Re-writing history schoolbooks

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  • #1
Evo
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This is rather disturbing, to say the least.

U.S. history textbooks could soon be flavored heavily with Texas conservatism

The nation’s public school curriculum may be in for a Texas-sized overhaul, if the Lone Star state’s influential recommendations for changes to social studies, economics and history textbooks are fully ratified later this spring.

Don McElroy, who leads the board’s powerful seven-member social conservative bloc, explained that the measure is a way of "adding balance" in the classroom, since "academia is skewed too far to the left." And the board's critics have labeled the move an attempt by political "extremists" to "promote their ideology."

The revised standards have far-reaching implications because Texas is a huge market leader in the school-textbook industry. The enormous print run for Texas textbooks leaves most districts in other states adopting the same course materials, so that the Texas School Board effectively spells out requirements for 80 percent of the nation’s textbook market. That means, for instance, that schools in left-leaning states like Oregon and Vermont could soon be teaching from textbooks that are short on references to Ted Kennedy but long on references to conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.

Here are some of the other signal shifts that the Texas Board endorsed last Friday:
continued...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts1253 [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
waht
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How could this even get in there:

Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins. Jefferson, a deist who helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, is not a model founder in the board’s judgment. Among the intellectual forerunners to be highlighted in Jefferson’s place: medieval Catholic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, Puritan theologian John Calvin and conservative British law scholar William Blackstone. Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christian beliefs.
 
  • #3
MotoH
31
2
Well at least I'm not in high school anymore.
 
  • #4
If parents were allowed tax credits for not using the public school system, then there would be a lot more choice. That means if you want to put your kid in a school with different curriculum from neighbors, then you don't have to pay for the public schools that your kids don't use. The uniformity of the textbooks is a direct result of a government monopoly.
 
  • #5
Nebula815
15
1
Some good, some bad, textbooks will never be perfect. I know textbooks for very long have been skewed to the Left, I remember reading an elementary school textbook that talked about how government money should be spent and not be spent, one example of how it should not be spent being a missile defense system :confused: Don't know what THAT was doing in an elementary school text!

I might be wrong but I think one reason Latin and Hispanic history is being curtailed is to make more room for European history. Latin and Hispanic history deals with the Inca, Aztec, etc...which while nice, are not what created modern society. We got the English language, modern science, common law, and all that, from Europe and European history is thus very important. If you are Hispanic and want to learn hispanic history, fine, but the history of the nation is more what you need to be taught in school (they cannot make room for every nation and culture's history).

Not including Jefferson I think is bad.
 
  • #6
Evo
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I might be wrong but I think one reason Latin and Hispanic history is being curtailed is to make more room for European history. Latin and Hispanic history deals with the Inca, Aztec, etc...which while nice, are not what created modern society. We got the English language, modern science, common law, and all that, from Europe and European history is thus very important. If you are Hispanic and want to learn hispanic history, fine, but the history of the nation is more what you need to be taught in school (they cannot make room for every nation and culture's history).

Not including Jefferson I think is bad.
Actually, Texas was part of Mexico. Remember the Alamo and Santa Anna? Mexico is an extremely inmportant part of Texas history.
 
  • #7
MotoH
31
2
Actually, Texas was part of Mexico. Remember the Alamo and Santa Anna? Mexico is an extremely inmportant part of Texas history.


I am pretty sure the Texans are way more proud of being American than they are of being ex-Mexicans.
 
  • #8
Nebula815
15
1
Actually, Texas was part of Mexico. Remember the Alamo and Santa Anna? Mexico is an extremely inmportant part of Texas history.

Sure it is. But not going into depth on Hispanic and Latin history doesn't mean they are excluding Mexico as it relates to the history of the United States. We don't need to go deeply into depth on the history of Japan either, but Japan was a part of our history in the sense of pulling us into WWII.
 
  • #9
Not including Jefferson I think is bad.

Jefferson should definitely be included.
 
