Messing With Texas Textbooks

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One of the tasks of the Texas State Board of Education is to update curriculum standards and textbooks for Texas schoolchildren. The Texas school system is so large — 4.8 million textbook-reading schoolchildren as of 2011 — that revisions made by the board are often included in school books across the country, though digital technology has lessened this effect in recent years. In 2010, the board got a lot of attention when it approved over 100 amendments — many of which had a very clear conservative political agenda — to the social studies and economics curriculum standards. Here are some of the more pointed proposals.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale in 1800. Credit: White House Historical Association

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale in 1800. Credit: White House Historical Association

Thomas Who?
Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father considered by many to be the author of the Declaration of Independence, is also credited with coining the phrase “separation of church and state.” According to The New York Times, that coinage didn’t make him very popular with the conservative members of the board. They removed Jefferson from a list of great Enlightenment philosophers — including John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu and Jean Jacques Rousseau — who inspired political revolutions from the 1700s to today. They also removed the word “Enlightenment” and added Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. After much criticism, they added Jefferson back, but left out “Enlightenment” resulting in a standard very different from the original.

President James Madison. Credit: The White House Historical Association (White House Collection)

Downplaying Religious Freedom
A proposed amendment from one of the Democratic board members would have required students to “examine the reasons the Founding Fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion over all others.” One Republican member argued that the “founders didn’t intend for separation of church and state in America” and called the statement “not historically accurate” and the conservative members voted down the standard. The board then added a new one that suggests the “separation of church and state” is not a key principle of the First Amendment.

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Censoring Capitalism
Citing negative connotations, conservative board members decreed that all instances of the word “capitalism” should be replaced with “free-enterprise system.” They also objected to “democratic,” so “democratic societies” and “representative democracy” were replaced by “republic.” Any reference to American “imperialism” was also stricken and replaced with “expansionism.” In the textbooks, imperialism could only be associated with European and Russian colonialism. 

Rev. Jerry Falwell and Phyllis Schlafly sing patriotic songs during a "Stop the ERA" rally in 1980. (AP Photo)

Rev. Jerry Falwell and Phillis Schlafly sing patriotic songs during a "Stop the ERA" rally in 1980. (AP Photo)

“Super” Heroes?
In perhaps the most blatant political move, the board passed an amendment requiring U.S. history students to learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s,” but not about liberal or minority groups. Conservative heroes including Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association were added, and more frequent mentions of President Ronald Reagan were encouraged. As Chairman Don McLeroy explained to the Washington Monthly: “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.”

Gold Key, weighing one kilogram is used to access a ten digit account number which is known only to the bearer of the Gold Key. Under a gold standard, paper notes are convertible into pre-set, fixed quantities of gold.

Credit: WikiCommons

Bling’s the Thing
Earlier this week, the Texas GOP released their 2012 platform which includes, among other controversial policy positions, a desire to return to the gold standard. The United States left the gold standard for good in 1971 and most economists agree that move was a good thing. The school board held a debate — unattended by any economists — and arbitrarily passed a revised standard that requires students to “analyze the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.”

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a ceremony in the President's Room near the Senate chambers in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 1965. Surrounding the president from left directly above his right hand, Vice President Hubert Humphrey; Speaker John McCormack; Rep. Emanuel Celler, D-N.Y.; first daughter Luci Johnson; and Sen. Everett Dirkson, R-Ill. Behind Humphrey is House Majority Leader Carl Albert of Oklahoma; and behind Celler is Sen. Carl Hayden, D-Ariz. (AP Photo)

President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (AP Photo)

The Great Society (Maybe Not So Great?)
The board approved a standard requiring students to learn about “any unintended consequences” of the Great Society, affirmative action and Title IX. Other attempts to change the way the civil rights movement was taught, including a provision that would require students learn that it created “unreasonable expectations for equal outcomes,” failed to pass. 

Dolores Huerta with glass mosaic mural of César Chávez. Huerta and Chávez co-founded United Farm Workers. Photo: Robert Bain, SJSU Photographic Services.

Dolores Huerta with glass mosaic mural of César Chávez. Huerta and Chávez co-founded United Farm Workers. Photo: Robert Bain, SJSU Photographic Services.

Socialists Get the Boot
Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers of America, was dropped from a third grade list of “historical and contemporary figures who have exemplified good citizenship.” Conservative board members said Huerta is not a good role model for third-graders because she’s a socialist. Helen Keller, a staunch socialist, was left on the books. 

