In an article I wrote two years ago, I expressed my concerns about worldwide religious and political fanatics trying to rewrite history and science books in order to model them after their own narrow agendas. Much of my expressed unease was scoffed at. Apparently those fears however are now coming to fruition in Texas.
Being one of the largest purchasers of kindergarten through 12th grade textbooks in the country, the Texas State Board of Education with its nearly five million students has a large influence on what is published in not only its own state, but nationwide as well.
Where that becomes a problem for the rest of us, is when a lame-duck session of the BOE has now succeeded in twisting history, science and social studies primers in order to conform to their right-wing notions, knowing full well that they’re about to be booted out of office and that the soon-to-be-published texts will be used for at least ten years down the road.
In a move toward the GOP’s political center, Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist and leader of the board's far-right conservative faction, was voted out of office during Texas' Republican primaries. Seeing the end of his considerable influence drawing to a close soon, he seems determined to turn socio-political studies in his state into a training ground for Southern Christian thinking with possible overtones of racism.
Maybe he and his seven ultra-conservative associates can explain the following questions:
Obviously Texans don’t know nearly a century and a half after the event, that the South lost the Civil War. Why else would a demand be introduced that defeated Confederate General Stonewall Jackson’s leadership skills be taught alongside and in contrast to President Abraham Lincoln’s?
Why would his committee push for an amendment to remove all mention of such men as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader, and then demand that in their place such people as Phyllis Schlafly, and influences such as The Contract with America, the Moral Majority, the right-wing Heritage Foundation and the National Rifle Association be taught in their place? Others at the meeting also insisted that even though their very first “convention” was held just recently, that the Tea Party’s influence on American History be included in the new schoolbooks?
In a move that seemed to try to eliminate or minimize any mention of the civil rights movement’s influence on U.S. History, they proposed removing any references to the contributions of race in our national identity. On the second day of meetings it was proposed and rejected that the names of two Hispanic and one Black Medal of Honor winner be included in a World History book.