  • #10
edward
85
166
I am pretty sure the Texans are way more proud of being American than they are of being ex-Mexicans.

Mexico is taking the Southwest back one person at a time on foot, or 15 at a time in minivans.
 
  • #11
rootX
412
4
How could this even get in there:

Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins. Jefferson, a deist who helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, is not a model founder in the board’s judgment. Among the intellectual forerunners to be highlighted in Jefferson’s place: medieval Catholic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, Puritan theologian John Calvin and conservative British law scholar William Blackstone. Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christian beliefs.

Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins. Jefferson, a deist who helped pioneer the legal theory of the separation of church and state, is not a model founder in the board’s judgment. Among the intellectual forerunners to be highlighted in Jefferson’s place: medieval Catholic philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas, Puritan theologian John Calvin and conservative British law scholar William Blackstone. Heavy emphasis is also to be placed on the founding fathers having been guided by strict Christian beliefs.

Nonsense. I don't know what's in the brains of these people. Neither I understand how people like them have power to make these decisions/plans.
 
  • #12
CRGreathouse
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I'd like to actually see the textbook. I'm curious how accurate the descriptions of it are -- they make it sound quite bad.
 
  • #13
Ivan Seeking
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This idea of Texas seceding from the Union is sounding better all the time. :biggrin:
 
  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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When I first moved to Oregon, I found that the local high school was teaching that it is "economic pollution" to leave the remaining 5% of Oregon's old-growth forests standing.

The book used was written by a local teacher who received a personal visit from me. :biggrin:
 
  • #15
DanP
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1

"is a way of "adding balance" in the classroom, since "academia is skewed too far to the left."


A funny idea. If you cant get enough political support, enforce it into the minds of children.
The Conservative Religious Right never ceases to amuse me. I wonder when they'll move to drop Darwin and evolution from scholar programs.
 
  • #16
BobG
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In 2001, California had 6.2 million students, Texas 4.2 million, New York 2.9 million, Florida 2.5 million, and Illinois 2.1 million - out of 48 million students nationwide. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d03/tables/pdf/table37.pdf

How come Texas is so much more important than California when it comes to textbooks?
 
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  • #17
MotoH
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California is too busy trying not to fall into the ocean to care about textbooks.

I believe Texas has more clout than California when it comes to decision making.

In Texas there are most likely more people who are reading the textbook than compared to California.
 
  • #18
BobG
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Would it be a bad sign if they obtained their new textbooks from http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/about [Broken]?

Interesting name for a textbook publisher. Maybe I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, though.
 
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  • #19
zoobyshoe
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Liberals never fare well when shots ring out from the Texas School Book Depository.
 
  • #20
Mkorr
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How come Texas is so much more important than California when it comes to textbooks?

The difference is that Texas (but not California) approves and buys books for all the school districts in the state. Publishers often edit and revise textbooks in order to meet specific demands of the members of the Texas board.

NCSE: Consequences of the flawed standards in Texas? (concerning creationism, but I think it is equally valid for this topic)
 
  • #21
Nebula815
15
1

"is a way of "adding balance" in the classroom, since "academia is skewed too far to the left."


A funny idea. If you cant get enough political support, enforce it into the minds of children.
The Conservative Religious Right never ceases to amuse me. I wonder when they'll move to drop Darwin and evolution from scholar programs.

The big-government "liberal" Left never cease to amaze me either with their efforts to brainwash children within the educational system. What you speak of goes both ways.
 
  • #22
DanP
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The big-government "liberal" Left never cease to amaze me either with their efforts to brainwash children within the educational system. What you speak of goes both ways.

Liberalism in US is far from being leftist.

If you call science "brainwashing" than yeah, you are right. Liberals are guilty :P But it's the fundamentalist right who tries to teach creationism to just about every being in schools, not the liberals.
 
  • #23
Nebula815
15
1
Liberalism in US is far from being leftist.

Could have fooled me!

If you call science "brainwashing" than yeah, you are right. Liberals are guilty :P It's the fundamentalist right who tries to teach creationism to just about every being in schools, not the liberals.