Senator Joseph McCarthy (AP Photo)

Senator Joseph McCarthy (AP Photo)

Exhuming McCarthy
Far right members of the board — hoping to lessen criticism of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s hearings — passed a standard that would make students learn “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” 

Painting by Santa Barraza

Credit: Painting by Santa Barraza

Googling Boondoggle
South Texas artist Santa Barraza was recommended for inclusion in a 7th grade standard by a Latina board member. Another member googled the artist and was offended by one of her paintings that included minor female nudity. She showed it to her colleagues and they refused to add her to the standard. The Texas Freedom Network notes that several of Barraza’s paintings were hanging in the Texas governor’s mansion while George W. Bush was in residence in the 1990s. The conservative bloc also removed hip hop from a list of culturally significant musical genres.

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  • George Eliot

    An interesting antidote to this story of extreme history revision  is the fact that the Common Core Curriculum has been adopted by 43 states, plus District of Columbia.  UnsurprisinglyTexas is NOT among these states.Perhaps readers will find hope in knowledge that the CC standards overwhelming emphasize critical thinking and  reading from MULTIPLE non-fiction sources.  Seems to me that well-trained teachers is the aspect of education MORE influential on learning compared to texts.  Where are the stories of the millions of teachers being trained in new Common Core Curriculum Standards? This might be one of those good-news stories right in front of us, but not deemed as newsworthy. 

  • JonThomas

    As in the examples above, on this site there have been at least 3 instances in the last month or so, where commenters  have tried assert that the U.S is not a Democracy.

    I’ve been wondering where they’ve gotten such an idea. Is it from Libertarians, or maybe right wing conservatives?

    I really have not yet understood the reason behind such a twisting of the truth. Does anyone know, or perhaps surmise, what the goal of trying to hide the fact that the U.S is a Republic which uses Representative Democracy?

    Is it in preparation for changes to the electoral process? Is it a way of establishing a defense for the rise of a clear Plutocracy?

    Will J.P. Morgan Chase and assocs. truly be running for the presidency in 2016?

  • JonThomas

    Oh, and I think this story is categorized improperly on the site map. I(t wasn’t on the front page and the directory tree says…

    Moyers & Company » Full Show: Confronting the Contradictions of America’s Past » Khalil Muhammad on Facing Our Racial PastI found it through the weekly newsletter, otherwise it doesn’t seem findable from the M&C main page.

  • JonThomas

     On the main page now. :)

  • Pam

    I think they are trying to remove anything that might be positive toward the words “Democratic” or “Democrat”.  They love that we are a “republic”.  I hate these bastards.

  • guest
    This should say something about them. Ban critical thinking? Obviously, they did away with that a long time ago.

  • JonThomas

    Ty Pam,  I agree.

    Last night the alpha waves kicked in…is it really as subtly simple as newspeak style, Pavlovian psychological conditioning?

    Mental shackles?

    Warm and fuzzy droolings for the “Republican” party?


    No associations for the Democrat party?


    I would accuse them of petty game playing but this type of dog and pony is too insidious to not be taken seriously.

    I’m not even a fan of Democratic Party thinking anymore, but this type of mind control cannot go unchallenged!!

  • Rltmlt

    Historic Revisionist are
    nothing new in the history of modern man. It’s amazing that our recorded history
    still appears to offer an accurate account of actual past events. When we play
    around with history’s recorded events, those facts become propaganda that only
    benefits the corrupt agenda of a few who have nothing but contempt for the rest
    of man kind !

  • Anonymous

    Want to control the minds of the people? Just modify the text books to promote your ideology. Modify history to fit your narative. Then introduce Newspeak to eradicate all “subversive” thoughts. How could anybody willingly live in Texas?  

  • Anonymous

    >”the U.S is not a Democracy”<

    It probably isn't anymore. Citizens United certified this country as a Plutocracy. We've lost our Democracy. 

    There are many different kinds of Republics. For these cretins to simple call us a Republic shows their ignorance. Iran is a Republic. So is China. So is North Korea. So…what makes us different from them? We happen to be a Democratic/Republic as opposed to an Islamic Republic. We use Representative Democracy as our model.

  • Anonymous

    >”They love that we are a “republic”<

    Yeah,…just like Iran, and North Korea. They're Republics too.

  • Stephen

    More insanity regarding what is called “education” in Texas!

  • PMH

    The scariest part of what’s happening in education is what Rupert Murdoch is up to.

    “Fox in the Schoolhouse: Rupert Murdoch Wants to Teach Your Kids!”

  • Clb

    Hitler did this. And he boasted about how he controlled the children. I live in Texas so I know there is no shame being felt by these people.

  • jan

     On the surface it sounds good but I am a little concerned because while I’m sure someone is making executive decisions for them I don’t see anything that states who that person(s) is/are or who is making the executive decisions.  When you see so many organizations pretending to be who they aren’t, that bothers me. 

