Texas textbook adoption: a critical juncture

The textbook wars are on.  There are many indications that there are attempts to substantially revise history.

The highly anticipated public hearing on the standards for the Social Studies curriculum is underway at the Texas State Board of Education. Over fifty people are signed up to speak, however it is highly unlikely they will get to all of them-especially since they granted the first member of the public over 20 minutes at the podium (after the chairwoman explained each speaker would be granted three minutes). Before today, the board has heard 17 hours of testimony from 116 speakers, and has been sent over 14,000 e-mails regarding the curriculum. Today’s speakers have primarily expressed concern that their ethnic group or religion is being excluded from the Social Studies curriculum-and those religions include Christianity, Judaism, and Sikhism. One speaker pleaded that different genocides will taught to children in the future. Another begged the board to include war heroes and Congressional Medal of Honor winners in its standards. The mood inside is subdued, especially following a scolding from the chairwoman regarding audience applause.

via INSIDE the Texas State Board of Ed Hearing « Liveshots. (http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/10/inside-the-texas-state-board-of-ed-hearing/?test=latestnews accessed 3/10/2010)

Look and decide for yourself.  Here’s a snippet from a page that has source material so that you can see the proposals.

Background

The State Board of Education (SBOE) has legislative authority to adopt the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for each subject of the required curriculum. SBOE members nominated educators, parents, business and industry representatives, and employers to serve on the review committees.


Proposals including amendments made by the State Board of Education in January 2010

Kindergarten – Grade 5

Grade 6 – Grade 8

United States History Studies Since 1877

The following documents show the historical figures that are included in the latest draft revisions to the social studies TEKS.

Alphabetized list of all names following “including” with grade level or course designation
Alphabetized list of all names following “such as” with grade level or course designation
Updated color-coded list: Historical Figures by Grade Level (more detailed)
Updated color-coded list: Historical Figures by Grade Level (less detailed – black & red)

via Texas Education Agency – Social Studies TEKS. (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=3643 accessed 3/10/2010).

Take a special look at United States History Studies Since 1877.  Never mind that there was “a little bit” of history to this country prior to 1877.  Let’s make a simple test and see if General Nathanael Greene is mentioned.  Who is he?  Only the General who, in a critical battle, forced Cornwallis to flee to New York seeking to resupply — only to discover that the French blockade had cut off the supply route from England. With a smaller and inferior force, the American general even while losing the battle so decimated Cornwallis’ superior army that it led to the British surrender in short order.

That was at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Now you know why I like that story!  But it won’t be in these history books.

Greene’s strategy is revealed here:

Greene now resolved upon the unfolding of his strategy, if he could lure Cornwallis to Guilford Court House, North Carolina, he would have a battleground of his own choosing for his inferior army and at the same time Cornwallis would be unusually distant from his main base of supplies at Wilmington. Greene sent word to all American detachments to consolidate and meet at Guilford Court House. At this time Greene wrote to Washington that his retreating was almost at an end as he hoped to give battle to Cornwallis on ground of his own choosing.

via General Nathanael Greene. (http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/greene.html accessed 3/10/2010)

Now I must admit that I don’t know if current American history texts include pre-1977 events — but they should.  I heard a snippet in a radio news report recently (don’t recall the source) that a statement had been made that students today don’t know anything about that older history and can’t relate to it.  Duh!  Certainly not if it’s not part of the curriculum!  That’s the point of teaching:  not only to let them know about it but also to be able to relate to it at least to an extent to appreciate the decades and centuries of sacrifice and hardship that has forged this nation.

I do know where a complete history can be found: William Bennett Creates Innovative History Series for Grades 8-12 (a shameless plug for a prior blog of mine).

Here’s what I say:

Find the members here.  If if you click on this link, you can find the board member for any Texas county.

The member for SBOE District 5 which covers a lot of central Texas and the Hill Country is: Ken Mercer
P.O. Box 781301
San Antonio, TX 78278-1301
512-463-9007
sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us

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About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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6 Responses to Texas textbook adoption: a critical juncture

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review (according to Wordpress) | Musings of Captain Justice

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    At some point Texas’s craziness will be so pronounced that publishers will simply refuse to go along. Looking at some of the foolish things done in the past two days — the rejection of discussion of the Enlightenment, the demotion of Thomas Jefferson, the insults to blacks and Hispanics — I can’t help but think that point is very close, if not already surpassed.

    • Gil Jones says:

      I wish some pressure would come from publishers … but it won’t. For them, it’s simply about the money. The pressure must come from serious, moderate, thinking Americans who want to preserve not only their heritage (and that of all sectors of that heritage, good and bad), but their freedom. The first thing “they” want to confiscate and corrupt is our history. When “we” are brainwashed into forgetting who we are, then we … are no longer “We.”

  3. Ed Darrell says:

    P.S.: This isn’t a textbook adoption process. That won’t come for another few years, if there’s any money left. Rick Perry’s doing his best to stop such spending. Let ’em study Cheetos packages, Perry says.

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    It goes way beyond just “mentioning” people in history. One of the issues is the listing of these people at all — why not leave it up to people in the classroom? By making a list, we eliminate discussion of almost everyone else.

    It’s too late for social studies, English and science. This foul board has already done too much damage. Vote right in November, and pray for our schools and children. Pray that their teachers are good, and pray that the teachers get the support they need to do the job the SBOE has failed to do.

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