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Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the nation-chosen-by-god dept.

Education 1238

suraj.sun picked up a Guardian (UK) piece on the Texas school board and their quest to remake US education in a pro-American, Christian, free enterprise mode. We've been keeping an eye on this story for some time, as it will have an impact far beyond Texas. From the Guardian: "The board is to vote on a sweeping purge of alleged liberal bias in Texas school textbooks in favor of what Dunbar says really matters: a belief in America as a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy. ... Those corrections have prompted a blizzard of accusations of rewriting history and indoctrinating children by promoting right-wing views on religion, economics, and guns while diminishing the science of evolution, the civil rights movement, and the horrors of slavery. ... Several changes include sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the 'significant contributions' of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the Civil War. ... Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favor of examining scientific advances through military technology."

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1238 comments

1984 (5, Interesting)

emperortux (1503859) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230166)

"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."

Re:1984 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32230204)

True, but that's not what it really meant. The one that controlled what happened has influenced the future. This classic quote doesn't have much to do with rewriting history, I'm afraid.

Re:1984 (5, Insightful)

WitnessForTheOffense (1669778) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230436)

Um...Did you RTFB? It had everything to do with rewriting history. "We've always been at war with Eastasia." It was a reference to the actions of Stalin's regime. Hence the famous pictures of Stalin with the guys airbrushed out once they became persona non grata.

Re:1984 (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232352)

I love the aping of a plot point from 1984. Unfortunately, being that they're morons, they don't know the extreme irony of what they're doing. The sad part is neither will the students of Texas if this miseducation process goes ahead.

Re:1984 (5, Informative)

Lundse (1036754) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230444)

This classic quote doesn't have much to do with rewriting history, I'm afraid.

I'm afraid it does. It is one of the basic points of the book, and what the entire Ministry of Truth is all about. Shortly after the above quote, this appears:
'In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?'

Re:1984 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32230564)

Unless there was a "revision" made to 1984...

Re:1984 (3, Insightful)

Dausha (546002) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231770)

A few years ago, it was said that California, because of its large student population, charted the course of public education. Apparently California's budget woes have moved it to second place.

So, there is a complaint that Texas is directing the course of textbooks? Somebody will be charting the course, regardless. So, are we going to complain only when more conservative forces are carrying sway? If so, are we not revealing that we only like it when we are in control?

The nature of the United States is that there are primarily two opposing political forces vying for control. Their routine swing should be preferred to having the balanced tipped all to one side.

Re:1984 (5, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232252)

Except we don't really have two opposite forces, we have a right wing party and a far right wing party. So if you want things to stay in the middle you need to advocate the most "liberal" ideas possible, only then will you end up with something moderate. Sad, but true. What Republicans blast as far left liberal ideas are really quite moderate by any meaningful metric.

Re:1984 (0)

Mad Marlin (96929) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232304)

I think the goal is to achieve a middle-ground compromise between most American citizens' opinion, not to achieve a middle-ground compromise between most politics professors' opinions.

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232386)

However, it's unfortunate that most American citizens don't know their ass from Thomas Paine.

Re:1984 (4, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232334)

The nature of the United States is that there are primarily two opposing political forces vying for control.

Yeah, on the one hand you have the Democrats and Republicans, and on the other...

Or are you seriously saying that the balance should occasionally swing to people who believe in politicising the education syllabus and infusing it with religion?

Re:1984 (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232358)

Well, you're lucky the U.S. doesn't have one official textbook per subject per grade for all schools, approved by the government. You should see the Republic of Korea's history textbook. Wow.

I'm going to start teaching in Texas in August. Luckily, it's math, and there's not much political in that subject. I'm glad I'm not teaching science.

Re:1984 (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232326)

That's a bit histrionic.

I've learned a good bit more history since I left K-12 than I did during school. And I haven't been trying very hard.

Certainly, it would be better if people sought to paint as true a version of history as we can come up with, but it isn't as if the typical high school history class is so in depth that these students are going to be mentally borken when the graduitate.

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232420)

Which is why Plato invented the Academy [wikipedia.org].

Seriously, we know that kids are intelligent right from the beginning. Why not replace everything with dialectics and science?

WTF (4, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230226)

They can do that?
They are not even trying to cover up that they are trying to indoctrinate everyone: "Dunbar says really matters: a belief in America as a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy."

Re:WTF (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32231276)

They have the same power as the liberal side when it comes to indoctrinating kids. Both of them care not one speck for freedom or liberty. What you're seeing is a backlash against centralized ideology being dispensed by the national government. Unfortunately only extremists in Texas seem to be able to do that for now.