  • Johnsmith

    I think they used the book 1984 as their manual…

  • my child is NOT a test score

     Common Core Standards, on the surface look wonderful (didn’t NCLB as well?)
    But realize that with these standards also comes a drove of high stakes standardized tests, ready to test in every subject, including art and music.  What will this do to critical thinking, when children (and very young ones) are taught to take tests rather than support their love of learning?  This also furthers the agenda to support corporate profiteers who make this curriculum and tests.  Education is the new frontier of privatization, so beware of what is under the surface of this ed reform movement.  Charter schools, CC, Race to the Top, etc.  Read more here and know there is a national movement against high stakes testing.  Also, Texas is not the only state to embrace such efforts.  Many states and major cities in America now are pushing a private agenda at the expense of public schools and children.,
    Common Core Standards:  Why we object to the K-3 Core Standards -Alliance for Childhood
    Common Sense Vs. Common Core:  How to Minimize the Damages of the Common Core – Yong Zhao
    New York State Common Core Aligned Sample Questions : APDA : P-12 : NYSED
    Anti-Common Core in National News:  From Reuters, Washington

  • my child is NOT a test score

  • SchoolTeacher

    The problem with this is that they’re not just indoctrinating the school children in Texas.  They’re spreading this indoctrination all over the country.  As the textbooks in Texas change, they change for all the country’s schools.  The majority of textbook companies print one edition, and they typically use the edition that schools in Texas would more likely purchase.  So these views are in textbooks being used in Massachusetts, Illinois, Califorinia, New York, and every other state in the union.

  • Bridgwork

    Because somebody has to have the courage and tenacity to change this crap.  Remember the Alamo!  The battle was lost but the war was won.

  • Dixiemon

    I live in Texas and wonder the same thing,  all the time.  Except that all my family and friends are here it would be nice to live somewhere sane, with people who can think and not just hate.  The hate here is everywhere and they teach their children to hate as well.  This state produced the likes of Lyndon Johnson, Barbara Jordan and Micky Leland.  I just don’t understand what happened.

  • Anonymous

    I understand what you’re saying. There are pockets of sanity, but you’re totally outnumbered by secessionists like Rick Perry and freaks like those on the Texas schoolboard. You’re welcome here in Vermont. Less than half a million population and they’re all friendly. BTW…we have universal health care here.

  • mantra

    Fascists are fascists. They seem to be strangely unaffected by facts, history, or empathy. Basically, they are psychopaths. There’s no essential difference between Hitler and John Calvin. Their followers are violent, easily excitable, an undemocratic to the core.

  • Msnizzy

    talk about fostering fascism.  Isn’t this what Hitler did?

  • EB

    Uhm – it gets cold there.  Almost anywhere that the climate is warm year round, it seems the majority of  the residents are cretins.  I don’t get it, but my blood is made for temps that rarely fall below 70.  My family and friends are here and they share the same politics and beliefs that I do.  Austin is an oasis in an otherwise hateful state (there are some other major metropolitan areas which also are fairly liberal).  Lots of wide open spaces with lots of tightly closed minds.  

    I also took the responsibility for finding the best public schools in the area and making it possible for my kids to go there.  We taught our kids our values and taught them to always question what they were being taught no matter who was doing the teaching.  It got one of them into minor trouble repeatedly.  He refused to pledge allegiance to the nation and the state after the state started requiring them to pledge daily to both stating that he felt were requiring him to split his allegiance.  We had to go to the school to sign a paper that allowed him not to pledge allegiance to the state.

    I’m glad they’re grown now and we don’t have to deal with the schools anymore.  Sad that parents are going to have to fight against even more ignorance now.

  • EB

    Wish that was the worst thing in there, but it clearly points out why it’s there in the first place.  Wonder what they’d do with a brain if they got one?

  • Steve Klein

    Very sad state of affairs! What’s next, burning witches? !!!!!

  • Antsmedina

    Isn’t it amazing how selfishness and xenophobia rule those with small minds & a vapid sense of entitlement. Maybe if we give Texas back to mexico it’ll give Texans a big piece of humble pie.  

  • Lauren S. Kahn

    What else can you expect from idiots?  A lot of Americans are just plain stupid and do not want their children to be raised to be critical thinkers.  It sounds like the Scopes trial all over again.  The right keeps fighting the same battles.  In some states/school boards they win.  Liberals have to wake up and continue fighting with the same energy manifested by the right.

    Is there a plaintiff in the school district to sue?

  • Dan

    That IS something that I’ve noticed lately, too. One of my extremely-conservative friends keeps bringing up “we are a REPUBLIC” in his repeated diatribes against the healthcare ruling. I didn’t even think about it much until now.

  • EB

    I think that right now, the Texas School Board is being sued over massive funding cuts.  They’re busy hacking away at the integrity of the educational system from all directions here.  

  • PMH

    Oh, why stop at Texas. Give ’em the entire South and throw in Arizona for good measure.

  • Solana

    Went to school in Texas in the 1950s — we were “taught” that the Civil War (ALWAYS referred to as “the war of Yankee aggression”) had nothing to do with slavery but was completely due to “northern” efforts to keep the south from competing economically — looks like little has changed in Texas in Texas schools in the past 60 years!

