Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Teaching U.S. History in Texas

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on the battle over teaching U.S history in Texas public schools. Mirroring the evolution/creationism debate, this pits right-wing ideologues over those who have sense. One of the conservatives says this:

"We're in an all-out moral and spiritual civil war for the soul of America, and the record of American history is right at the heart of it"

I absolutely agree with this and that's why these right-wingers must be stopped. What do they object to? Including positive discussions of Cesar Chavez for instance.

  • Delete César Chávez from a list of figures who modeled active participation in the democratic process

Two reviewers objected to citing Mr. Chávez, who led a strike and boycott to improve working conditions for immigrant farmhands, as an example of citizenship for fifth-graders. "He's hardly the kind of role model that ought to be held up to our children as someone worthy of emulation," Rev. Marshall wrote.

How's that? Marshall doesn't say, but presumably it is part anti-labor, part racism. They also oppose discussion of Anne Hutchinson as an important person to discuss for colonial America and want to replace discussion of Thurgood Marshall as an important person to study with--wait for it--Sam Houston!!!! There's also a bias against discussing the country as a democracy.

I do agree with the conservatives that studying primary documents should be valued higher. Conservatives always think things like this are going to lead to capital R republican values, but there's no actual evidence of this. One can easily discuss the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution and come to the conclusion that the current Republican party is completely insane.

The moderate reviewers have entirely reasonable proposals such as emphasizing more Latinos, toning down emphasis on the Cold War, and discussing America's historical relationship with Islamic nations and peoples. You know, things that actually make sense in modern society.