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Rewriting History, Literally

May 29th, 2010

The conservative majority on the Texas state school board is pushing through a set of changes to History and Social Studies textbooks which present a view of these subjects more in line with politicized, right-wing thinking. The school board, made up of ten Republicans and five Democrats, is dominated by a conservative Christian bloc. None on the school board are experts in the field of History or Social Sciences, and have rejected the opinions given by those who are experts in those fields. The board is not interested in making changes across the board, but instead only in fields which have a political bearing. The changes reflect a definite bias toward conservative Christian biases. Therefore, it is blindingly clear that this is not a debate over balanced education, but rather the desire to dominate the education of children with political views rather than objective information.

Should you think this is exaggeration, then consider this board member as an example:

Board member Cynthia Dunbar, a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School and author of a book declaring that America’s founders created a theocratic government, opened the final board session with a prayer for “a Christian land governed by Christian principles.” She explained the ideology driving curriculum changes: “[N]o one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia, or the charter of New England … the same objective is present — a Christian land governed by Christian principles.”

Well, I’m glad the board members have no preconceived notions.

This will affect more than Texas: since so many textbooks are made for Texas’ large population, textbook publishers often apply these changes nationwide. This fact is not lost on the school board, the conservative members of which have obviously taken the cue from national conservative leaders and gone whole-hog with the now-popular out-and-out divisive wingnut strategy. That strategy is to claim a liberal bias which, if it exists, is mild, and “counter” it with such an outrageously one-sided bag of rabid right-wing polemics as to make one gag.

Among the proposed changes:

  • increased emphasis on the ideas of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis;
  • increased attention to Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich;
  • new entries on the NRA and Phyllis Schlafly, replacing removed entries on Kennedy and César Chávez;
  • requirements to study right-wing personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, but no requirements to study left-wing commentators;
  • critical analyses of “unintended consequences” of Title IX, affirmative action, and the Great Society;
  • change in terms used–e.g., “capitalism” changed to “free enterprise,” “imperialism” where applied to the U.S. will be called “expansionism,” and references to a “democratic” society are replaced with references to a “republic”–not because of the meaning of the words, but instead because of their connections to political parties;
  • slavery de-emphasized as a factor in the causes of the Civil War;
  • “slave trade” now referred to as the “triangle trade”;
  • insertion of critical analyses of Social Security and Medicare in the context of conservative critiques;
  • increased scrutiny of the idea of separation of church and state;
  • Thomas Jefferson’s role in U.S. history to be de-emphasized, while the roles of Christian personages such as John Calvin to be more prominent;
  • lessons framing the United Nations as detrimental to U.S. sovereignty;
  • watered-down coverage of the Civil Rights movement;
  • insertion of lessons regarding causes and key organizations of the conservative movement, including the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority;
  • major political ideas examined under the paradigm of “Laws of nature and nature’s God”;
  • the image of Joe McCarthy will be cleaned up; and
  • where President Obama will be mentioned, he will be referred to, unlike all other modern presidents, by his full name–Barack Hussein Obama.

Well, these are hardly political at all, wouldn’t you agree?

All of this, of course, is supposedly to “remove the liberal bias” from existing education standards. In short, to counter what is claimed to be a perceived liberal bias, make the whole shebang blindingly conservative, knowing that the nation will tilt toward you.

Welcome to Fox Education.

  1. K. Engels
    May 29th, 2010 at 22:55 | #1

    Gee maybe I should take a job in North Korea… Their would be less ideology influencing the education…

  2. matthew
    May 30th, 2010 at 22:37 | #2


    What is happening to the USA?
    Is this the nadir or are there lower depths to go?

  3. Tim Kane
    May 31st, 2010 at 07:32 | #3

    Another chapter in a society attempting to rapidly self-destruct.

    Keep in mind, nothing happens without money behind it. Plutocrats need compliant idiots in order to rule.

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