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Is the Winker really a Texan?

June 2, 2010 - John Stack
What do we hear from the Conservatives and their like on the right? Return school decisions to the localities for spending and curriculum control. Who knows better how to teach the students than those who live locally? Beyond choosing which sports teams are funded, this argument has never made sense to me. But, as for most things political, ‘hands off, local control, follow the constitution’ are only meant when you agree with some outcome of this ideology. When this ideology runs contrary to your beliefs, run with what works best to get your way, your hard earned beliefs be damned.
          The Texas Board of Education voted recently to change the State’s social studies curriculum. I know you are thinking ‘Wow! A southern state finally admitting that yes, slavery was a main part of the civil war!’ or that someday soon Nathan Forrest’s name won’t be adorning as many Southern High schools. (Who is Nathan Forrest – just a general in the confederate army who was the KKKs first grand wizard, made his money in the slave trade, and massacred thousands of black union soldiers at Ft Pillow). Ah, but no, that isn’t the case.
          These crazies on the Texas BOE are adopting changes that ‘promote patriotism’. Now we wouldn’t want outsiders making changes, but conservative lawyer Cynthia Dunbar – who home schools her kids – is one of these kooky board members. How is it that someone who refuses to send her kids to public school is making judgments on what kids are being taught in public schools? But I digress. She and other conservatives on the board want to include positive references to the Moral majority, the NRA and the GOPs Contract With America. Now, regardless of your political persuasion, do you really want someone’s political rhetoric to be part of your children’s education, or of the education of the future of the state and nation? We hear over and over again how high schools and colleges are being somehow indoctrinated into ‘Liberal’ points of view. A serious argument is that students should be taught the ‘facts’ without bias from a political ideology. I would have to agree with that, and it is an argument proffered by Conservatives for years now. Their solution? Indoctrinate kids with conservative ideology! Huh? Two wrongs make a right! So, rather than fix the supposed problem, replace it with something that is obviously and specifically designed to promote a political spectrum.
          Other recommendations, of course, swing to the religious side of the debate. The right wants to make sure their version of the 2nd amendment – as voiced by the NRA - is taught to students. But the first amendment (freedom of religion), well, they interpret that to fit their purposes. The board wants to push the idea that we are a Christian nation, founding by Christians, under God, and under Christian principles. I for one, don’t see where any of this has a place in a social studies curriculum. Especially when Thomas Jefferson, one of the few presidents that is mostly considered one of the greatest leaders and founders of our nation. Ya see, Jefferson was a very strong proponent of States rights and a very limited role for federal government and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most influential founders of our union. Sounds like these wing nuts hero, right? Oh, except Jefferson was a very strong supporter of religious freedom, the separation of church and state, and author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Oh, this goes against these kooks ideas. What to do. I know! Lets MINIMIZE Jefferson’s role in founding and shaping our country! That way, by removing a dissenting voice, our crazy ideas make more sense!!
          “The standards are looking real good now. We’ve made some significant improvements and I am proud of what the board has done” said board member Don McElroy, author of many of the changes backed by social conservatives. Another of his great ideas is to change the name of the Slave Trade to the ‘Atlantic Triangular Trade’. While they are at it, maybe he would advocate changing the name ‘Holocaust’ to ‘pre-emptive German homogenization’. As if to show where nut Dunbar is really from (our aforementioned homeschooling board member) says ‘sending them to local schools would be like “throwing them in the enemy’s flames,” says the changes she backs are all about “fighting for our children's education and our nation's future." I’m not sure what ‘enemies’ she’s talking about. The British? The Indians? The Mexicans? Germans? Japanese? (Yes, I know conservative speak – she means anything and anyone to the Right of Ann Coulter is an enemy)
"In Texas we have certain statutory obligations to promote patriotism and to promote the free enterprise system. There seems to have been a move away from a patriotic ideology,” she said in a recent interview with the U.K. Guardian. “There seems to be a denial that this was a nation founded under God. We had to go back and make some corrections."
          Although these changes were passed all ready, I wonder if the board would consider some other changes. How about a positive reference to Planned Parenthood and their impact of women’s reproductive freedoms? How about emphasizing the ACLU and their impact on personal freedoms and how it has positively impacted our society into a more free safe one rather than a police dominated one? How about adding Hillary Clinton’s ‘It Takes a Village’? No, I think one of the only changes they might consider would be Ann Coulter’s view that ‘Jews can only be perfected by becoming Christians’. I think this may be right in line with what McElroy would consider a ‘significant improvement’ or Dunbar would consider ‘making a correction’.


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