This is getting to be a familiar scenario: The Texas Board of Education, preparing to adopt new curriculum standards, makes our schoolchildren’s textbooks a matter of highly partisan wrangling.
When the board met last week to discuss what to teach Texas’s; public school students in history, geography, government and economics, their preliminary druthers were heavily weighted in favor of the blatantly divisive and ideological views of the board’s conservative majority.
In May 2009, reported Scharrer, an exasperated Leticia Van de Putte, Democratic senator from San Antonio, told the Senate that the board had become the “laughingstock of the nation” under the two-year leadership of Don McLeroy, a Bryan dentist who believes the Earth is about 6,000 years old.
This pattern would be troublesome in any agency, but when it concerns the very foundation of what we teach our 4.8 million public school students, how we equip them to grow into functioning adults and to compete in a national and international market, it is untenable. (via One more time: Texas education board yet again promotes ideology over academics | Editorial | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.)
In Texas the biggest chasm, and the biggest fights over ideology, have always taken place in the School Board and Board of Education elections. I find it sad that the education I was given in the 1960’s was probably head and shoulders above what will now be taught to my grandkids. Open minded, science based education has become the missing link in Texas political culture. Sadly, as goes Texas so goes the rest of the nation due to the Texas market for school books.
Sometimes you have to wonder at the rest of the nation’s blindness in watching Texas education practices become the national norm…From President Bush’s No Child Left Behind and it’s reliance on skills testing while cutting costs to the conservative block’s block on textbooks that really teach, Texas isn’t leading this country’s education system anywhere but to the bottom. I guess that could be the idea. If everyone is “dumbed down” to your level, the playing field is pretty level…Until that is, you have to compete on the international stage…
Hell, even Paul Krugman has noticed this little game being played in the wasteland of news coverage and asked what gives them the right to set the nations educational standards…