Thankfully, in principle, it’s reversible. The Texas State Board of Education has approved new history standards. Because Texas is a major book buyer, this will have far-reaching effects on the curricula of other states (I haven’t been able to find out if this will affect Massachusetts. Intelligent Designer, I hope not). The proposed changes (pdf) are farcial to anyone in the Coalition of the Sane–which, unfortunately, excludes the majority of the Board of Education. While they haven’t released the final adoptions, what the Board sent for review is absurd. You can’t read a single page without encountering far-right lunacy. Others have noted that the new standards whitewash slavery:
Several changes include sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favoured separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the “significant contributions” of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war.
And my favorite:
The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous “Atlantic triangular trade”…
The entire document is Orwellian. Here are some selections from the 11th grade curriculum, which is from 1877 to the present (and, yes, “post-Reconstruction” was removed). From the economics portion on p. 72:
(2) Citizenship. The student understands the rights and responsibilities of businesses in the U.S. free enterprise system. The student is expected to:
(B) analyze the consequences of an economic decision made by a business;
(C) analyze the ethics policy of a selected business;
Wait! That sounds good! Erm, they cut that section. Moving along to page 74 for all you goldbugs (this was added):
(D) analyze the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.
This is insane. But even better, the Uruk-hai also crap all over science by removing all of this–Science we just can’t quit you (p. 78):
Science, technology, and society. The student understands the effects of science and technology on an economy. The student is expected to:
(A) analyze the effect of technology on productivity;
(B) analyze the economic effects of the development of communication and transportation systems in the United States;
(C) analyze the economic impact of obsolescence created by technological innovations; and
(D) analyze how technological innovations change the way goods are manufactured, marketed, and distributed.
(27) Science, technology, and society. The student understands the economic effects of scientific discoveries and technological innovations on households, businesses, and government. The student is expected to:
(A) give examples of types of economic information available as a result of technological innovations; and
(B) explain how scientific discoveries and technological innovations create the need for rules and regulations to protect individuals and businesses.
In fact, most economic history is removed, and replaced with “personal finance”, except for adding Hayek. Of course, the labor movement is purged from the document. Also, here’s just a little taste of the subtle historical revisionism that permeates the document (p. 5):
The student is expected to:
analyze causes and effects of events and social issues ,
includingsuch as immigration, Social Darwinism, race relations, nativism, the Red Scare, Prohibition, and the changing role of women.
I wrote “subtle” because this is a downgrade: “including” means it must be covered, while “such as” are only potential examples. Let’s be frank: these ‘standards’ are Lynne Cheney’s wet dream.
Check them out (pdf), and then help elect some sane people to the Texas State Board of Education–because this could also make your kids stupid too.