Do you think if Texas Gov. Rick Perry becomes president of the United States he will bring along his state’s education agency to run the U.S. Department of Education?
As our own schools begin a new year, we probably shouldn’t laugh.
The Texas board, you may remember, went through a series of contentious hearings in 2010 over what teachers should be teaching in the classroom come the fall of 2011. You know, things like creationism and no Darwin.
So, just in case people have forgotten what ended up being enacted, a high school history teacher named Craig Studer, in an op-ed for the Austin American Statesman, outlined what Texas children can expect this new school year.
For instance, the board mandated that the schools hold a Celebrate Freedom Week for 11th-graders, during which students will learn about our founding fathers. That sounds simple enough, Studer commented, except that the only founding fathers included in the curriculum are Benjamin Rush, John Hancock, John Jay, John Witherspoon, John Peter Muhlenberg, Charles Carroll and Jonathan Trumbull Sr. There’s no mention of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or John Adams. The board decided that the kids should have learned about these sometimes-controversial guys back in the eighth grade.
No textbooks will talk about “American imperialism,” only “American expansionism.” There will be no mention of the government’s use of propaganda during World War I, and instead of analyzing President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, the students will now “evaluate efforts by international organizations to undermine U.S. sovereignty.”
Texas students will learn nothing about the labor movement in the 20th century, Studer noted. There is to be no mention of the Fair Labor Standards Act or the National Labor Relations Act. No mention of strikes or any labor dispute. The words “labor movement” was removed from the so-called Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum. Instead, students will be taught to “understand how the free enterprise system drives technological innovation” like cell phones, computers and GPS devices.
Yes, the curriculum includes the “contributions” of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, but, Studer pointed out, they won’t read of Falwell’s claim that feminists and homosexuals were partially responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation and the NRA are all included in the texts. And students will be directed to “discuss the meaning of ‘In God We Trust.’ ”
“I am guessing that the Texas Education Agency realizes that students could never pass national exams while learning the state-mandated curriculum,” Studer added. “During the next decade, we should not be surprised when university professors lament that Texas students are not prepared for college.
“Malcolm X once said, ‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.’ ”
“You might remember a historical figure named Malcolm X,” Studer told Texas parents, “but your children won’t. Malcolm X is not in the social studies curriculum in Texas.”
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. firstname.lastname@example.org