Whose History is It?
POSTED: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 10:21pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 4:12am
Left and right clash in Austin...
Let’s face it, politics is part of everything these days, even education.
And when it comes to social studies and History in Texas, the battle lines are drawn.
We tend to think there is no liberal history or conservative history, just history. Well, that just shows how naïve we can be.
The State Board of Education is hearing the arguments now, and all the usual suspects are there…
The Board, having weighed in on what is and isn’t science, are now tackling social studies and history.
“And unfortunately what we’re into right now is personalities and politics," says Dan Kouri of the Texas State Teachers Association, "and organizations with larger political agendas.”
A team of teachers and researchers have spent the last year writing the new curriculum, but now the public weighs in, along with a 6 member panel of other experts.
“I think what we’re seeing today is fallout from what happened with the language arts and science standards over the last two years," says Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network. "Teams came up with really good sound standards based on god scholarship and the state board pretty much through them out and adopted changes based on pretty much political and personal agendas.”
This panel includes 3 members, one of whom is an academic, appointed by conservative members of the board, and three others appointed by the liberal members.
They will tackle issues like whether there is too much mention of figures like Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez, and not enough about the religious roots of the founding fathers.
“I totally agree with separation of church and state," Dave Barton of Wall Builders told us. "and it was actually ministers who introduced that when they came to America. What I totally disagree with is the Court’s 1947 redefinition that separation means secularization. And I think we have gone too far in that direction. Our focus at Wall Builders is simply getting history right, all aspects of it including religious history.”
“History should be the history," Kouri says. "It shouldn’t be who can muster 8 votes so we can make history look this way or that way.”
Still others point out that we rank near the bottom in SAT scores and 36th in high school graduation rates.
So maybe there are other issues to tackle while we’re at it.