Texas Board of Education At It Again

Ken AshfordEducationLeave a Comment

These guys kill me:

The [Texas] State Board of Education has appointed “review committees” made up largely of active and retired school teachers to draft new social studies curriculum standards as well as six “expert reviewers” to help shape the final document.

The standards, which the board will decide next spring, will influence new history, civics and geography textbooks.

The first draft for proposed standards in United States History Studies Since Reconstruction says students should be expected “to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority.”

And liberals?  Nope.

One board member told the press that he wanted to:

add James Dobson's Focus on the Family, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to the list of conservatives. Others have proposed adding talk show host Rush Limbaugh and the National Rifle Association.

To be fair, that same board member wanted to add liberal organizations to serve as a contrast, but I don't think that's the point.

I think in some high school classes, politics will arise. Civics, current events — that sort of thing.  I don't understand what relevance Sean Hannity would have to a history class though.

But in those rare occasions where it comes up, can one construct meaningful guidelines in the first place on the issue of political ideology?  Most people and institutions don't fall conveniently into a conservative/liberal scheme easily.  The ACLU, for example, often tarnished as a librul commie organization, takes dozens of case defending churches against government intrusion and defending religious liberty in public shools (so long as the school doesn't mandate or endorse that religion).  That's conservative.  Mike Huckabee is liberal on some of his viewpoints, yet the proposed curriculum wants to teach otherwise.

The proposed curriculum — aside from being biased — is simply miseducation in that it reduces complex issues and ideologies into two distinct, convenient, but ultimately not-in-the-real-world ideologies.

Texas has among the the lowest SAT scores among all the states, usually it is ranked #45 or under.  Maybe the Texas board of education should focus on, you know, that.  Just sayin'.