  • Thomas Toulmin

    This might be of some concern if the students actually read the material. But chances are they won’t. I taught in a high school for 41 years, and in the beginning of my career, the students would read and do homework. As time progressed, except for the top students, most of the kids refused to do homework, and they certainly weren’t about to read anything on their time. Their political beliefs are inherited from their parents. I don’t think the schools, as they are set up now, have much of an impact one way or the other. A charismatic teacher, however, can have an influence. The problem with that is that many teachers listen to and parrot wingnut talking points. Textbooks are the least of the problem. That’s kind of scary, isn’t it? BTW I live in Texas.

  • JonThomas

     Not to argue your over-all points, but…

    I know in this country the issues are always framed in “left” vs. “right,”  “liberal” vs. “conservative,” “Republican” vs. “Democrat,” but those are “us” vs. “them” terms.

    Those are arguments and traps that are easily fallen into by passionate, caring people.

    The issues are not that simple unless you are one of the ones who want that type of battle because you are on one side or the other, and for self-interest, want the argument framed in such a manner.

    Such a viewpoint ignores the truth…that humans are dynamic. Most people are not simpletons. A conservative thinker can also recognize the disgrace of these censorship actions, and still remain a conservative.

    “Liberals” can have conservative viewpoints, and “conservatives” can
    have liberal viewpoints. There are also people who are more awake in
    their thinking and do not belong in neither box, with neither label.

    The “us” vs. “them” argument causes divisions. If “they” start such a battle, and you counter with an “us” argument, you fall into the trap. Well, either that or you are a willing participant to the division mentality.

    As long as this mentality exists, there will hindrance in establishing be a serious 3rd or 4th party.

    As long as issues are framed as “liberal” vs. “conservative,” those who are truly doing the dividing will continue to conquer.

    Ask yourself who are the ones who are “winning” and you’ll find the answer. Or just listen to “deepthroat.”

  • Anonymous

    If you have to be in Texas, Austin is a good place to be. As for the warm weather and the cretins…there does seem to be a connection. I think some people are easier targets to having their brains baked. Just look at Arizona. That state is nuts.

    I can’t believe that they required your kids to recite a pledge to the State. A pledge to Texas?? I’ve never heard of that. I lived in Alabama for 10 years, and even they didn’t do that.

    Having grown up in Illinois, then Virginia, California, back to Virginia, back to Illinois, down to Florida, then Alabama and finally in Vermont, I can tell you that it’s a different world up here. I have no intentions of leaving here. It’s not just the envirnonment, but the people. They’re really amazing.

  • Maggie

     To cite one more instance of how pervasive this is, I noticed our new (5th grade, Silver Burdett-Ginn) elementary music textbooks made a one-word change in The Star-Spangled Banner, from”then conquer we must, WHEN our cause it is just”  to “conquer we must, FOR our cause it is just.”  Little word, but a big difference in meaning. (Doubters can look up the original version, written in cursive, by Francis Scott Key.)  Since the majority of Americans don’t even know the first verse, and respond to the singing of it as if it were strictly a spectator sport, (pretty sad, especially in comparison to other countries where people actually know and sing their national anthems) I suppose I shouldn’t let this change in the 3rd verse  bother me, but it does, as does hypocrisy anywhere.

  • Sybill


    You’re absolutely right and now Obama has picked up the torch.

  • Sybill


    This sounds like a totally Latino perspective to me.

  • Ruth Crowell

    Texas will be Texas no matter what.  Their supidness influences our entire nation.  That’s why our whole electorate is so “dumbed-down”.

  • Sybill


    Why not , liberals always sue when they cant get their way.

  • Sybill


    Who gave you the right to give Texas anyone. We fought to win it, against a much larger army, and we’ll fight to keep it if necessary.

  • Sybill


    This sounds like a purely Yankee peerspective. I wouldn’t advise you to come down here with that attitude. It could get you into a “heap of trouble”.

  • Sybill


    You forgot to include Obama and his Czars. Where did that word Czar come from anyway, it sounds a bit communistic.

  • Sybill


    Maybe you should pick up a copy and read them. You might actually learn something.

  • Sybill


    Well lit me put it this way; Who ever heard of anyone retireing and moving North?
    Do us a favor stay where you are.

  • Guest

    Perhaps you could read something. Bush appointed 36 czars in his term.

  • Sybill


    While we’e talking about who gave what to whom, don’t forget that Chicago gave us Capone, the Northeast gave a dozen or more Mob Bosses, Arizona has given us Harry Reid, and California has added Boxer and Pelosi. I will have to agree with you on Barbara Jordan, we’ll gladly send her north.

