Sunday, May 23, 2010

Texas State History Standards

By now, you've all read about the Texas State Board of Education's history standards that eviscerate any reasonable interpretation of American history in favor of right-wing talking points. I should be talking about this more. But plenty of people are reporting on it. And I am not good at expressing outrage. I think that's because very little that happens in this country actually surprises me. We could whole-heartedly embrace fascism in 2020 and I would not be surprised in the least. Mostly, I feel resignation about these things and want to move on to analysis and problem-solving.

Anyway, I do think these right-wingers are way overreaching. I don't know if textbook companies will actually conform to these standards. I certainly don't know what self-respecting historians will actually write these books, except maybe for these bozos. Moreover, by moving so far to the right, the Texas BOE has drawn unwanted attention to their agenda. The extremists have been voted off the Board, though they get to serve until the end of the year. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of this crazy stuff gets overturned, if other states choose not to adopt these textbooks (even conservative states, given just how embarrassing most of these directives are), and if liberals strike back at this hard, ensuring that textbooks are something we pay attention to going forward and working to ensure legitimate interpretations of the American past are taught to our students.

Also, I'd really like to see the American historical establishment take a harder line against the Texas BOE than it has. Major organizations like the American Historical Association and Organization of American Historians have been far too quiet.