It also plays into Perry’s fundraising strategy for GOP Primary
As the State Board of Education (SBOE) did last year with the science curriculum in Texas, they will next attempt to do with the social studies curriculum. Known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, for social studies, which includes history, will be rewritten over the next year.
Here’s what the DMN had to say today about the six experts that are overseeing the rewriting process, Conservatives seek to shift focus of state social studies lessons.
Civil rights leaders César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall – whose names appear on schools, libraries, streets and parks across the U.S. – are given too much attention in Texas social studies classes, conservatives advising the state on curriculum standards say.
“To have César Chávez listed next to Ben Franklin” – as in the current standards – “is ludicrous,” wrote evangelical minister Peter Marshall, one of six experts advising the state as it develops new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. David Barton, president of Aledo-based WallBuilders, said in his review that Chávez, a Hispanic labor leader, “lacks the stature, impact and overall contributions of so many others.”
Although the actual standards are being drafted by teams of teachers, academics and community representatives, the education board appointed a panel of six experts to help guide the writing teams. Three of the experts, including Barton and Marshall, were appointed by Republican social conservatives on the board, while the other three experts – all professors at state universities in Texas – were appointed by the remaining Republicans and Democrats on the 15-member board.
Texas Freedom Network, a nonprofit group that has battled social conservatives on education issues, questioned the academic credentials of Barton and Marshall, and said their negative comments on Chávez are just the start of a “blacklist” of historical figures considered objectionable by social conservatives.
“It is what we expected from unqualified political activists put on this so-called panel of experts,” said Dan Quinn of the freedom network. “This is yet another step toward politicizing our children’s education.”
Barton, a former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party, said that because the U.S. is a republic rather than a democracy, the proper adjective for identifying U.S. values and processes should be “republican” rather than “democratic.” That means social studies books should discuss “republican” values in the U.S., his report said.
Vince at Capitol Annex recently chronicled some of the machinations of the Barton’s actions regarding the panel, ( “Expert Panel” Reviewing Texas Social Studies Curriculum Not All Experts, Barton’s Review Of Social Studies Standards Lacks Much To Be Desired (Including Actual Facts), and More David Barton: A Closer Look At His Analysis Of The Texas Social Studies TEKS). From those posts it’s obvious that Barton is using falsehoods and misquotes from history to try and justify teaching history with a religious bent. Here’s what the WallBuilders are about.
As the saying goes, “History is written by the victors.” Or In this case rewritten, and right now the far right of the Texas GOP is winning. As with science the far right radicals on the SBOE will attempt to give social studies a religious “conservative” bent in Texas.
As we move forward into the 2010 elections we all must remember that it’s these kinds of offices that the extreme members of the Texas GOP have done so well in taking over, many times under the radar. That’s why it is so important for Democrats, all over the state, to offer candidates that better represent Texas’ views in many of these races. Many of these people were also appointed by the governor, or a Perry appointee, which is another reason why who wins the governor’s race in 2010 is so important.
Kuff has more, The SBOE’s assault on history, on this topic as well as good links to the latest on Cynthia Dunbar to head the SBOE – which would be another radical move by Perry. Also read Phillip Martin posted on Perry’s fundraising numbers which explains why Perry’s failure to govern is exactly what the GOP donors want. And as today’s poll shows the further to the extreme right he goes, failure for the public, the better his poll numbers get in the primary, success for GOP.
All of this is why it is so important to have a strong Democrat at the top of the ticket next year that will point out the GOP’s failings in Texas relentlessly.