    If you are so miserable in Texas, let me know and I’ll take up a collection to buy you a bus ticket to any city north of the Mason Dixie  Line you choose.

  • Anonymous

     I think there is a lot of confusion about the words democratic and republican.
    The popular discourse places the words “democrat” and “republican” in
    opposition to each other, yet I do not believe those two words are
    actually in opposition. The political parties are a constructed binary opposition dating to the federalist/anti-federalist days. It’s not that the Democratic party is for Democracy and the Republican party is for a Republic.

    The US is a Democratic Republic. For example, we don’t directly elect our presidents; the electoral college does that. I think many people believe the electoral college is some sort of points system, but it is technically an elected body.

    I think it is hasty and irrational to just assume that people calling the US a Republic is an attempt by the Republicans to make people “forget” the US is a Democracy. This sounds like an Alex Jones thought process. While perhaps there is something “afoot;” I do know some people try to emphasize the Republican nature of the US by calling it simply a republic because there are also people who call it simply a Democracy… which the US is not. The US has very limited direct democracy.

  • Sybill


    There’s one thing i”ll never understand about you “snow birds”, you come to Texas to live and then want to change it back to where you came from. To coin an old phrase, “If you don’t like it here, dont let the gate hit you in the posterior on your way out”. We were doing just fine before you came.

  • Dave

    Fascism at it’s finest.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

  • Cricketsong

    A sad commentary…for Americans and for our children who are being taught falsehoods and such a narrow perspective of  history. Those who are willing to rewrite history are eventually forced to live within the tight and mean culture they work to create. 
    Truth has a way of finding the surface when it is buried!

  • PMH

    I live in right slap dab right in the middle of trouble.  South Louisiana.  (A lot of us southerners escaped Stupidville. Maybe there’s hope for you yet!)

    And I’ve looked everywhere for some clue to your “BNE” affectation, and besides an airport in Brisbane and a nurses association (somewhere), I’ve come up empty handed.  “BNE” is slang for “breaking and entering,” but heck, that couldn’t be it.  Bill lets anyone in here on good behavior. You don’t even have to knock!

  • Teacherofmany

    This is what you get when you place education into the hands of politicians.  History is always taught from the perspective of those in power.  This is nothing new.  As a Texas teacher, it is my job to work around the BS, to seek out and teach historical fact, not fiction as fact.  The real problem is many (dare I say most) teachers do not do this.  It is time consuming and flies in the face of accountability standards.  As a lawyer, turned teacher, I will not be bullied into teaching lies by a bunch of politicians.  Indeed, this sort of action provides me with fine fodder for discussion and for teaching my students independent thought.  But this can only happen if we are vigilant and singularly dedicated to honest discourse.  One thing I wish: that the press were more vigilant and dedicated to revealing this sort of dishonesty to the world. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s worth it Sybill. This way I don’t have to put up with people like you.

  • JonThomas

     I doubt very much that anyone is trying to “make people ‘forget’ the US is a Democracy.”

    Without more information, it appears to be simple word association.

    To give the benefit of the argument to Republicans for a moment, the
    U.S. is indeed better known in the public zeitgeist as a Democracy, and
    less as a Republic.

    The Democratic party may benefit from unconscious word association.

    If  it’s taught in schools, that the U.S. is a Republic, without the full understanding that the U.S. is a Republic which uses Representative Democracy, and that indistinction is also successfully pushed in the rhetoric  used in the market place of ideas, then there may be subtle changes in the thought processes and associated conditioned responses for years to come.

    An honest society would teach the entire truth, not either side or it’s preferences.

    I asked what others thought about the “Democracy/Republic” word and idea changes because outside of this conceptual discussion, the reasons behind the methods are a bit mysterious.

  • Ellis Vest

    Leave T.J. alone.  Keep J.M , drop the gold standard.  Minor female nudity is not offensive, breast feeding mothers are natural and a beautiful thing.  Let Ronald Reagan rest in peace, he was good to the military when I served.  Communist are still a threat to the security and freedoms of this Nation and if you think they have gone away just because Russia is gone, you need to wake up.  China is a Major economic and social threat.  I am a Cold War Vet and I can still see a Red when I am near one.  Let the Business Man make money and hire people and create some jobs instead of forcing Obamacare Tax down their throats. 

  • Teacherofmany

    I might also add that this is clear evidence that politicians have learned well, and continue to use effectively,  the doctrines used in Germany by Anton Drexler and his followers between the World Wars.  The similarities in events and tactics is frightening.  And sadly, those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.   Are we in an era of a new NSDAP?

