How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Free Thinker, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. "The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”

    Views like these are relatively common in East Texas, a region that prides itself on being the buckle of the Bible Belt. But McLeroy is no ordinary citizen. The jovial creationist sits on the Texas State Board of Education, where he is one of the leaders of an activist bloc that holds enormous sway over the body’s decisions. As the state goes through the once-in-a-decade process of rewriting the standards for its textbooks, the faction is using its clout to infuse them with ultraconservative ideals. Among other things, they aim to rehabilitate Joseph McCarthy, bring global-warming denial into science class, and downplay the contributions of the civil rights movement.

    Battles over textbooks are nothing new, especially in Texas, where bitter skirmishes regularly erupt over everything from sex education to phonics and new math. But never before has the board’s right wing wielded so much power over the writing of the state’s standards. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas. The reasons for this are economic: Texas is the nation’s second-largest textbook market and one of the few biggies where the state picks what books schools can buy rather than leaving it up to the whims of local districts, which means publishers that get their books approved can count on millions of dollars in sales. As a result, the Lone Star State has outsized influence over the reading material used in classrooms nationwide, since publishers craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers. As one senior industry executive told me, “Publishers will do whatever it takes to get on the Texas list.”
  2. And when liberals are in charge, our kids get to be as smart as the stupid kids.

    Berkeley's Unbearable Whiteness of Science
    By Thomas Lifson
    January 04, 2010

    The racial madness that has left-wing America in its thrall finds its apogee in the Berkeley, California public schools. Berkeley High School is now poised to eliminate science laboratory classes because "science labs were largely classes for white students." Eric Klein writes in The East Bay Express:

    Five science teachers will lose their jobs if the proposal is adopted when the School Board meets next week:

    All Berkeley High students, whatever their race, would lose the opportunity to get a solid grounding in science, opening up the door to achievement in higher education and life via scientific study. Notes Klein:

    So in order to "help" black and Latino students, the idea is to eliminate the opportunity for said students to make something of themselves through science. Those students who excel will be disfavored, while those who do not will be given more resources. The problem is that science training is one of the elements of educataion least susceptible to the multicultural indoctrination that pervades education in Berekeley (and far too many other places). Replacing science with something dreamed up by the education-school-trained "experts" is unlikely to bring any improvement, even for its purported beneficiaries.

    The sheer racism of identifying science as something primarily for whites seems not to penetrate the addled minds of those who fancy themselves advocates for black and Latino students. The absence of any consideration of Asian students is also striking. The city of Berkeley has more Asian households (12,641) than black households (10,874) or Latino households (8,466).

    Consider that the university which makes its home in Berkeley and dominates both local employment and community's character has a majority undergraduate population of Asian students, thanks to the fact that California voters approved a state law eliminating racial preferences in state institutions. The science majors at the University of California, Berkeley overwhelmingly comprise Asian students. U.C. Berkeley also boasts 21 faculty members who have won Nobel Prizes, primarily in the sciences. The list of laureates includes two Asians and one Latino, all three science winners.

    Aside from the repulsive racism of this move, the broader issue to be considered is whether society is better-served by cutting down the achievers and investing in the stragglers -- or whether everyone benefits from the achievements of those who apply themselves enough to excel. I have no hesitation in saying that I am in the latter camp. How does it benefit anyone to have an America made up of mediocre minds?

    As a matter of simple justice, it makes no sense to favor those who do not adapt to the norms and expectations of schooling and persist in behaviors that lead to failure. Berkeley High's worse-than-average performance among black and Latino students almost certainly has something to do with the ideology informing its approach to racial problems. Teaching people that they are victims does nothing to encourage excellence. But rather than reconsider its failing efforts, Berkeley High is doubling the dosage of a medicine that isn't working, and which carries bad side effects.

    If the Berkeley public schools go ahead with this plan, they deserve condemnation and ridicule on a national scale.
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    This is what Vhehn would prefer to see.