Texas Gets The Moses-Wrote-The-Constitution Textbooks It Deserves
Image byDavid Dees
You may recall that back in September, we told you about some of the fascinating textbooks being written to conform to Texas's cool new history standards, which the conservative Fordham Institute called "a confusing, unteachable hodgepodge." The textbooks had a lot of interesting takes on American history, like how the founding fathers were inspired by Moses, because a "nation needs a written code of behavior." Never mind that the Ten Commandments are about individual moral behavior, while the Constitution is largely about voting and representation and stuff, and the Bill of Rights is mostly about restrictions on government power to compel behavior. Moses done it.
Time for an update! You'll be delighted to know that on Friday, the Texas Board of Education (BOE) voted 10-5 to adopt most of the textbooks under consideration. So now Texas schoolchildren will finally learn the truth about how the Bible inspired the Constitution, Jesus invented the idea of equality under the law, and Spanish conquistadors came to the Americas mostly so they could spread the Gospel (and maybe smallpox, but shhhh).
Just to add to the fun, the Texas Freedom Network notes that, at the last minute, over 800 changes to the textbooks submitted by publishers were posted on the Texas Education Agency's website on Thursday, a day before the vote -- you know that the BOE looked carefully at the new material before they voted. Needless to say, there was no time for comment from the public, teachers, or scholars on the changed materials. And the BOE members may have been a little crunched for time, too, since they spent at least part of their time last week considering a proposal to request that the Legislature criminalize the use of Common Core instructional materials. That motion, well-intentioned though it was, for the children, ultimately failed, so Texas won't be jailing teachers. At least not for that. Republicans on the board voted to adopt the textbooks, changes and all, rejecting a proposal to delay the decision until Dec. 1 for public input on the changes.
TFN also noted, in a press release, that at least some idiocies we previously mentioned had been removed by the publishers, so one and a half cheers for that:
During a months-long process, publishers made a number of improvements to their textbooks. Those improvements included removing inaccurate information promoting climate change denialism; deleting offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens; making clearer that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War; and revising passages that had promoted unfair negative stereotypes of Muslims. Scholars and the general public had ample opportunity to review and comment on those revisions.
However, the new textbooks also include passages that suggest Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and that the roots of democracy can be found in the Old Testament. Scholars from across the country have said such claims are inaccurate and mislead students about the historical record.
It's not clear whether the nation's universities are planning special remedial history classes for Texas high school graduates, or whether the little darlings' parents will now sue to have U.S. History (Texas edition) recognized as a legitimate course of study.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.