  • Anonymous

    Why is it that the right-leaning side of the electorate are so confused with the common definitions of word such as ‘republic’, ‘democracy’, ‘socialism’, ‘fascism’, ‘communism’, ‘capitalism’, and ‘free enterprise system’, as well all the common religions of the world.  Each day common people refer to these words in absolutely ludicrous ways.  Not only is the basic meaning lost in their speech and writings but it seems there is very little knowledge of the actual actions and consequences within these multifarious systems.
    If the ‘red states’ continue to demand that text book writers [who are professional historians] and publishers adapt the cultural bias of the buyer to well-documented and researched history – a history so short that we have first-hand documents of the founders and their personal writings as well as journalistic and actual eye-witness histories – then this part of the population will continue to bring down and burden our great country, economically and culturally.  The white population of the red states is the largest recipient of welfare monies paid to the white population of the country.  There are more uninsured white people in the red states going to medical facilities unable to pay their bills than in any blue city or state [and those others elsewhere in the country make up for these profit losses by paying higher premiums, thus operating a welfare ‘state’ within a large body of free enterprise activity and only to benefit those who are against the concept of affordable insurance].  High school test scores in these states are the lowest in the western world, not just in America.  The level of ignorance of basic facets of the global society is astounding, and ultimately dangerous to the long term life of this country.  These poor children may receive the rude awakening common to those educated in this manner.  They may eventually learn the actual history, and most likely reluctantly so, if they should travel abroad where students know the history of America better than citizens of the USA.  If they should be so fortunate to attend a real university where they will encounter critically thinking young adults from a wide array of cultures and societies, open-minded professors and access to a multitude of writings and points of views, then they will have no choice – to see the truth of our brutal and beautiful history. 
    All societies have brutal histories.  Man has evolved immensely technologically but is still very primitive psychologically and spiritually].  All societies eventually face the reality of their past, learn from it and proceed.  Just look how dangerous it was to have certain presidents in office and their uneducated [MBA] peers governing – people who did not even know the countries on maps, their types of governments, religious beliefs, and the realities of the lives of the people of those lands. 
    This is only the tip of the dangers of an maladjusted and uneducated populace.  The wealth of oil and media conglomerates supporting this ignorance cannot last forever.

  • PMH

    Nice to know there’s at least one good teacher in Texas.

  • Kate H

    I live in Texas and have three kids in public schools and can tell you most teachers ignore the textbooks – at least in our district in suburban Dallas. My 8th grader didn’t even crack the state-issued history book all year and the teacher instead used handouts and powerpoints – making these stupid books a big waste of money and time all around! As a parent it’s my responsibility to teach my kids to have a critical mind where reading any “texts” and as a citizen, to vote against those who try to bend history to their own twisted interpretation. I believe our kids are pretty smart and can figure out where the real truth lies.

  • former teacher of US History

    I echo the comment that compares the actions by the Texas State Board of Ed to what was happening in Germany between the first and second World Wars.  What will be next?  Will certain of us be required to wear the 21st century’s version of the “Star of David” on our sleeves?

  • Anonymous

    If Texas and other vulnerable states are populated with parents like ‘Kate H’, then no school board policy will be able to control our youth.  Responsible parenting and enabling the children, should be I think, the first and last doors of the educational process.  I think many parents must have smart kids who are able because of their own curiosity, if not also from their parent’s guidance, to figure things out.

  • Danbessire

    Sybill, am i to assume that you are compfortable with skewing history facts?   I grew up in Texas.  I have to say I probably had a better, more accurate, history education than a child in Texas would have now.  Is this what you want for your state or your nation?

  • EB

    Lived in Texas for all but 3 years in my 20s.  Doesn’t keep me from being able to identify scary ignorance when I see it.  Lived around it all my life – bigotry, hatred, racism, and narrow-mindedness.  Not everyone here, but a majority for sure and people can see it from a distance when news like this is generated.

  • EB

    Just seems worse in the sun belt to me.  Think of warm states.  If I am looking for a place to move that is warm pretty much year round, the choices are all pretty scary.

    I would move to the NE to be surrounded by people with perspectives more similar to mine, but like I said, cold weather up there and family down here keep me anchored.

  • EB

    Oh – and it is the secession state, so you know – the pledge thing.  The state GOP reiterated their intention to keep both required in the schools just this year along with their claim that critical thinking skills shouldn’t be taught in school.  Go figure.

  • Anonymous

    >”their claim that critical thinking skills shouldn’t be taught in school. Go figure.”<

    Seriously??? Well…I guess critical thinking isn't part of the conservative ideology. In fact, if one applied any degree of CT they'd see right through this crap. No critical thinking allowed…and fielty to Texas. What happens if a person moves to OK? Are they excommunicated from the Alamo?

  • Jers55

    Great comment by JonThomas.
    Follow the greed and you’ll find the source.

  • JonThomas

     Thank you.

  • joe the man

    when you’re in a war, you start to absorb the negative aspects of your enemy….

  • PMH

    If conservatives absorbed liberals’ “negative aspects, ” that would be an improvement.

  • Open Minded

    This is just scary.  That’s why I left the state of Texas when Bush II was governor.

