Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's official -- Texas just got stupider.

Well, this is depressing:

Texas OKs school textbook changes
Critics claim conservatives trying to revise history

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas State Board of Education adopted a social studies and history curriculum Friday that amends or waters down the teaching of the civil rights movement, religious freedoms, America's relationship with the U.N. and hundreds of other items...

In one of the most significant changes leading up to the vote, the board attempted to water down the rationale for the separation of church and state in a high school government class, pointing out that the words were not in the Constitution and requiring that students compare and contrast the judicial language with the wording in the First Amendment.

They also rejected language to modernize the classification of historic periods to B.C.E. and C.E. from the traditional B.C. and A.D., and agreed to replace Thomas Jefferson as an example of an influential political philosopher in a world history class. They also required students to evaluate efforts by global organizations such as the United Nations to undermine U.S. sovereignty.

Former board chairman Don McLeroy, one of the board's most outspoken conservatives, said the Texas history curriculum has been unfairly skewed to the left after years of Democrats controlling the board and he just wants to bring it back into balance.

Yeah, fucking liberals with their facts and evidence and methodology and science and everything. It's about time someone who believes in an invisible sky monster got the chance to shape impressionable young minds.

P.S. Would it be unreasonable to suggest that responsible American institutions of higher education simply refuse to accept Texas high school diplomas from now on?

: At least according to CNN, the damage that Texas can inflict on the rest of the U.S. might be getting more limited these days:

What is taught in Texas often is taught in other states because publishers typically tailor textbooks for Texas, one of the largest buyers of textbooks in the country.

However, digital publishing has diminished the state's influence on textbooks nationally and that curriculum is always going to be decided at the local level, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

"Whatever Texas decides, I do not think there will be large ripple effects around the country," he said before Friday's votes. "Textbook companies today have a real ability to customize textbooks and whatever the Texas board decides, I don't think that's going to impact education in other parts of the country."

I think this is trivially obvious -- given the flexibility available with current digital publishing technology, changing a book for a different market should not be a big deal anymore.

One need only pop over to, say, Textbook Revolution, to see how frustrated students are dealing with stupidly expensive and crappy textbooks these days.


The Seer said...

The problem is not limited to Texas. Under Texas law, schools cannot buy books that fail to meet these standards. No other state has a rule limiting the choices of individual schools. This makes Texas the biggest market in the US for school books. At least in the past, schools outside of Texas could not find school books that failed to meet the Texas standards; it was not considered economical for publishers to produce books specifically intended for use outside of Texas. Which means the whole country just got stupider.

Wayne said...

"The more we study the more we discover our ignorance."
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Well... Texas just fucked that quote.

mikmik said...