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232338)

Youre' right. Teaching kids about evolution and science is on the liberal agenda. As is teaching kids about muckraking, and the monopolies on steel, oil, and trains so they know that other people will take advantage of them if the kids let them. And teaching kids about sex so when they are faced with choices that they would face even if they weren't taught about sex they can make their decision with as much knowledge and forethought as possible. And about how they should to respect the rights of other people of different faiths (or no faith at all) to practice their beliefs, so long as they don't physically impact others, even though they might not believe that faith themselves.

You're right. This is all on the liberal agenda. It should be on the agenda of every thinking person, liberal or conservative, because this country is nothing without technical superiority over the rest of the world, and that is exactly what is at stake here.

Re:WTF (1, Insightful)

Rallion (711805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232000)

To somebody that truly believes something, teaching that something doesn't sound like indoctrination.

Re:WTF (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232040)

But no history ever conforms exactly to a general idea,
even if we assume that "America [is] a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy",
the indoctrinator part is that they plan to write history, keeping in mind what they want the history to show (and they admit this).

You must write history without any any thoughts to what you want it to say overall, or you will end up with a history used to indoctrinate people.

Re:WTF (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232268)

History is never unbiased, that being said specifically writing it to be biased in such an ignorant ham fisted manner is just disgusting.

Re:WTF (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232408)

That's why my HS history teacher used primary sources wherever possible, taught us to identify and understand the bias in them, and never marked us down for unpopular opinions we could back up with sources. I propose more schools follow that model. International Baccalaureate in the 80s, by the way.

Re:WTF (3, Insightful)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232370)

Here's the problem. If you write a history book without any bias, the entire curriculum will consist of rote memorization of names and dates. That kind of data is completely worthless. The purpose of history is to learn from the past. Learn why people behaved in such a manner; what they believed that influenced the events; how we can improve ourselves from others' experience. Without bias, you get none of that insight.

With bias... well, then you get a biased view of history, so you need to have several different texts from several different authors, and you need to teach the students critical thinking skills so they can formulate their own conclusions. We don't have enough teachers that can think for themselves to hope they would be able to teach the students to do so.

Two words ... (5, Informative)

Evil Pete (73279) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232212)

Manifest Destiny ... look it up. Think of it as a democratic jihad. Not a good idea. The British had a similar notion: The White Man's Burden. Well meaning ideas that just result in a lot misfortune.

They'll have to pick on religion at some point (3, Funny)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232340)

Why do you think the GOP is tearing itself apart? Free enterprise is an entirely different religion than Jesusitude. Seriously, read Ayn Rand.

Sad that this is even being considered (5, Interesting)

Inbred_Weasel (1007819) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230236)

Of course it is absurd that the Texas school board is even considering such changes, but it really is up to the people of Texas to fix their school board.

On the other hand, if an education in Texas gets bad enough, universities and employers might start to pass over applicants from Texas because they are under qualified. This seems like a good thing as it is basically the free market sorting out the educated from the ignorant.

Re:Sad that this is even being considered (4, Interesting)

KTheorem (999253) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230282)

I think the problem is the free market in this case. Texas is such a huge market for textbooks that the changes made to accommodate the their standards will make it very hard for smaller, more sane markets to obtain decent textbooks at a reasonable price.

Re:Sad that this is even being considered (5, Interesting)

EriDay (679359) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230468)

Texas is living in the past. Responsible educators are no longer required to accept the dogma according to Texas. With print on demand, states or school districts can make their own textbooks.

If I was a state governor, I'd pay the faculty of my state universities create textbooks for my k-12 curriculum. Instead of paying royalties to large publishers, my faculty would be better paid.

MOD PARENT UP UP UP (2, Interesting)

wurp (51446) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230634)

If I was a state governor, I'd pay the faculty of my state universities create textbooks for my k-12 curriculum. Instead of paying royalties to large publishers, my faculty would be better paid.

*That* is a brilliant fucking idea.

Re:MOD PARENT UP UP UP (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232282)

Not really, it's a lot cheaper to just use open source text books for most things. Granted things like science won't do so well with that, but many things like math and English don't really need to be particularly up to date. Last I checked an open source book cost something like $23 for a print edition.

Re:MOD PARENT UP UP UP (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232296)

Sure, but consider some of the recent Texas governors. Governor Goodhair, and Bush? Yee. haw.

Re:Sad that this is even being considered (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232254)

That sir, is fucking brilliant.

Are you willing to be Governor in PA?

Well, I'm voting for you regardless. Everyone else here is a tool. Everybody write in EriDay on their ballots!

Re:Sad that this is even being considered (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232320)

If I was a state governor, I'd pay the faculty of my state universities create textbooks for my k-12 curriculum. Instead of paying royalties to large publishers, my faculty would be better paid.

Giving rise to the episode of South Park where fourth graderrs have to read Catcher in the Rye.

Re:Sad that this is even being considered (1)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232362)

The problem is that most educators are very narrow in their knowledge on their own and their knowledge is almost completely from the text books that they teach from.

In most cases you can define K-12 educators as regurgitators.

My mother is a K-12 teacher, and she would agree with that comment.

Re:Sad that this is even being considered (5, Interesting)

Cidolfas (1358603) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232438)

We did fix the school board. But, for some reason, we let the outgoing board have a textbook curriculum meeting in a revision year before chucking them away. Most of that board lost their elections, and will not be there the next time it meets. But that's after the new books have been made and bought.

The implications of this are for the whole country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32230268)

Texas and California largely set what makes it into textbooks because the publishers mainly cater to those two states. The national implications of this are terrifying, almost like when ohio tried to redefine pi as 22/7 . Its really funny to me how what is being done here don't get more people with public voice to point out that this is the same kind of tactic used to start the strong populace movement for the nazis. The ignorance and arrogance of this whole move blows my mind.

Uggghhh! (0)

FreeXenon (1431347) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230278)

I blogged about this a while ago [arionshome.com] and it is a horrible, horrible thing. It is rather unfortunate that these people have come into power and are most likely going to succeed at instilling a fundamentalist religious point of view into our next generation. Heaven help them and heaven help the United States. Only the text book companies can save us now. Hopefully they will show some sack and stand up to this idiocy.

Re:Uggghhh! (4, Informative)

geezer nerd (1041858) | more than 2 years ago | (#32231194)

But the textbook companies will not stand up to it. The Texas School Board has been influencing textbooks for all of America for many decades. Texas is a populous state, so it is a big market for textbooks. Furthermore, Texas is unique in that textbooks are adopted statewide for all the schools in the state. That means huge numbers for the publishers, and that gives the publishers' ears to the School Board.

I do not remember the attempts at influence of the fundamentalists to be quite so blatant in the past. Perhaps they are becoming emboldened in these times of the Tea Parties.

FrostPeas (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32230294)

Zero comments after most of a day? Really?

Okay, I'll throw one down. Probably a bit OT, but WTF.

I live in Arizona, ground zero for this crap. I had an interesting conversation about Our State Issues this week.

And I left there thinking:

The problem is not the 25% hardcore dipshits who will always lean this way. Nothing can be done to help them.

The problem is the 30% of otherwise kind, intelligent, educated people who because of some flaw in their heads find themselves thinking things like: "Hmmm, that Glenn Beck fella makes some good points."

I wish there were more I could do to reach them, beyond conversing with them delicately and providing an alternative example by what I say and how I live my life. It will never be enough to turn the tide in the nation, or this state. Maybe not even enough to turn it in this town. But it's what I have. And hoping against hope, I'll keep going with it, and just pray to a god who doesn't exist that power ends up in the hands of better people.

Re:FrostPeas (5, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230966)

> The problem is not the 25% hardcore dipshits who will always lean this way. Nothing can be done to help them.

In my opinion, the actual problem is that kind of statement. How come someone that does not agree with you should need help? What help? Letting them know that they are wrong and you are right? Don't you see that to them, you are the one that needs help?

The purpose of democracy is not to be right or wrong. The purpose of democracy is to let people decide for themselves. And everywhere it works in the same way: a minority of people is leading the way while the majority is silently following. This is still consent, like it or not.

Freedom is freedom. That includes freedom to choose God, Science, or both, and to influence public policy. If you want to impose your views without having other people trying to do the same, then what you need is not democracy, you need dictatorship.

Re:FrostPeas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32231296)

> Don't you see that to them, you are the one that needs help?

Of course I see that. That's how relativism works.

When I say 'help them', what I mean is: help them find a way to live that doesn't involve them imposing their ways on me and anyone else with a brain and a heart.

They want my tax dollars to fund police stopping anyone off-white.

They want to prevent my tax dollars from being used to fund multicultural education in the Tucson schools.

To take the two latest examples.

These are the hardcore dipshits.

If they want to go on believing that the earth was created six thousand years ago, and that wearing magic underwear will bring them closer to the Great Space Ghost, I say: absolutely fine with me. Go right ahead, and let freedom ring.

If they want to take my money, and use it in fascist ways, then yes, I'm going to have a major problem with that, and I'm going to say so when I have the chance, as loudly as I dare.

I don't much care if the issue is a big cultural everything, like it is between me and them, or if it's people I generally agree with offing babies via drone in Afghanistan. If it's wrong and stupid and dipshit, I'm going to have an opinion on that. Not a dictatorial opinion--I have no power at all in this world.

If you don't like it, you can whine at me some more on Slashdot, I reckon, and I'll see you at the polls.

Re:FrostPeas (5, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231644)

> When I say 'help them', what I mean is: help them find a way to live that doesn't involve them imposing their ways on me and anyone else with a brain and a heart.

That changes everything! Now that I understand that you don't want to impose your way on them, that you just want to help them understand how superior your opinion is and that they should recant their shameful dogma, I have no choice but to heartily agree with you.

This being said, since you have such a deep understanding of relativism, then I don't have to explain to you that those people probably want to help you also because they believe that people with a brain and a heart should agree with them. I even suspect that for some of them, people with a different opinion are "dipshits". Tsk tsk.

> They want my tax dollars to fund police stopping anyone off-white.

I'll quote Fred Thompson on this one:
"The Times Square bomber wasn't flagged at the airport even though he paid cash for his ticket. Which is understandable. Why would you worry about a nervous, cash-paying Pakistani when there are grandmothers in wheelchairs to be searched?"

Should the police "stop anyone off-white"? I don't think so. But shouldn't they be more suspicious when they see a nervous Pakistani paying his ticket in cash, or when they see young white men in militia uniforms driving around federal buildings in a white Econoline? I mean, at some point one has to stop being self-righteous and let some common sense take over.

> If they want to take my money, and use it in fascist ways, then yes, I'm going to have a major problem with that, and I'm going to say so when I have the chance, as loudly as I dare.

My guess is that if it was up to you, *their* money would be spent on "multicultural education in the Tucson schools". But face it - who got the most votes at the last election? People vote for whoever they want so the public policy is going the way they want. Democracy 101.

> If you don't like it, you can whine at me some more on Slashdot, I reckon, and I'll see you at the polls.

I am not whining at you. I try to respectfully point out that insulting people that disagree with you is not a good start for that great mission of Truth and Dialog you talk about.

Good luck at the polls. I guess you'll enjoy it - after all, a vote is anonymous, just like your comments.

Re:FrostPeas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32231746)

Heh.

I'm not sure, but I think ironically quoting Fred Thompson trying to be ironic is the rhetorical equivalent of dividing by zero. In any case, I don't think you're a dipshit, but I'm done with you for now. Thanks for playing.

Protip: When your arguments have to be modified with "I even suspect" and "I guess" that many times, it's a sure sign that you've got a straw man running interference for you. Bad strat. He burns up easy. Try the Tin Man next time.

Love,

The Anonymous Lion, shivery roaring friend of Dot and Toto too.

Re:FrostPeas (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232170)

>

I'll quote Fred Thompson on this one: "The Times Square bomber wasn't flagged at the airport even though he paid cash for his ticket. Which is understandable. Why would you worry about a nervous, cash-paying Pakistani when there are grandmothers in wheelchairs to be searched?"

Obvious counter - do you know how much explosives you could hide in a wheelchair? (Hell, it's been widely shown that at best, you can only make it mildly inconvenient to get a bomb on an airplane - beyond the laptops and video players having enough empty internal space to hold C4, I recall someone positing a way to soak a paperback in nitro. Reading material + match = boom.)

Re:FrostPeas (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232348)

I recall someone positing a way to soak a paperback in nitro. Reading material + match = boom.)

Nitroglycerin does not explode when ignited. It just burns slowly.

Re:FrostPeas (4, Insightful)

zaffir (546764) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231898)

This isn't about opinion. This is about facts. You are entitled to your own opinion, but YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO YOUR OWN FACTS.

Calling the United States a "Christian" nation is demonstrably false. You may "believe" otherwise, but you are still WRONG.

Re:FrostPeas (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232312)

That's the thing if you're delusional enough just about any opinion can become indistinguishable from fact. Such as death panels in the health care bill or Iraq being a war about terrorism, both are demonstrably false, but a bunch of nut jobs hang to it anyways to the bitter end.

Re:FrostPeas (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232082)

hay dip Sh*t, what Texas is doing is correcting the rewriting of liberal bias in the text books. Why not research what the changes include and their factual background. Talk about rewriting history, read the other crap passed for history of our country and you would think we were children of evil demons invading the world.

Read the changes and look at what was in there before you complain, you dip Sh#t.

Re:FrostPeas (2, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232434)

The problem is the 30% of otherwise kind, intelligent, educated people who because of some flaw in their heads find themselves thinking things like: "Hmmm, that Glenn Beck fella makes some good points."

The question that you should be asking is what is it about you that sends these otherwise kind, intelligent, educated people to Glenn Beck in the first place.

  • and just pray to a god who doesn't exist that power ends up in the hands of better people.

Looks like we just found out.

LK

In case there is any confusion... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32230310)

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

--Treaty of Tripoly [wikipedia.org]

Ratified by the Senate, signed by President John Adams in 1797.

I hope that clears things up for these right wing wackos who are confused about our founding fathers' intentions. I hope to see this quote up on a sidebar in the next issue of their books.

Spelling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32230382)

D'oh. I spelled "Tripoli" wrong. I'm ashamed. Good thing I'm anonymous.

Re:In case there is any confusion... (2, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#32231008)

According to my Texas High School textbook, there was no President John Adams. There was a John Quincy Adams [forerunner.com], but he would obviously never say anything so foolish.

Re:In case there is any confusion... (5, Funny)

spartacus_prime (861925) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231418)

John Adams? What did he do, he was only President for one term! He didn't write the Declaration of Independence, or go overseas as one of our first major diplomats. That was Jesus, all Jesus!

Re:In case there is any confusion... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32231986)

No it doesn't clear anything up but your misinterpretation of the Treaty. If you actually read all of the wikipedia information you would have seen this too.

("According to Frank Lambert, Professor of History at Purdue University, the assurances in Article 11 were "intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.)

If you actually were taught your history correctly all our founding fathers were religious men. Some deeply religious (Samuel Adams for one.) But they believed all religions should be allowed to be practiced without persecution. (Constitution of the US 1st Amendment.) Since history is not your strong suit let me help you with this. The pilgrims came over here because of religious persecution from the Church of England. When the founding fathers wrote all of our laws they made sure this could not happen again, as well as, made sure we would not be ruled over again.
Our country is based on the people voting for who they believe will do what they want to be accomplished. We don't work for the government they work for us.

But most of America has forgotten all of the above and are no longer being taught it in school. Instead they say how they were all slave owners (Again not true), and they were all agnostics. In fact the original Declaration of Independence stated the following. "Life, Liberty, and Property" but it was changed to "the Pursuit of Happiness" because they didn't want the southern slave owners to argue that the slaves were property. In fact, I believe it was John Adams that said (roughly) if we do not fight this battle now (In regards to slavery) we will fight it again in 100 yrs.
Funny enough he was right and we fought the civil war under Lincoln (He was an evil republican by the way. lol)

Thomas Jefferson was not religious but he did believe in a Creator. He is the writer of the Declaration of Independence. You know that paper that says,
"We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal and endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

As for the other comments about gun control do you know why each amendment was written exactly how they are? Apparently not.

The 2nd Amendment was to ensure we as a people would never again be ruled over, or invaded by another country.

I could go on and on as to the true reason all the 1st 10 amendments of the constitution were written, but if you aren't interested in it why should I bother. It seems to me everyone wants to "Interpret" the amendments to what suits them, when the original writers themselves wrote what they meant them to be.

The founding fathers weren't these career politicians we have now that write laws that they can't even understand. The Bill of Rights was written in plain English so NO ONE could misinterpret it! Just like John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence was to ensure King George was able to read his signature without his glasses on.

We may need to interpret the laws created since the original Constitution was written, but the Bill of Rights is not up for interpretation it just is. They are rights given to us from above not from man.

We do not give rights to each other. We are born with those rights and no one has the right to take them from us.

I'm merely a history buff tired of hearing all this BS about what the founding fathers were, what they meant when they wrote our country's most important documents, etc,etc, etc...

This is from wikipedia in regards to the Bill of Rights.

Thomas Jefferson, at the time serving as Ambassador to France, wrote to Madison advocating a Bill of Rights: "Half a loaf is better than no bread. If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can."[12] George Mason refused to sign the proposed Constitution, in part to protest its lack of a Bill of Rights.[13]

See the full write up here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

Re:In case there is any confusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232122)

UMM the government was not formed in 1797 but earlier and it was formed on Christian beliefs! However the founding fathers wanted all to be able to believe in what they want, hence separation of church and state. In those days England forced religion on a person, in their case it was protestant (only because a king wanted a divorce and rome would not grate it). So the idea was just believe in God, look at the money "in God we trust" Just because Adams wanted to change it does not change the fact on how the government was started. And you should really read the entire text before you start selling garbage to those on /. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli
 

Re:In case there is any confusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232428)

So the idea was just believe in God, look at the money "in God we trust" Just because Adams wanted to change it does not change the fact on how the government was started.

The amazing thing is that because of all the evil atheists around at the time, the founding fathers waited until April 22, 1864 to put "In God we trust" on the money. Those founding fathers were shrewd!

Why omit Newton? (5, Informative)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230340)

I'm wondering why omit Newton, he was a very devout Christian. One of his greatest regrets was not making a theological breakthrough that matched his scientific discoveries. Heck, he was also a strong advocate of maintaining virginity (perhaps too strongly, he died a virgin and reputedly call that his greatest accomplishment).

Re:Why omit Newton? (1)

red_pill1987 (1661527) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230422)

he was also mad as a hater. almost literly. he had tons of mercuery in his hair, and spent his latter years trying to work out how meny angles fit on a pin head. if your going to pain his theology, you quickly come up aginst crazy. better to leave him as an absant minded scintific genius then to start pokeing in to his religon.

Zero tolerance... (1)

Thad Zurich (1376269) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230518)

... should mean zero tolerance for people deliberately choosing to promulgate ignorance. Let's go ahead and issue student vouchers, so I can keep my kids out of schools like those.

God help those who follow... (1)

nashv (1479253) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230522)

...a belief in America as a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world

The question is, a beacon indicating exactly what?

Indoctrination cuts both ways (2, Interesting)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230576)

while introducing a new focus on the 'significant contributions' of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war

I'm a little concerned about the way that is worded... Putting a pair of words in quotes generally means that the author doesn't share that opinion. So does someone really believe that slave owners contributed nothing of value to society? George Washington was a slave owner (albeit a progressive one), and he most certainly contributed greatly to American society. It's rather disturbing to me that someone might want to blackwash something like slavery as all bad and only practiced by vile, useless people.

OTOH, slavery is the antithesis of America. Slaves are neither free, nor can they improve their situation through hard work. I'm frankly worried that history is getting to be more focused on "good guys" and "bad guys" than an actual understanding of what lead the "bad guys" to do what they did, and why we see it as "wrong" given a modern perspective. If you just attribute evil acts to "evil" people then you lose sight of what caused those people to become "evil", and insight into how to prevent similar things from happening again. The only thing you can do with "evil people" that you don't understand is kill them, which hardly solves the long-term problem since it's very difficult to kill *all* of them.

That said, I have no idea how the Texas School Board is presenting the concept. They could easily paint slavery as the result of cultural sensitivity, since slavery was the traditional practice in Africa. (So many people seem to think slavery was about white guys going to African and throwing nets over random black villagers.) Or they could state that the Africans were less developed and imply that it wasn't so bad to use them for Western goals since most Americans descended from slaves are better off then their modern-day African counterparts. Presenting perspectives such as these would be very dangerous, since they're half-truths that ignore the bigger picture. Furthermore, they have a very obvious connection to modern politics.

Re:Indoctrination cuts both ways (3, Informative)

nashv (1479253) | more than 2 years ago | (#32230936)

Putting a pair of words in quotes generally means that the author doesn't share that opinion

Uh No, it means that the author is quoting literally here and is not paraphrasing based on his own opinions.

Re:Indoctrination cuts both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232072)

If it were a longer quote I'd agree with you. Two quoted words in a paraphrased context might be a legitimate quote, but that's fairly rare. Normal quotes include enough context so you know what's being said, by paraphrasing the context but not the critical phrase is a good way to put words in people's mouths.

If I quoted two words in your post, would I have captured the meaning? Hardly. The tactic is similar to using phrases like "so-called". It's innocuous literally, but carries a very strong implication. You sadly see that quite often now, so writers can create mountains out of molehills, but not get called out for libel. Who knows, maybe that tactic has been overused to the point that it no longer implies much of anything.

Re:Indoctrination cuts both ways (1, Flamebait)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232328)

Exactly, plus you have to realize the entire source: it is The Guardian. For those unaware, The Guardian doesn't even make any statements of being fair, its entire goal is to persuade readers towards liberal* goals.

*Liberal here referring to the ideology closest to the Democrats in the US, not referring to classical liberalism.

Anonymous Coward (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#32230682)

Hey, it's time for some balance against the Leftist crap taught in our schools over the last twenty years.

finding less texas-dependent schools (3, Interesting)

drfireman (101623) | more than 2 years ago | (#32231140)

Is there an easy way to find schools with curricula that are less dependent on what happens in Texas? I mean, without having to read hundreds of textbooks and do lots of gruesomely painful research on my own (I get enough of that in my day job).

Think critically--and READ critically (3, Insightful)

John Murdoch (102085) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231470)

In addition to encouraging you to RTFA, let me strongly encourage you to consider the political position consistently advocated by the paper that published the FA. The Guardian [guardian.co.uk] makes no pretense at all of being balanced, centrist, unbiased, or apolitical. This is the British newspaper (and web site) that developed a web site with the names and addresses of registered voters in Ohio, and encouraged their readers to write to them to exhort them to vote for John Kerry rather than George Bush. (Bush won Ohio by a handful of votes--which Ohio politicos attributed to the furious backlash the Guardian created, but that's another story.)

