Right-Wing Activists Rewrite U.S. Textbooks

1/15/2010 5:18:52 PM

Tags: Politics, textbooks, Texas, activists, conservatives, evolution, Washington Monthly, Bennett Gordon

Classroom ReadingIn the minds of some of the “experts” who hold sway over the Texas public school textbooks, Joe McCarthy was an American hero, white men are responsible for civil rights, and “evolution is hooey.” Over the past 15 years, Washington Monthly reports that an activist bloc has methodically taken over the Texas State Board of Education, bent on injecting hard-right ideology into the state’s textbooks. According to these activists, the Founding Fathers never wanted a separation between church and state, and they’re doing their best to break down the wall by changing the schoolbooks in Texas.

The politicized textbooks would be a problem just inside Texas, but economic factors have given the state a huge influence over textbooks throughout the country. Unlike many other states, Texas makes the decisions on a state level on what books local school districts can buy. So when the state makes a decision on what books to purchase for its 4.7 million high schoolers, publishers take notice. The only bigger market for textbooks in the country is California, a state whose budget is in such disarray, it announced that it won’t be buying new books until 2014. In the meantime, an anonymous industry executive told Washington Monthly, “publishers will do whatever it takes to get on the Texas list,” even if that means caving in to right-wing activists.

In what’s already been a fearsome battle, the Texas State Board of Education is in the midst of its once-each-decade meeting to decide which books are purchased throughout the state. The Washington Monthly meticulously documented how conservative activists took over the meetings, forcing out moderates, accusing them of being pawns of the “radical homosexual lobby” and similar claims. With meetings taking place until March, the conservative activists are in prime position to push textbooks in Texas and throughout the country to the right. Don McLeroy, a particularly vocal activist on the state’s school board and a staunch advocate of teaching creationism in schools, told Washington Monthly, “Sometimes it boggles my mind the kind of power we have.”

You can watch a video of the school board's discussions below:

Source: Washington Monthly 

Image by woodleywonderworks, licensed under Creative Commons. 



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Post a comment below.

 

Doug Lass_4
5/25/2010 10:35:48 AM
I'm wondering if the Texas Board of Education believes that the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during World War II was a good thing! And if the treatment of blacks in the 50s and 60's was good thing.

Kev C_1
3/17/2010 12:32:43 PM
At the risk of getting blasted on this site -- I must ask you to consider the point of view that something greater than ourselves created us and every living thing on this earth has been around far longer than Darwin. Revisionist history is one thing, but to exclude "intelligent design" or "creationisim" is rediculous -- evolution is a theory. On the basis of the above statement made by someone who obviously doesn't know anything about science the theory of relativity and the theory of gravity are also subject to question. Only question I want to know the answer too on this particular issue is 'Does that mean religious zealots float and the rest of us sink?' Have a real nice day ye all!

Kev C_1
3/17/2010 12:32:17 PM
At the risk of getting blasted on this site -- I must ask you to consider the point of view that something greater than ourselves created us and every living thing on this earth has been around far longer than Darwin. Revisionist history is one thing, but to exclude "intelligent design" or "creationisim" is rediculous -- evolution is a theory. On the basis of the above statement made by someone who obviously doesn't know anything about science the theory of relativity and the theory of gravity are also subject to question. Only question I want to know the answer too on this particular issue is 'Does that mean religious zealots float and the rest of us sink?' Have a real nice day ye all!

Kev C_1
3/17/2010 12:32:03 PM
At the risk of getting blasted on this site -- I must ask you to consider the point of view that something greater than ourselves created us and every living thing on this earth has been around far longer than Darwin. Revisionist history is one thing, but to exclude "intelligent design" or "creationisim" is rediculous -- evolution is a theory. On the basis of the above statement made by someone who obviously doesn't know anything about science the theory of relativity and the theory of gravity are also subject to question. Only question I want to know the answer too on this particular issue is 'Does that mean religious zealots float and the rest of us sink?' Have a real nice day ye all!

Danielle Masursky
1/21/2010 10:41:29 AM
I agree with everythig that "san" said. Allowing people who represent a small minority opinion to decide how and what our children learn is dangerous and foolish. To borrow Nixon's phrase, "the silent majority" of Americans don't think religous views should be taught in science or history classes. If you want your child to get a religion-based education, you have many viable options, including private religious schools and homeschooling. Those of us whose children receive a publically funded education want the content to reflect OUR values! Whether or not we force our way onto the most powerful school board in the country.

faultroy_2
1/19/2010 12:53:30 PM
While I certainly do not agree that white men and women are responsible for the passage of civil rights, they certainly are by fact the main supporters. According to the 2000 Census, 67% of the population is Caucasian. On this basis alone, the argument has merit. Black Americans make up approximately 12% of the population. What has happened to Black Americans and other minorities is a shameful record in USA history. But what is happening to our minority children in USA inner cities today-now- is even more shameful. It is a national Sin--and all Americans--Black Americans included--are responsible. As far as Texas rewriting their text books...I believe that when we are spending your money we should do things your way. And when we are spending my money, we should do things my way. If you really believe in the concept of democracy you have to accept the fact that people have the inherit right to live their lives as they see fit and on their terms. If others don't like it, they have the right to seek relief on a number of levels--legislation, courts, protests, etc. If Texas Conservative Activists have infiltrated the Education system, that means that the system is working doesn't it? Those people that are not happy with it should use current methods of relief or move out of the state. This is currently happening in California with many people leaving the State.

wells munsell
1/19/2010 11:26:31 AM
Interesting how the loony left views free speech. Anything that diverges from the party line is labeled "hard-right ideology". This after the forces of socialism have been inserting revisionist history into textbooks for decades.

wells munsell
1/19/2010 11:23:32 AM
Interesting how the loony left views free speech. Anything that diverges from the party line is labeled "hard-right ideology". This after the forces of socialism have been inserting revisionist history into textbooks for decades.

eric_3
1/18/2010 11:16:14 PM
These liars do not appear to be that strong to me.The dictator who was trying to convince himself and the others that his views were correct did not appear to believe in his own crap....No wonder Bush used to say that he was not worrying about how history was going to judge him

vhg_2
1/18/2010 6:54:50 PM
At the risk of getting blasted on this site -- I must ask you to consider the point of view that something greater than ourselves created us and every living thing on this earth has been around far longer than Darwin. Revisionist history is one thing, but to exclude "intelligent design" or "creationisim" is rediculous -- evolution is a theory.

san_1
1/18/2010 5:40:56 PM
I would make a sizeable bet that if Texas seceded from the Union, which it has been threatening to do, it would become a Third World country in less than five years. The Middle Ages idealogy of the Conservative activists in Texas is just one indication of how this would play out. Do we really need another generation of right wing extremists? You cannot fight fundamentalist extremism in the Middle East with fundamentalist extremism in the Midwest. Textbook publishers that kowtow to Texas Board of Education for the sake of profit are no better than educational prostitutes.

Lloyd_1
1/18/2010 3:27:32 PM
I agree with Nicole Parker, and wonder the same things. Maybe it is time to read Margaret Atwood, The Handmade's Tale again.

Nicole Parker
1/18/2010 1:15:52 PM
This makes me sick to my stomach because it is so scary. It is no longer an issue of politics or religious beliefs; it's much more serious. This seems like an issue of ethics; how can it be okay in someone's mind to change history because of his own views? Do they not realize how serious this is? Isn't there something within the law that can stop this from happening? Why do people no longer respect The Constitution, or the planet, or anyone other than themselves?






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