I hope), are humans are just transport mechanisms for the real rulers of the planet, bacteria?

The little-h history is the story of each of us; the big-H History is the story of all of us.

I happen to believe that they are both important and what Texas is doing starts a ripple in the pond--the end result is later.

-b
--

There cannot fail to be more kinds of things, as nature grows further disclosed. - Sir Francis Bacon

Hmmmmm

Well, it sure is something to think about and consider, boball. Just me speaking here, but I am not ready for bacteria to take over our plight...yeah, I know what you are saying, this is just a zinger on that whole mindset.

The little-h history is the story of each of us; the big-H History is the story of all of us.

To me, history is about BOTH of them. It is history, right? World history (and, of course, American history) is far bigger than its parts, if you can grasp what I am saying here.

Texas (and other states as well) seem to be messing with just basic education and want to somehow bring into that more than facts and basic knowledge accumulated through the past centuries.

My take.

You'd probably be surprised

You'd probably be surprised to know that NC is also having an issue with ID people- see ncvoice , specifically "Teacher suspended for complaining about Christian student". Long story short, a Wake County teacher was suspended because she became angry that little Christians were harassing her because she wasn't a Christian- they left her a Bible and left a card with the "Christ" in "Merry Christmas" underlined, was harassed frequently and called a "Jesus-hater", and even had the guts to, in the middle of class, sing "Jesus loves me" with Christian t-shirts in class, in defiance of her. She, so far as I know, had said nothing about her religion- the kids were just harassing her!

Actually I believe this had

Actually I believe this had more to do with posts she put on her facebook page regarding the problems she was having. Posts on a website regarding students or presenting one's self in a negative light (i.e. picture of you with a beer in hand or scantily dressed) will get a teacher fired. You just can't say things about students. It violates confidentiality even if you don't name the student. Teachers must be role models even if it means being awfully mad about being treated badly and just keeping one's mouth shut and computer turned off.

I'm a moderate Democrat.