The Texas Board of Education has allowed for, and has advanced plans for a massive restructuring of school books for that state that would place less emphasis on historical truth and much more emphasis on the role of Christianity in our nation’s founding. When queried about the proposed changes, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan acknowledged that the changes were not being implemented by historians, rather, by politicians. What is the extent of the rewriting process? The Board is eliminating Edward Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, and many other liberal figures from the state’s curriculum!
Conservatives make a claim that the changes are "overdue", and that the old, classical text-book content de-emphasized religion. They are advancing conservative ideology, even in instances where it conflicts with the labors of scholars who have consistently been objective and have striven for accuracy in the study of American History.
These conservatives have determined that the capture and enslavement of Negros prior to the civil war will be seen in a perception that makes it near-reasonable; it will be re-named, "The Atlantic triangular trade". The Atlantic triangular trade is a non-judgmental term that refers to trading during 17th to early 19th century. At that time ships carrying slaves, crops, and manufactured goods, traveled between West Africa, the Caribbean, and British North America, particularly New England. The slaves were considered to be part and parcel of the crop trade; they were fundamental to the growing of the crops in America. In addition, students will find considerably more emphasis on the problems associated with affirmative action.
The recent invasion of Iraq will be made to seem a noble thing. "Imperialism" will be changed to "Expansionism". "Expansionism",viewed as a positive attribute, will allow us to continue to invade and conquer other nations, to seize their national treasuries, to overthrow by military force their rulers, to install an Americanized form of government; in this capacity we ignore out own short-comings, our corruption, and our growing licentiousness. This use of "expansionism" falls well into place with the notion of those who are changing textbooks, promoting the new concept, “American exceptionalism", which sees the United States as far superior to all other nations, by virtue of her original ideals, and her struggle to achieve independence. As a superior entity we can clearly ignore the very principles on which the “exceptionalism” is based.
Thomas Jefferson we know was adamant in his belief in the separation of Church and State; Thomas Jefferson will be de-empathized to the point where he will be nearly unheard of. A new interpretation of the de-valuation of the Dollar, and the abandonment of the gold standard, these things completely out of touch with the views of leading economists, are to be implemented .
One Texas educator, Phillip VanFossen, head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and a professor of social studies education at Purdue University, made the point that the new curriculum is driven by ideology, and that what bothers him is that important skills — debate and discussion, constructing arguments — are being lost.
We might construe his viewpoint as meaning that students are being taught to believe, without question, what they are told, rather than to think and form opinions, or to pursue conflicting ideas.
The Christian Science Monitor has declared that "It's more than Darwin that's being changed!" "..many of the 48 million textbooks it (Texas Board of Education) buys per year, for 10 years, will represent a Republican partisan agenda and a new emphasis on Christian beliefs."
Many other changes, about 100, are also pending. For example the issue of how we view Islam is reviewed.
Professor VanFossen, quoted earlier in this article warns that, “Decisions that are made in Texas have a ripple effect across the country".
The damage is being done. It may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Separation of Church and State is important. Truth is important. In this day when Conservatives transcend the law, ignore our constitution, go beyond all previous limits in accepting funding from profit motivated groups, we are seeing a decline in the very principles our founding fathers and the American Patriots fought for. We have entered a new era, a potentially ugly era, and thinking Americans should be vigilant not to allow the irrationality and vanity that precipitates these changes.