Sunday, March 14, 2010

Education in Tex-ass

As I hope I’ve made abundantly clear by now, I have absolutely no patience with religious fundamentalist activists (of any religion), and contempt for those who try to force their religion onto everyone else. In the US state of Texas, extremist christianists have managed to turn their state’s education system into mostly a politico-religious indoctrination system.

Texas buys all of its school textbooks on a statewide basis, which means that what they want ends up in textbooks throughout the country. The actions of the far right Republicans on the Texas State Board of Education mean that public school kids throughout the US will be subjected to a dumbed-down curriculum intended only to advance far right religious christianist ideology.

Specifically, on Friday the wingnuts managed to have Thomas Jefferson expunged from the social studies curriculum. The wingnuts tried to claim that Jefferson merely parroted other people’s ideas, but it was clear their real problem with Jefferson was that he was a Deist, not a Christian. We can tell this especially because he was replaced with that favourite of far-right christianists, John Calvin.

But that’s not all. According to the Huffington Post, “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.” The Board’s also insisting that the US be described as a “constitutional republic” and not as “democratic”. My guess is that this is because a theocracy, which is what these wingnuts want the US to become, can be a constitutional republic, but not a democracy. Texas teachers will also be required to express dates in the Christian “BC” and “AD” rather than the non-religious “BCE” and “CE”.

They’re not just promoting a radical christianist agenda, but also a general far right one: In studying the Bill of Rights, there will have to be special emphasis on the Second Amendment. The curriculum will celebrate "American exceptionalism" and the US “free enterprise” system. Students will be taught that to work, the system can’t have excessive government intervention. Apparently, they’ll also be taught that the decline in value of the US dollar has resulted from abandoning the gold standard.
There was also evident—and expected—racism in the wingnuts’ moves. They tried to dismiss the African American civil rights movement as leading to "unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes." They also defeated the many attempts to add the names of, or references to, important Hispanics in history.

If this was just about Texas marching down the road to becoming the Iran of the United States, it would be one thing. The issue here, however, is that Texas influences education throughout the US. Apparently, this is one reason why some schools are beginning to look at self-publishing texts or using open-source texts, ones that aren’t dumbed-down to meet Texas’ religious and political agenda.

Unlike Texas, other states still value real education.


Nik said...

Frightening stuff. Texas really is another place entirely...

Bjorn said...

Welcome to my Hell. this is where I live and this is only the tip of the iceberg. I want nothing more than to leave the USA for good and permanently. I am so tired of this nonsense. problem is i couldn't take my partner with me.

if only canada would have me...

toujoursdan said...

Canada is no paradise either. We have a Prime Minister who wants to march down the same road. Our science minister believes in the 6 day Genesis creation story and can't tell the difference between evolution and adaptation.

CBC News: Science minister's coyness on evolution worries researchers

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Sigh. I think maybe it's clear why I've been blogging more about far right religion lately—a little sunshine and all that. I just wish I knew what to do to stop them.