I'm not talking about science, I'm talking about skewed teachings of American history to the ultra-leftist variant (skewed versions to the ultra-right variant are bad too), skewed teachings of the role of government in a society, etc...creationism teaching is more something the social fundamentalists want taught, not conservatives who are mostly concerned about proper/balanced teaching of history, economics, Constitution, and so forth. Science is certainly important, that's why I wrote in an earlier post about how it is more important to teach kids European history than something like Aztec or Inca history because it is Euro history that gave us things like Western science.
 
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  • #24
DanP
109
1
Could have fooled me!

Yeah. Well, small wonder.


I'm not talking about science, I'm talking about skewed teachings of American history to the ultra-leftist variant

Like ? The fact that women have the right to vote and to abortion ?
Besides, you have no idea what means ultra leftists politics. Not until you are deported to Siberia, or went killing with El Che
 
  • #25
Nebula815
15
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Like ? The fact that women have the right to vote and to abortion ?

Who says abortion is a "right?" I agree the option for abortion should be available, but it is debatable to claim whether or not it is a right, and Constitutionally, I do not agree with Roe v Wade as it was judicial activism IMO (even if one thinks abortion is a right does not mean Roe v Wade was correct).

On women's right to vote, yes, that is very important. If you notice, the Left oftentimes want Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as they prefer it to be written as opposed to how it actually is written. If conservatives complain about this, they claim that conservatives would allow blacks to still be slaves and deny women the right to vote.

It doesn't occur to them that conservatives want no such thing, but that you protect such rights by amending the Constitution, not judicial activism (otherwise a woman's right to vote would rest with a few justices on the Court and could be overturned! same with slavery; this is the problem with abortion right now, a woman's "right to choose" rests with a few people on the Court as opposed to a formal amendment).

Besides, you have no idea what means ultra leftists politics. Not until you are deported to Siberia, or went killing with El Che

There's different variants of the ultra-Left. British Labour Party pre-Margaret Thatcher was pretty ultra-Left, but not of the same types as Chairman Mao, Lenin, Stalin, etc...
 
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  • #26

"is a way of "adding balance" in the classroom, since "academia is skewed too far to the left."


A funny idea. If you cant get enough political support, enforce it into the minds of children.
The Conservative Religious Right never ceases to amuse me. I wonder when they'll move to drop Darwin and evolution from scholar programs.

The liberal argument against a tax credit for those parents who choose to enroll their children into private school has always been that parents are not as capable of making sound decisions regarding education as bureaucrats are. Now, all of a sudden, the liberals have a problem with the bureaucrats as they make decisions on the content of the textbooks. It's a little late in the game to cry foul.

DanP, what you fail to recognize that whether you like it or not half the country is Christian, so it has been the liberals who don't have the 'political support' you speak of, and have been enforcing it on the minds of children through a government monopoly for decades.

A survey has recently been taken by American Civic Liberty of people's knowledge of civics. It is abysmal. Here is how the survey was http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/2010/survey_methods.html" [Broken].

In three successive years, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute conducted surveys to determine the impact a college education has on civic knowledge. In 2006, ISI gave approximately 14,000 college freshmen and seniors at fifty colleges nationwide a sixty-question multiple-choice exam on fundamental knowledge of America’s history and institutions. The average freshman scored 51.7% and the average senior scored 53.2%. In 2007, ISI tested another set of over 14,000 college freshmen and seniors. Similarly, the average freshman scored 50.4% and the average senior scored 54.2%.

I also would like to see what is in the textbooks as the article is somewhat vague and incomplete.
 
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  • #27
DanP
109
1
There's different variants of the ultra-Left. British Labour Party pre-Margaret Thatcher was pretty ultra-Left, but not of the same types as Chairman Mao, Lenin, Stalin, etc...



I wouldn't call it ultra left not even before Thatcher. It was a center left in my view.
 
  • #28
Nebula815
15
1
I wouldn't call it ultra left not even before Thatcher. It was a center left in my view.

