The Texas Textbook Takeover

The Texas Board of Education just approved measures to change the curriculum in history, economics, and sociology.  The New York Times reports:

In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.

Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 100 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school. The standards were proposed by a panel of teachers.

“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. McElroy is correct in that history has already been skewed, except what has actually happened is that women and people of color have been written out of history.  The dominant narrative that is taught in schools focuses on the political, military history of white men while marginalizing all other groups.

Furthermore, according the New York Times, Latino groups have been struggling to get more representation in Texas textbooks:

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.”

To learn more, the Huffington Post reports on the Texas Textbook controversy as well.

— Rosamund Hunter

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