07 April 2010

Take Action Today - Tell The Texas State Board of Education To Get A Grip!

Reporting from the annual convention of the Alliance for Retired Americans:

It is beyond distressing for me to report that delegates from around the fifty states are asking me about Texas.  No, it's not about how the 'Stroes will do under their new manager. Nor is it about whether the Cowboys will get to the Superbowl this year.  No.  None of that.  If our dunce cap wearing governor, Rick Perry, and Clown Alley Congressmen Louis Gohmert and Jeb Hensaling were not embarrassment enough, I'm having to explain to delegates from Maine to Hawaii why our textbook selection board has it in for Thomas Jefferson and "Democracy".  And, equally difficult, to Native Americans from Minnesota to New Mexico why "Texicans", who fought at the Alamo, will not be listed alongside adventurers and all around hell-raisers Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie.

But, it is not just here amongst older Americans that questions are being asked and  hoots of derision are being heard.  Consider this recent e-mail I got from People For the American Way:

"Thomas Jefferson banned in Texas schools? Maybe... if the Right has its way. The fight is still on to keep absurd changes out of the Texas social studies textbook standards, with the final standards set to be adopted by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) on May 21.

Right-wing members of the SBOE are using the textbook standards in Texas to rewrite history in a way that could undermine the educations of students in Texas and across the U.S., tossing out facts in favor of propaganda like:
  • America is a Christian country, founded on "Biblical principles."
  • Conservative icons from Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, the Moral Majority and even Sen. Joseph McCarthy are history's "good guys," but progressives and progressive values are at odds with what it means to be "American."
  • Words like "democracy" (sounds like "Democrat!") have nothing to do with America -- we're a Republic -- In fact, "capitalism" has sort of a negative connotation to some, so they want that word to be universally replaced with "free market."
  • Some of the major contributions of Thomas Jefferson -- arguably America's greatest thinker -- are on the chopping block, as are the contributions of other important figures not favored by the zealots on the Texas State Board of Education, like Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall. (Who's next? Martin Luther King? FDR?)
There is still time to take action before the final standards are adopted. Email the SBOE and tell members that students should be taught the facts, not propaganda.

Email the Board at sboeteks@tea.state.tx.us.

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