  • GRBiebel

    Why is it not possible the federal government should step in and give these IDIOTS an Attitude adjustment.  When people say they want less government in their lives this is what you get.  They apparently need a little adult supervision in their lives. Texas seem’s to have a large % of   low IQs.

  • GRBiebel

    I believe you’re right. Illiterate’s  are easier to control, that’s one reason GOP politicians love religion,   you can herd sheep, so easy. That’s why the ministers  call them flocks, they’re also easier to fleece. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank goodness Texas gave us Jim Hightower, Juanita Jean’s -The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, and Molly Ivins. There is always hope and a chance for change.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm.  What the Texas school board did sounds familiar.  Oh yeah, reminds me of 1930’s Germany.  Will the lone star be replaced with a swastika?  Will board members wear brown shirts?  One hundred years from now will the TX school board be remember as follows (with apologies to Winston Churchill): Never in the field of education have so few done so much TO so many.

  • Anonymous

     Most USians can’t read cursive any more, anyway, and would consider that ANY cause which the US supports is, by definition, Just.

  • Anonymous

    This is why the right has always been opposed to the existence of the Department of Education, claiming it is unconstitutional.  They have also systematically fought the efforts of the National Education Association.  With a highly decentralized education system, and an almost nationwide anti-‘elitist’ attitude, educational standards will continue to vary throughout the states regardless of accreditation.  Those who travel or read foreign journals may know that in Europe, many regard the actions of the American right, particularly the actions of the previous presidency as unapologetic fascism, and this is the word used.  These observations come from the elderly who lived through the real thing.  They say, and write that the patterns developing in USA which sparked a world war and all of its ramifications, these same patterns are developing in our own land.  America is still a severely racist country, from all sides of any coin.  Corporate entities controls education systems while American churches have taken corporatist status.  Our brand of ‘free-enterprise’ is not creating an independent state, nor is it allowing for freedom.  We have twisted capitalism into such a mangled monster [probably the reason the Texas school board omits the word ‘capitalism’] that the powerful/rich have become the new fascist leaders.  We don’t need a government to carry out these actions.  Our government is bought off by these interests.  Our mafia are the lobbyists and some school board directors.  The actions of the Texas school board are one in many steps we have seen in the last almost 30 years to dismantle any sense of centralization.  Our nation becomes weaker when we have a multitude of mal-educated authoritarian figures.  Our culture has run rampant with these people, whether from the corporate-ruling of the government, the fundamentalist thinkers in economics, religion or education.  We will pay the price.  God forbid but America may finally learn its lesson.  Proper, standardized, progressive and self-conscious, analytical education may be our only hope.

  • Helen Freeman

    Unable to secede, Texas is creating a country of fallacious information.  Because they have such an impact on textbooks it creates a danger to the entire country.  Such that we should request two textbook standards, one for Texas nd one for the rest of us.

  • Matt E.

     You’re probably right; it is our responsibility as parents to oversee what our kids are being taught and to make sure they understand how to think critically about it.  I’m not sure that I feel the same as you do about kids being able to figure things out on their own.  Some will – some people seem to do fine regardless of their influences, but most people need more guidance to learn how to separate the chaff from the wheat.  I believe that school should be a place where critical thinking skills are taught, not only in the best interest of the kids, but also in the best interest of our society.  So even if kids can figure things out on their own, it just shouldn’t be so hard for them to do. 

  • Matt E.

     I hope my kids have teachers like you.

  • clearthinker

    We are doomed, because Texas is not alone in this rewriting of history.  And they write the textbooks many districts around the country use.

  • Anonymous

    This link was sent to me.  Much of the interviews take place on the streets of Texas.  I realize those interviewed could be from nearly anywhere in the states.  Still, it is distressing.

  • Mike75201

    My home state is such an embarrassment. I want to apologize to the rest of the country for all the crazy, jacked-up crap that comes out of this state. 

  • Gary Houston

    I would add C. Wright Mills, Robert Strauss, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Sam Houston!  But a huge state is home to paradoxes, and this textbook business shows that while there are fine university and medical systems in Texas there is also a purposive, deliberate investment in planted ignorance, in dumbing people down lest the rule by oligarchs be jeopardized by that horrible prospect, an informed public.

  • Anonymous

    Thank goodness my kids’ schools bring in materials from a variety of sources to teach history, science, literature, etc. For example history classes use books like  “A People’s History Of The United States” by Howard Zinn.

  • Beaner

    It seems as though the Texas State Board of Education is using many of the Soviet Union/N. Korea/China education/propaganda techniques. This is a classic case of not letting facts get in the way of feelings, isn’t it?

    This isn’t new in this nation, by any means, just disappointing in a time of extraordinary information access. Industrialized ignorance by design, created by political dogmatics.

    Poor Texas.

