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TEXAS TEXTBOOK MASSACRE Education Board OKs Radical Changes, Thomas Jefferson Cu

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Bethany Beightol
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« on: March 13, 2010, 04:11:31 pm »

TEXAS TEXTBOOK MASSACRE
Education Board OKs Radical Changes, Thomas Jefferson Cut From Curriculum
'Ultraconservatives' Dominate Board... New Texts Could Be 'Taught To Millions Of Students For The Next Decade'... See A List Of The Changes



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Bethany Beightol
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2010, 04:21:17 pm »

Texas Textbook MASSACRE: 'Ultraconservatives' Approve Radical Changes To State Education Curriculum

First Posted: 03-13-10 03:18 PM   |   Updated: 03-13-10 04:03 PM


AUSTIN, Texas - 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.



The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum's world history standards on Enlightenment thinking, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

From the Texas Freedom Network's live-blog of the board hearing:

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.

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.
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Bethany Beightol
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2010, 04:31:18 pm »

No church-state separation



"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." “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”
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Bethany Beightol
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2010, 04:32:21 pm »

U.S. no longer a 'democracy'



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.
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2010, 04:33:36 pm »

Hip-hop not culturally significant



Conservatives beat back multiple attempts to include hip-hop as an example of a significant cultural movement.
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Bethany Beightol
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2010, 04:35:23 pm »

All religions equal under Constitution?



The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2010, 04:36:16 pm »

Preserving McCarthy's legacy



"Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include 'how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.' The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States."
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Bethany Beightol
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2010, 04:57:59 pm »

'Conservative resurgence'



"They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about 'the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.'" The Dallas Morning News noted that "high school students will learn about leading conservative groups from the 1980s and 1990s – but not about liberal or minority rights groups."
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2010, 04:59:44 pm »

'Transexuals and who knows what else'



"Board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, objected to a standard for a high school sociology course that addressed the difference between sex and gender. It was eliminated in a 9-to-6 vote. She worried that a discussion of that issue would lead students into the world of 'transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else.'"
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Bethany Beightol
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2010, 05:01:50 pm »

'Capitalism' becomes 'free-enterprise system'



"Members voted to polish up references to the American 'free enterprise' economic system and removed most mentions of 'capitalism,' a word that board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said has a negative connotation."
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2010, 05:03:14 pm »

Reagan yes, Kennedy no



"Board members also rejected requiring history teachers and textbooks to provide coverage on the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, while the late President Ronald Reagan was elevated to more prominent coverage."
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2010, 05:04:23 pm »

Hispanics died at the Alamo?



With all five minority members dissenting, the conservative-dominated panel voted 10-5 to endorse the proposed standards after rejecting an effort to specifically mention that Tejanos were among the fallen heroes of the Alamo. "I am very distressed," said Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, who sponsored the unsuccessful amendment. "Until we are ready to tell the truth about history, we don't have a good history or social studies textbook."
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2010, 05:05:36 pm »

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.
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2010, 05:06:11 pm »

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."

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."
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Bethany Beightol
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2010, 05:13:38 pm »

rillem =


The Texas revisionists should also point out that when Reagan cut the top marginal tax rate to 28% with the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, later that year the stock market crashed, just like it did the last time the Republicans tried that in 1929. By 1991, we were in the worst recession since the Republican Great Depression of the 1930's.

Reagan's 1984 economic recovery that the cons are so fond of celebrating, occurred while the top marginal tax rate was at 50%. That's not a low tax rate. That's about what it is in the average Western European country. That's 10.3% higher than it was under Clinton after Clinton raised the top rate to 39.7% in 1993. Thus proving irrefutably that the economy and the middle class do better when the wealthy are taxed at a higher rate.

Let's join with conservatives who want to lionize Reagan and ask them if Reagan was so great surely they would support returning to the tax rates as they were under Reagan that brought America out of the recession of early 1980's? That's right conservatives. If you want to properly honor Reagan, then you need to support a 50% top marginal tax rate.
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