What is Education, anyway?
By Eddie Griffin
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
By a 10-5 vote, the Texas State Board of Education approved a new social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks. For example, they will replace the word “capitalism” throughout textbooks with “free-enterprise system”, because, as Board member Terri Leo says, “Let’s face it, capitalism does have a negative connotation… You know, ‘capitalist pig’”.
“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”
Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change 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.
Board member David Bradley won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation.
They also included a plank 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.”
Efforts by Hispanic board members to include more Latino figures as role models for the state’s large Hispanic population were consistently defeated, prompting one member, Mary Helen Berlanga, to storm out of a meeting late Thursday night, saying, “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”
“They are going overboard, they are not experts, they are not historians,” she said. “They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world.”
Board member Mary Helen Berlanga failed to gain recognition for Tejanos (original Texas-born Mexicans) who fell at the Alamo. She said the standards also ignore the Ku Klux Klan in Texas, Texas Rangers killing innocent Mexican-Americans, and the army’s role in annihilating the American Indian.
Berlanga said, “Until we are ready to tell the truth about history, we don’t have a good history or a good social studies curriculum for Texas.”
FOOTNOTE: A document containing the extensive revisions will be posted on the Texas Education Agency website and posted in the Texas register by mid-April. Once posted, the official 30-day public comment period will begin. At that time, comments with suggested changes to the document can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eddie Griffin Commentary
This is not the first time history has been revised in Texas. During the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, African-Americans were completely bleached out of the history books. There is no mention of the hundreds of thousands black troops that occupied the state and manned the police force under the governorship of Elisha M. Pease (1867-1869). No mention of the original black “cow boys”, before the western character became romanticized in folklore, books, and movies.
It was the African-American Student Movement of the 1960s that first demanded Black Studies in all the colleges and universities. This, of course, is probably what Dr. McLeroy meant by skewed to the left. Teachers who taught it were called communists and later pressured out of academia, only to be replaced with teachers who would tow the conservative line.
We have been forced to teach by double standard, first in meeting the state’s requirements for testing and graduation, and second in preserving what gains we have made in knowledge.
Make no mistake about it: If approved, this whitewashed curriculum is going into the textbooks, and children will be required to know it, just as we were required to study Texas history under Jim Crow.
Children will be tested and graded by regurgitating their indoctrination on tests. They cannot pass if they are not sufficiently brainwashed, like the reservation Indian children who were “Americanized” by forced and forbidden to speak their own language.
Lastly, they must pass an exit examination as proof that they are academically mute, with no role model in their own image. Their diploma will make them no smarter than the rest of the world. In fact, it will complete the dumb-down path that leads to nowhere but a minimum wage job.
It is no wonder that Governor Rick Perry turned down federal education money for higher academic achievement, and why he rejects federal incentives for higher educational standards.