Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Texas “WTF” Moment

I guess every state has a WHAT THE FUCK (WTF) moment.  Alaska was probably the most recent state to experience this when they introduced the world to one Sarah Palin.  Alaska……WTF?

In the wake of the U.S. Government creating a framework of Social Studies Standards for states to follow, Texas decided to go its own route and rewrite the importance of history.  Texas, along with Alaska (shocker), chose to ignore the national standards and adopt those that better suited their own cultural identity, whatever the hell that means.  Actually, it’s pretty clear what the state wanted to do.

Members maintained that they were trying to correct ‘liberal bias’ among the teachers who proposed the national standards. To that end, they made dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….

Make the check out to:

Ukiah High School Boys’ Basketball

1000 Low Gap Rd

Ukiah, CA. 

95482

The Texas School Board also included a part to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

Changes were made to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., something that I figured was already taught. 

Also included was studying the “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation, and making sure to stress that Germans and Italians as well as Japanese were interned in the United States during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”  I would have to argue that both Friedman and von Hayek were students of Adam Smith, and therefore aren’t really important to a high school economics student.  

Probably the most profane amendment was to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone.  Thomas Jefferson may be right up there in the Top 10 most important Americans category not only because of the issues regarding religious freedom, but his grace and ability to pick up leading the nation after being the first opposition party to win in the country’s young history.  His value to this country is immeasurable.

Unless you are from Texas.

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