Pre-Thatcher, the majority of the UK economy was dominated by big, nationalized enterprises that arm-wrestled with big, bureaucratic unions, and most of the "private" corporations were so regulated, they might as well have been appendages of the government, with only a small portion that was truly private-sector, along with ultra-high taxes; IMO, that's pretty far left. One doesn't need to be a genocidal dictator to be very Left. For decades India has had a mostly centrally-planned economy, but it has a democratic government still (democratic socialism). UK was similar.
 
  • #29
DanP
109
1
The liberal argument against a tax credit for those parents who choose to enroll their children into private school has always been that parents are not as capable of making sound decisions regarding education as bureaucrats are. Now, all of a sudden, the liberals have a problem with the bureaucrats as they make decisions on the content of the textbooks. It's a little late in the game to cry foul.
[/URL].

Textbooks should reflect science.

Anything else shouldn't be taught at a children as part of the public system. If you feel that they should be exposed to the Christian view over the world , teach them privately in your home.
 
  • #30
Textbooks should reflect science.

Anything else shouldn't be taught at a children as part of the public system. If you feel that they should be exposed to the Christian view over the world , teach them privately in your home.

I don't know why there is confusion over what I'm saying still after saying it twice already. Alright, fine. I am simply saying that parents are more equipped to choose than bureaucrats are. One-size-fits-all public education has been a failure. If parents can afford after a tax credit to place their kids out of the public education system, then they are doing government a favor.
 
  • #31
DanP
109
1
I don't know why there is confusion over what I'm saying still after saying it twice already. Alright, fine. I am simply saying that parents are more equipped to choose than bureaucrats are.

On this I would tend to agree with you.
 
  • #32
Ronnin
168
1
Everyone of these threads become the same tired left vs. right argument. It gets beaten about ad nauseum eventually straying completely away from the OP. This nation has some real tough times ahead no matter what side of the political spectrum you on. But, we seem never able to hash out any real answers on any given issue because this is what contemporary American debate has evolved into. This especially annoys me when the topics have a direct impact on our children.
 
  • #33
Nebula815
15
1
Everyone of these threads become the same tired left vs. right argument. It gets beaten about ad nauseum eventually straying completely away from the OP. This nation has some real tough times ahead no matter what side of the political spectrum you on. But, we seem never able to hash out any real answers on any given issue because this is what contemporary American debate has evolved into. This especially annoys me when the topics have a direct impact on our children.

The problem is for a lot of stuff there can be no bi-partisan answers, because both sides have fundamentally different views then the other, and also certain portions of each party are driven by ideology (with Democrats too many have an almost religious fervor in government as the answer to everything, with Republicans, a very fundamentalist Christian portion want to ram their religion down people's throat).
 
  • #34
BobG
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The difference is that Texas (but not California) approves and buys books for all the school districts in the state. Publishers often edit and revise textbooks in order to meet specific demands of the members of the Texas board.

NCSE: Consequences of the flawed standards in Texas? (concerning creationism, but I think it is equally valid for this topic)

With that much money at stake, why don't the publishers just bribe the decisionmakers?

It would be safer than publishing a textbook that might turn out to be worthless. It would also render any ideological debates moot.
 
  • #35
Everyone of these threads become the same tired left vs. right argument. It gets beaten about ad nauseum eventually straying completely away from the OP. This nation has some real tough times ahead no matter what side of the political spectrum you on. But, we seem never able to hash out any real answers on any given issue because this is what contemporary American debate has evolved into. This especially annoys me when the topics have a direct impact on our children.

I thought adding choice was a good solution. That way liberal parents can educate their children in liberalism, and Christians, Buddhists, etc. can choose to educate their children how they best feel fit. The problem, and this relates directly, is the uniformity in the textbook system, which seems somehow to be OK when the uniformity echos your own views, but not OK when it doesn't. DanP was attempting to trying to shift the debate into abortion, Darwinism, and Christianity.
 

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