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Thread: Texas education board approves Conservative Curriculum changes by far right

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    Default Texas education board approves Conservative Curriculum changes by far right

    xas — A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.

    Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

    "We have been about conservatism versus liberalism," said Democrat Mavis Knight of Dallas, explaining her vote against the standards. "We have manipulated strands to insert what we want it to be in the document, regardless as to whether or not it's appropriate."

    Following three days of impassioned and acrimonious debate, the board gave preliminary approval to the new standards with a 10-5 party line vote. A final vote is expected in May, after a public comment period that could produce additional amendments and arguments.

    Decisions by the board – made up of lawyers, a dentist and a weekly newspaper publisher among others – can affect textbook content nationwide because Texas is one of publishers' biggest clients.

    Ultraconservatives wielded their power over hundreds of subjects this week, introducing and rejecting amendments on everything from the civil rights movement to global politics. Hostilities flared and prompted a walkout Thursday by one of the board's most prominent Democrats, Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi, who accused her colleagues of "whitewashing" curriculum standards.

    By late Thursday night, three other Democrats seemed to sense their futility and left, leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding "American exceptionalism" and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.

    "Some board members themselves acknowledged this morning that the process for revising curriculum standards in Texas is seriously broken, with politics and personal agendas dominating just about every decision," said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for religious freedom.

    Republican Terri Leo, a member of the powerful Christian conservative voting bloc, called the standards "world class" and "exceptional."

    Story continues below

    Board members argued about the classification of historic periods (still B.C. and A.D., rather than B.C.E. and C.E.); whether students should be required to explain the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on global politics (they will); and whether former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir should be required learning (she will).

    In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class.

    Conservatives beat back multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement.

    Numerous attempts to add the names or references to important Hispanics throughout history also were denied, inducing one amendment that would specify that Tejanos died at the Alamo alongside Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Another amendment deleted a requirement that sociology students "explain how institutional racism is evident in American society."

    Democrats did score a victory by deleting a portion of an amendment by Republican Don McLeroy suggesting that the civil rights movement led to "unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes."

    Fort Worth Republican Pat Hardy, a longtime teacher, voted for the new standards, but said she wished the board could work with a more cooperative spirit.

    "What we've done is we've taken a document that by nature is too long to begin with and then we've lengthened it some more," Hardy said, shortly after the vote. "Those long lists of names that we've put in there ... it's just too long.

    "I just think we failed to keep that in mind, it's hard for teachers to get through it all."http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-app_n_497440.html

    I can't even believe this shit. It's absolutely shocking to me.
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    leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding "American exceptionalism" and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.
    an amendment by Republican Don McLeroy suggesting that the civil rights movement led to "unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes."

    required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state


    !@#$%!

    So very wrong.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Oh,sigh. Hopeless.
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    Texas BOE Removes Jefferson From History Standard

    Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:09 PM, by Ed Brayton

    The Texas Freedom Network continues to live blog the Texas State Board of Education hearings where the collection of ignorant dolts on that board debate and amend the social studies standards. And it's getting downright surreal. They actually removed Thomas Jefferson and the Enlightenment from the history standards. Seriously.
    9:27 - The board is taking up remaining amendments on the high school world history course. 9:30 - Board member Cynthia Dunbar wants to change a standard having students study the impact of Enlightenment ideas on political revolutions from 1750 to the present. She wants to drop the reference to Enlightenment ideas (replacing with "the writings of") and to Thomas Jefferson. She adds Thomas Aquinas and others. Jefferson's ideas, she argues, were based on other political philosophers listed in the standards. We don't buy her argument at all. Board member Bob Craig of Lubbock points out that the curriculum writers clearly wanted to students to study Enlightenment ideas and Jefferson. Could Dunbar's problem be that Jefferson was a Deist? The board approves the amendment, taking Thomas Jefferson OUT of the world history standards.
    9:40 - We're just picking ourselves up off the floor. The board's far-right faction has spent months now proclaiming the importance of emphasizing America's exceptionalism in social studies classrooms. But today they voted to remove one of the greatest of America's Founders, Thomas Jefferson, from a standard about the influence of great political philosophers on political revolutions from 1750 to today.
    9:45 - Here's the amendment Dunbar changed: "explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present." Here's Dunbar's replacement standard, which passed: "explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone." Not only does Dunbar's amendment completely change the thrust of the standard. It also appalling drops one of the most influential political philosophers in American history -- Thomas Jefferson.
    9:51 - Dunbar's amendment striking Jefferson passed with the votes of the board's far-right members and board member Geraldine "Tincy" Miller of Dallas.
    The standard was about the Enlightenment and political revolutions that led to modern liberal democracy. So they removed the Enlightenment references and Thomas Jefferson, who played a key role in the two most prominent revolutions in the history of the Western world, and replaced them with Thomas Aquinas, who lived 500 years before the Enlightenment, and John Calvin, who lived 200 years before the Enlightenment and was a major figure in an entirely different period of history, the Reformation, which preceded the Enlightenment.
    Yes, you should, in fact, be mouthing the words "what the fuck" right about now.
    And the stupidity continues:
    11:21 - Board member Barbara Cargill wants to insert a discussion of the right to bear arms in a standard that focuses on First Amendment rights and the expression of various points of view. This is absurd. If they want students to study the right to bear arms, at least try to find an appropriate place in the standards for it. This is yet another example of politicians destroying the coherence of a curriculum document for no reason other than promoting ideological pet causes. Republican board member Bob Craig of Lubbock is suggesting a better place for such a standard. But the amendment passes anyway. The board's far-right faction is simply impervious to logic. 11:30 - Board member Pat Hardy notes that elsewhere the standards already require students to study each of the freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. No one seems to care.
    11:33 - Bob Craig tries, once again, to talk some sense into these folks. Board member Cynthia Dunbar argues that the original standard's focus on the rights of "petition, assembly, speech, and press in a democratic society" unfairly emphasizes the First Amendment over others. She suggests taking that out altogether if the Second Amendment isn't included. Board member Ken Mercer argues that the right to bear arms is too important not to include here. But it IS included in the standards. The purpose of the original standard is to have students understand the rights to free expression in a democratic society. The right to bear arms is not relevant to that purpose.
    Yep, that one passed too. Oh, and this about church and state:
    12:28 - Board member Mavis Knight offers the following amendment: "examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others." Knight points out that students should understand that the Founders believed religious freedom was so important that they insisted on separation of church and state. 12:32 - Board member Cynthia Dunbar argues that the Founders didn't intend for separation of church and state in America. And she's off on a long lecture about why the Founders intended to promote religion. She calls this amendment "not historically accurate."
    12:35 - Knight's amendment fails on a straight party-line vote, 5-10. Republicans vote no, Democrats vote yes.
    12:38 - Let the word go out here: The Texas State Board of Education today refused to require that students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others. They voted to lie to students by omission.
    If you have children in school in Texas, I strongly suggest moving.

    Texas BOE Removes Jefferson From History Standard : Dispatches from the Culture Wars
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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    They took Thomas Jefferson out? I seriously would never put my kids in a school system like this. I just can't believe someone hasn't filed suit over it. If I was a parent I'd be down at the local court house in about two seconds flat to get this horse shit stopped.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    And in a bold move Texas snatches the crown as the craziest state away from Florida.

    It's funny how these will be the same conservatives that scream about a 'socialist agenda' but then vote to brainwash generations of students with a rewrite of history that meshes with their conservative bullshit.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    as the saying goes.. liberals like information to be factual.. conservatives like information to be conservative.
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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    I read something last week about nationalizing the text books for all States besides, Texas and Alaska.

    Grants to Develop, Test Next-Generation Teaching Tools in Math and Literacy



    Innovative assessments and activities to support students and teachers in the classroom




    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation




    SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced 15 grants totaling more than $19.5 million to support the development and testing of prototype classroom assessments and instructional tools in math and literacy to help educators better prepare all students for success beyond high school. The investments are part of the foundation’s support of the effort to build a coherent system of consistent college- and career-ready standards, aligned assessments, and teaching tools to strengthen teacher effectiveness and dramatically improve student achievement.

