Helen Keller Not A Good Enough Citizen For Texas Board Of Education.
It's that time of year again! The time when the Texas Board of Education decides just how they're going to brainwash the kids into being future Republicans with no empathy for anybody and a completely distorted view of United States history. This, as always, is a big deal. Because Texas buys so many textbooks, the changes made by their board of education often make their way into the textbooks of other states, thereby making children across the country culturally, scientifically and historically illiterate and very beatable at Trivial Pursuit.
This year, the big news is that both Helen Keller and Hillary Clinton are being removed from the social studies curriculum, on account of how they are not notable enough. As citizens. Unlike soldiers and members of the Texas legislature. This was their actual comment about Keller.
"Helen Keller does not best represent the concept of citizenship. Military and first responders are best represented."
OK, so -- first of all, Keller overcame what some might say are considerable odds to not only learn to speak and write despite being unable to see or hear, but she got so good at that, that she later went to Radcliffe (a very fancy school) and then became an activist, advocating for people with disabilities, women's suffrage and worker's rights.
Also, she's motherfucking Helen Keller. Do we really want future adults going around not knowing who Helen Keller is? That would be embarrassing for them, and awkward for those around them, because really -- who is going to expect that someone isn't going to know who Helen Keller is? If someone were to say to me "Uh, Helen Keller? Who is THAT?" I would legitimately think they were just fucking with me.
It's likely that the reason they decided Keller wasn't notable enough, as a citizen, is because she was a socialist, and -- although they don't usually mention it in third grade when they cover Helen Keller -- they probably feared people looking up to her and then later finding out that someone as awesome as Helen Keller was... a socialist. Oh, the horror. Wait til they find out who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance (HINT: Also a socialist!)
While the board decided that Hillary Clinton being the first woman to run for president on a major ticket was not, actually all that important at all, they did opt to keep in Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. So, you know, she's mentioned there! Otherwise, just not notable at all.
Naturally, they kept Billy Graham in, because Texas. And a lot of stuff about how very swell the Alamo was.
What other bizarre decisions did they make? Let's take a look, shall we?
- "Reinsert references to "Judeo-Christian (especially biblical law)" in section on 'major intellectual, philosophical, political, and religious traditions that informed the American founding.'"
- "Reinsert the biblical figure of Moses and remove Thomas Hobbes from section on 'individuals whose principles of laws and government institutions informed the American founding.'"
- "Reinsert reference to "the Judeo-Christian legal tradition" in section on "the development of democratic-republican government from its beginnings.""
- "Remove the phrase "describe the optimism of the many immigrants who sought a better life in America" in a section on "social issues affecting women, minorities, children, immigrants, and urbanization.""
On the bright side, they did decide to add Dolores Huerta to the section on "significant leaders who supported various rights movements, so that's nice?
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse