Saturday, March 13, 2010

Texas -- Making Alabama and Mississippi Look Progressive

This week, the Texas School Board (with a 10-5 Rightwing Regressive majority) voted in some new rules, attempting to rewrite history through the eyes of its closed-minded right wing Christian zealots. Wait til you hear this.

Separation of church and state? Don't you dare teach that in Texas! The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the US government from promoting one religion over all others.”

Hating all things Democratic, it will describe the US government as a "constitutional republic," rather than a "democratic republic," which is what the US is. (In a Democratic republic a Constitution is followed and the public democratically chooses representatives to whom authority is delegated.)

In gun-crazy Texas, of course, in addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specifically required a reference to the Second Amendment's right to bear arms in a US government class about citizenship. ("This hour's lesson is sponsored by Smith and Wesson, and the National Rifle Association.")

Teachers will be mandated to teach "American exceptionalism," which refers to the theory that the United States occupies a special niche among the nations of the world.
("USA! USA! Number One! Number One!") Nevermind the fact that for more than 250 years slavery was legal in the US; please forget about the fact that for another 100 years after slavery ended, civil rights did not exist; erase from your mind the fact that until 1920 women couldn't vote; try not to remember that even today, right now, same-sex marriage is only legal in a handful of states.

Conservatives also prevailed on an amendment touting the superiority of American Capitalism, instructing students on the dangers of over-regulation on industry. (Nevermind the last 8 years of deregulation provided us with a 2 1/2 year recession-bordering-on-depression, record unemployment and record foreclosures.)

And amazingly, the Texas school Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

It's funny and tragic at the same time. Texas has almost 5 million students, so it's a large buyer of textbooks. That means the nonsense they insist on may be in textbooks used in other states, too.

Perhaps we could either sell Texas back to Mexico and force them all to learn Spanish, or maybe we can convince them to take their crazy governor's advice and secede already.

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