    The assessments and instructional tools will be aligned with the college- and career-ready standards for math and literacy that are being developed by 48 states in coordination with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. These standards will provide clear and consistent guidelines for teachers, school leaders, and parents on what students need to know at each grade level to be prepared to succeed at college-level work. The accompanying assessments will help to respond to the demand for teaching tools that meet the standards bar.

    “These states have shown great leadership and commitment, working together to develop consistent, clear college- and career-ready standards,” said Vicki L. Phillips, Director of Education, College-Ready, at the foundation. “Providing teachers with the resources and support they need to teach creatively and effectively is the next step. Innovative and well-designed classroom assessments will provide vital feedback to help teachers target their instruction and prepare all students for success beyond high school.”

    Projects in this phase of the work are focused in two key areas: (1) the development of prototype math and literacy assessments and instructional tools, including model lesson units, and (2) research and field testing to ensure the assessments and tools are effective, aligned with standards, and internationally benchmarked. Organizations receiving grants include programs at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Texas at Austin, school districts and networks, curriculum developers, and leading nonprofits working to improve education for all students.

    “The federal Race to the Top fund gives states powerful new incentives to invest in more robust assessment systems that can provide a clearer picture of student learning and teacher effectiveness,” said Carina Wong, Deputy Director, Education, at the foundation. “This is a great opportunity for innovations in classroom assessment that can be shared across states while still allowing for local flexibility in how to teach.”

    Sites selected to pilot this first phase of math assessments are Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Hamilton County, Tenn.; New York City; and six Kentucky school districts working with the state’s Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. Assessments also will be field tested at the Denver School of Science and Technology and in participating schools in the Cristo Rey and National Council of La Raza networks.

    In both math and literacy, the foundation’s goal is to support the creation of different forms of assessment and support materials that teachers, districts, and states can use. Once the research is completed and the materials validated, the foundation will work with its partners to refine the assessments and make them universally available. In math, the prototype assessments developed by the foundation’s partners will emphasize real-world problem solving and the ability to reason coherently. In literacy, assessments and materials will be developed to enable teachers across all academic subjects—not just English/language arts—to reinforce the skills students need to succeed in college, focusing on the ability to comprehend complex texts and write in ways that demonstrate that understanding.

    The grants announced today advance the foundation’s efforts to help ensure all young people in the United States graduate from high school ready for college and obtain an education beyond high school that prepares them to succeed in the global economy. Since 2000, the foundation has invested $5 billion to prepare all students—particularly low-income and minority youth—to succeed in college, career, and life.
    Grants to Develop, Test Next-Generation Teaching Tools in Math and Literacy | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
    Last edited by JamieElizabeth; March 13th, 2010 at 02:05 PM.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    ^^Oh come on. Trying to raise the national standards for math & literacy to shore up our crumbling educational system is completely different from rewriting history to fit a certain political ideology.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Here's a few more things...I love the replacement of Jefferson with Calvin. And I can't believe a lawsuit hasn't yet been filed over this. Constitutional Republic? Are they fucking kidding me? To be honest, this scares the shit out of me. If these people aren't stopped America truly will become a theocracy.

    – To avoid exposing students to “transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else,” the Board struck the curriculum’s reference to “sex and gender as social constructs.”

    – The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

    – The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”

    – The Board struck the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.”
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    I'm waiting for them to make good on their threat to secede. We'll miss you, McJag but you can come visit from the Christianist Republic of Texas as long as your passport is valid.


    *edit. whoops...technically speaking America is a constitutional republic but somehow they make it sounds wrong, particularly when they're going to use that term to ram the 2nd amendment down throats.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
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    Gold Member Pippin69's Avatar
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    The only good thing about all this is no kid actually reads their textbooks, so the whole thing is moot anyway.
    "Just because I walked into a turd supermarket doesn't mean I have to buy anything." - John Oliver

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    Excuse me while I go kiss the Massachusetts ground.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Texas school text books set the tone for what the rest of country uses- the publishers use it as a guide. It has to do with the size of the student poulation there. This will spread to the rest of the country soon enough.



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    This bullshit in Texas is actually a good argument for national standardized textbooks. Why should the kids in Texas get an inferior education because the adults in charge are retards?

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