In other words, the Guardian article is an advocacy piece meant to alarm, rather than enlighten. If you're a Brit, this will come as no surprise--if you're as Internet-savvy as a SlashDot reader should be, you shouldn't be surprised, either.

The sun will come up tomorrow, even in Texas...
Despite the panicked anxiety of the writer (and the New York Times, here [nytimes.com]), it's not terribly controversial to emphasize the strong Christian views of many of America's founders. Which is not to say that America's Constitution is a statement of Christian faith--which is often how this argument is misconstrued. (A standard freshman year American History exam question is to compare and contrast the Christian and Deist views expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.) But it is interesting to know that in most U.S. states you had to be a professing Christian in order to run for political office--it provides a perspective on our First Amendment that is all-too-often missing when discussing what the "separation of church and state" means. (What it meant, then, was that no state could "establish" a church--in the way that the Church of England is established in the U.K., or the Lutheran Church is established in Denmark. They're supported by taxes, their leadership is appointed by government, etc.--they are state religions. Jefferson wrote about a "vast wall separating church and state" to reassure Baptists in New England that they would not face oppression by Congregationalists.).

Isaac Newton vs. military technology:
Well gosh--I can see the insidious hand of Sarah Palin here, too. Or...perhaps, it might be worthwhile to consider that the intentional pursuit of military technology as a means of achieving battlefield superiority has been a hallmark of U.S. strategy since the Civil War. Especially in Texas, home to Ft. Hood, Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland AFB, and most U.S. Air Force pilot training. To me (who majored in Economics and American History) that sounds like a pretty perceptive point to make. I'd include Isaac Newton, too--but presumably they decided something had to give. Oh, well.

Guns
TFA breathlessly tells Brit readers that:

The new curriculum asserts that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an important element of a democratic society.

One can understand that this would so shock a Brit that he might drop his second or third pint of Guinness Stout that he'd swilled that day. Which is to say, what a Brit might find commonplace (down two or three pints of Guinness Stout in the U.S. and you're a de facto alcoholic) in the U.S. is seen as entirely normative. Again--given that the entire point of the Second Amendment was a direct reaction to the abuses of British occupation forces prior to American independence--this is a pretty welcome emphasis on the impact of early American history on our constitution and present-day policy. Not to mention, of course, that in Texas even self-avowed liberals emphasize their support for "Second Amendment Rights".

Think critically--read critically
I'm far less bothered by this article (it's the Guardian, for heaven's sake, what would you expect?) than I am by the fact that SlashDot's editors included it. If they had read this with any perception of the source, or any sense of critical examination of what the writer was saying, they would have concluded that TFA failed the "news for nerds, stuff that matters" test. TFA simply doesn't matter--it's red-meat propaganda for a Brit paper that still proudly waves a red flag.

Re:Think critically--and READ critically (1)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231592)

One can understand that this would so shock a Brit that he might drop his second or third pint of Guinness Stout that he'd swilled that day.

Whilst I may not agree with some of your points, most of what you say seems to be well reasoned. However. Guinness is brewed in Ireland. The country next door to England. (Kinda like saying that all Americans drink is Corona.)

Re:Think critically--and READ critically (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232402)

That reminds me: Why is Millers like making love in a canoe? 'Cause it's f*cking close to water.

Re:Think critically--and READ critically (1)

aeortiz (1498977) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231648)

John said:

I'm far less bothered by this article (it's the Guardian, for heaven's sake, what would you expect?) than I am by the fact that SlashDot's editors included it. If they had read this with any perception of the source, or any sense of critical examination of what the writer was saying, they would have concluded that TFA failed the "news for nerds, stuff that matters" test. TFA simply doesn't matter--it's red-meat propaganda for a Brit paper that still proudly waves a red flag.

I agree. Readers should be on their guard against the Guardian, and reach for the salt shaker whenever its name pops up as a source. Add to this the lovely way they sneer at Christians in the southern US as backward hillbillies, and you have flame-bait fiesta.

Re:Think critically--and READ critically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232046)

Slashdot even runs articles through the "news for nerds, stuff that matters" test?! Well, shit... here, I gave up on them even knowing what the hell that test would be any more...

Re:Think critically--and READ critically (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232392)

"Especially in Texas, home to Ft. Hood, Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland AFB, and most U.S. Air Force pilot training."

So we replace science with history, and rather biased at that? Even my Tennessee history classes weren't that biased, and my Texas Elementary classes weren't, either. My god how things have changed since the Era of Bush.

