Texas School Board Rewrites History

In a state with much influence on textbook content, a 9-5 vote orders a revision of history books to reflect a conservative view.

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The Texas State School Board just won't let well enough alone. The board voted 9-5 Friday to revise the curriculum of history taught in state schools to reflect a more conservative view. The guidelines will be used in teaching the state's 4.8 million students over the next ten years.

But the seven-member conservative bloc on the board successfully pushed through changes that they said restored balance after what they called years of liberal bias in history education. The board began the day with a prayer from conservative board member Cynthia Dunbar (R) that laid out some of the beliefs of those who made the changes. She said that the origins of the country were "a Christian land governed by Christian principles." Democrats on the board lamented the changes, which come at the end of days of meetings that have stretched more than 12 hours apiece. "I have let down the students in our state," said board member Mary Helen Berlanga (D). "What we have done today is something that a classroom teacher would not even have accepted," she said, sweeping a pile of history books from her desk onto the floor. The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated -- something most historians deny -- draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses, say that international institutions such as the United Nations imperil American sovereignty, and include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn. They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term "free-enterprise system."

Earlier in the week, an opportunity for public comment drew 120 people in support of and against the standards, including Benjamin Todd Jealous, the president of the NAACP, and Rod Paige, who was education secretary under President George W. Bush. Both men spoke against the changes.

 Source: The Washington Post. You can read the full story here.

 

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