Revisionist Education – Dog Help Us

I thought Church and State were separated long ago.  Apparently Texas hasn’t received that message.

This article in the Toronto Star has me concerned about the liberties taken by the curriculum writers of education.

“Farewell, Thomas Jefferson.  Sayonara, Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, and 50 Cent.  Adios, Cesar Chavez.  And a big welcome-back hug to Phyllis Schlafly, Newt Gingrich, and the ghosts of Stonewall Jackson and Joseph McCarthy.”

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IMAGE FROM DREAMSTIME

The Texas Board of Education has been given preliminary approval to more than 100 controversial and ideologically driven amendments to state curriculum standards.  We’re not talking about things like 2+2 = 4 or proper nouns should always be capitalized.  We’re talking about changing history and social studies to make it like things never happened.  Or at the very least making less of a fuss about the people and events, almost in an effort or hope that people will forget about it.  What kind of a message is this teaching our children?  If you don’t like what happened, you can change it?!  That’s not how it works, once it’s happened, it’s well, happened.  Change can only happen in a forward motion, not backward.  Or am I just naive when I think of it that way.

Among the points with these changes that bother me the most are:

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution – the changes take this completely out of the science curriculum.  Now I have my religious beliefs, but along side of those beliefs I truly believe in the Theory of Evolution.  I completed my degree in Anthropology and I find it hard to dispute what science has shown to be true. This newly written curriculum will state that humans have existed for only 6,000 years, for example, or that they were created in their present form by God, or that they once shared the earth with dinosaurs.  I find this very funny when the Bible itself gives an answer to this whole calendar/timeline debate: “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”  2 Peter 3:8 Using this scripture alone means that humans have been on the earth for 6 million years, using their own proof and explanations.

Of course two of the biggest problems I have with dropping the Theory of Evolution are completely centred on education.  What happens to those students when they write standardized tests, they haven’t covered this section of the American curriculum because it doesn’t exist to them, but it will surely be on the test.  Also, what happens when these students get to university and are all of a sudden faced with the science of evolution, something that they have not seen up to this point.  Not really setting the students up for success now are they?!

Latinos Don’t Matter – That’s pretty much what the new curriculum will be teaching the students.  Funny considering this is a state whose population is 36.5 per cent Latino.  Almost 40% of you just don’t seem to matter very much any more.  Why do I say this?  Because references to Latino heroes are to be played down.  They just aren’t as important as they used to be.  Sorry, but you just count in the history of the States or Texas.  Pretty sad isn’t it?

Thomas Jefferson, who? -  Some important figures are being downgraded in this new curriculum too.  Although Thomas Jefferson was a Founding Father of the United States his role is going to be downplayed because his beliefs then fly in the face of what conservation leaders now.  Heaven forbid, he wanted the division between religion and politics.  How dare he make such a suggestion?

Sure the public will have 30 days in which to comment on the revisions.  Do I really think it will make a difference?  Not from the sounds of it.

Perhaps my favourite quote in the article is this: “I disagree with these experts,” said Don McLeroy, a dentist, who heads the conservative bloc on the Texas board. “Somebody’s got to stand up to experts that are just … I think, I don’t know why they’re doing it. They’re wonderful people.”

I don’t know why they’re doing it?!  Educate yourself, find out why.  Don’t just think they are wrong. They’re wonderful people?!  What the hell does that mean?  And this is an elected official.  Perhaps this explains why the changes are going on in Texas, the government themselves don’t have any idea what they are talking about.

During its deliberations, the Texas board consulted no historians, sociologists, or economists.  Just how did they come up with these changes if they didn’t consult anyone?  I think the sky is brown, can I change the science curriculum to reflect that?  I haven’t checked with anyone, but I think it’s true, so it must be, right?

It just scares me how a group of politicians (and educators) can completely change how they want history to be portrayed because it doesn’t meet with their religious ideals.  Isn’t this what has been going on through some of the most war torn places – Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan.  Maybe that is a stretch, but I don’t really think so when you consider the fact that the United States is supposed to be a progressive nation, will to accept all.  Or does the Statue of Liberty have it completely wrong?!

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Image borrowed from Wikipedia, yes, Wikipedia, get over it.

Categories: Crazy Stuff, School