  • Anonymous
  • Gramps

    You sound like Obama apologizing for the America, Talk about jacked-up crap!

  • Gramps

    The goverment already has it’s nose in to many things it shouldn’t!

  • Danbessire

    Can you please tell me when the President apologized for this country?  Specifically?  Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Slight correction, I don’t think California’s 6.3 million students use materials generated for the Texas market. We are our own behemoth, and a progressive, multicultural counterbalance to Texas. Not perfect, but definitely not Texas.

  • stephan

    It sounds like you guys are liberals which is fine. It is so amusing to me that people think that there *opinions* are right. I am sure you all are nice people and the country gave you the right to have your opinion but Texas is conservative and we like it that way here.

  • Guest

    What’s sad is that the kids in Texas (the few who manage to graduate high school) will end up being rather stunned when they get to a college-level US history course (which they will be required to take) and find out just how lopsided much their thinking about U.S. history has been false. And their profs won’t be too sympathetic. Ignorance may work in a Texas high school, but will will backfire in a higher education environment.

  • Reggie

    Just because you don’t tell a child something, does not make it go away. It only serves to make that child more ignorant than the rest of the world and put them at a disadvantage. You cannot re-write history that is the beauty of history but if we continue down this path, history will repeat itself.

  • Colleen Gomez

    These handouts the teachers pass out are based on the text book.
    My kids had a copy of text books to leave at home but hardly used them but whenever my daughter had trouble with homework we would open the book and the whole lesson she was leaning was there. The teachers have to go by a certain curriculum which is based on the text books but many teachers make it easy and make print outs from the book to go by do the kids dint have to drag books around all day

  • Anonymous

    This is a clear and decisive threat of war on America’s history. We are not, never have been and never shall be a ‘christian nation’. The moment something like that happens, the faster our decline into total destruction. The world will shun us and those who are staunch anti-zionist will attack us.

    We, the People can NOT allow this group to do this. Write your senators, congress persons, president, anyone. Be vocal in your stand against this domestic attack on America… this philisophical terrorisim. If Texas wants to enforce willful ignorance amongst their generaitons I say let them – but those lessons should remain within Texas’s borders. The monent they threaten to enforce their ideals upon the nation as a whole marks them no better than any terrorist living overseas wishing to do us harm.

  • Anonymous

    Fair enough. All we “liberals” are asking is that you keep your Texas mentality within the borders of Texas and not attempt to infect the rest of the nation.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe we can convince them all that the mothership is coming to take them home… all they have to do is drink this cool, delicious Kool-Aid…

  • Anonymous

    each other’s azzes

  • Saty13

    It’s not acceptable to allow this even with Texas’s borders.

  • Saty13

    Removing Jefferson from a list of great Enlightenment philosophers is going against historical facts. It has nothing to do with opinion. Similarly, you don’t get to ignore hip-hop music as a cultural force just because you don’t like it. Ignoramuses like you need to learn to comprehend the difference between facts and opinions.

  • Saty13

    No, not “fair enough.” Every student in the United States has a right to be educated in history using texts written by real historians and intellectuals and other highly educated persons. And they have a right to NOT be force-fed Right Wing propaganda in their school.

    Don’t just cavalierly write off Texas children or any children.

  • Troy Mendez

    It depends on what you define as a “Christian Nation”. But oddly enough, many people lack the basic knowledge and education that shows this country was founded on Judeo-Christian ideals. Beginning with the document that started it all, “the Declaration of Independence”. When read, it’s easily discovered that this land was pulling away from England because our rights given by our “creator” were being trampled on.
    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to note the reference to God. But many ignore this fact and are ignorant to the truth that many of our founding fathers used what is known as Judeo-Christian Ethics as a guide when construction this document as well as the US Constitution.
    But to be clear, in case there is any confusion, a “Christian Nation” does not refer to a nation were its citizens are Christian, nor does it mean that it is ran by Christians. What is does mean is that the foundation of our laws, our government, our ideas of freedom, come from Christian ideals. Freedom, or free-will being the most well known. This is why many Islamic nations refer to America as a Christian nation. It’s not the people, but the ideals the country was founded on.

  • Troy Mendez

    In no way do I support the censoring or altering of any facts from history. Everything should be taught as it happened. Whether we like certain facts or not, they are the events that really happened and should be told just as history has shown. No matter how ugly, or how terrible, the truth must be told.
    That being said, history should be taught as it happened and ONLY as it actually happened. For example, the phrase “separation of church and state” are never seen anywhere in the US Constitution. The phrase was created by a person who interpreted it that way, but often it is taught as if the constitution literally states that. Almost daily people claim our constitution mentions a separation of church and state and that is simply not true. It is rather funny to see the stumbling responses I get when I question why the Declaration of Independence clearly refers to religious principles. After all, it is an important historical document.