No Effect (5, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231848)

I was indoctrinated with a liberal public education full of PC bullshit. And the only effect it had on me was a contempt for those who would push their agendas onto me. I ended up being somewhere between libertarian and conservative, with a strong feeling that the state should neither support nor suppress religious beliefs. I'm an atheist myself, but realize that religion is very important to many people. And atheist conservative, I suppose I challenge the narrow view political labels has taken in the last few decades. But I suggest that perhaps it was the Christian Right that made state religion part of a "conservative" platform.

If Texas wants to eliminate liberal bias and insert some neoconservative/christian right bias then so be it. The ideals of neocons and christian right are generally incompatible and it has fractured the Republican Party for many decades. Likely students will see the contradictions and the hypocrisy and make their own choices. With the wild Internet providing easy access to information, and the culture of this new generation being very open and honest about their beliefs (even though they are often outlandishly liberal) I have little doubt in my mind that students will overcome this minor obstacle in propaganda tainted education. The kids who aren't critical thinkers and fall prey to such propaganda would have fallen anyways, to the Church or to social pressures. They are the causalities of our society, and will be integrated into society as taxpayers and ineffective voters.

It's not like Americans haven't had to face insane propaganda mixed in their education. From Commies to Political Correctness, we over came the bullshit.

Re:No Effect (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232366)

Yes, but we're supposed to have learned something from it. Rather than repeat the same racist, bigoted bullshit that we supposedly over come. The whole war on terror thing is terrifyingly similar to things that were done only a few decades earlier. Perhaps not purposely constructing curriculum to convince people of things which are known to be wrong is a bad idea. There's enough BS in the coursework without doing so on purpose.

The problem is that most Americans aren't critical thinkers, and it's up to those with some capacity to fix things so that the information is at least accurate and as balanced as possible.

Why does this sound exactly like the start of... (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232124)

World War 3?

Really, if you look at how everything began, that led to WW2... it looks like this: The start of a reality distortion gaining power, and taking over. A mass-schizophrenia.

It may take another 10 years, but this already looks like a mind-virus of the level of the Nazis or the inquisitions.

I just hope we can quickly cure people.
(The cure to delusions is to give reality a greater appeal, and make the delusions look really bad. And I mean in the minds of the infected. They must have an excuse to keep their self-respect, and get back into a better reality. So we must first and foremost stop all the “threats”. Like the “economic crisis”, the growing poverty, and especially the easy-to-kill fake ones like the way overblown “terrorist threat”, or the whole Obama fear. I say, the primary target should be to shoot Glenn Beck and close down FOX News ASAP. BUT: Let give them a reason, so THEY do it, or it will only get worse. And then go for the “churches”. They are THE professionals since thousands of years, and the feed on it like no other. )

Re:Why does this sound exactly like the start of.. (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232288)

Um, from your post you seem to be as indoctrinated as those "right wingers" you seem to hold in contempt.

like the "economic crisis"

Yep, no crisis at all right. Easy to find jobs. We didn't waste billions of taxpayer dollars "bailing out" businesses. Not sure if that was your primary point that it didn't exist, but putting "economic crisis" in quotes seem to indicate it...

or the whole Obama fear.

Because we should all be just happy that we have a president who has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, supports a supreme court nominee vowed against true freedom of speech and supports unsustainable programs. Right?

I say, the primary target should be to shoot Glenn Beck and close down FOX News ASAP.

News flash. News sources are biased. It isn't new. Look at MSNBC, heck, look at the Guardian which TFA is taken from. The Guardian doesn't even make any claims to be balanced or fair.

Oh and is the new tactic to eliminate anyone with views who you don't agree with now?

Re:Why does this sound exactly like the start of.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32232292)

I just hope we can quickly cure people.

I seriously doubt that - these people are still waving the FUCKING CONFEDERATE FLAG. They lost the war, going on 150 years ago, and they still haven't given up. They've lost every battle in their self-proclaimed "culture war", and they still believe that one day America will return to the "good ol' days", where wimmins stayed in the kitchen, faggots stayed in the closet, niggers stayed in the ghetto and "White America" was some sort of tax-free libertarian redneck version of Leave It To Beaver.

The fact that such a time never existed (look up the marginal rates during the Eisenhower era, for instance) or that 99% of the Social Security collecting teabaggers who worship it would have been dirt poor sharecroppers without shoes, electricity or running water doesn't enter into the equation.

Well.. (1)

sparkeyjames (264526) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232208)

Because old news is sooooo exciting. This was news about 3 or 4 months ago. Where was the submitter at that time. You really should poke your head out of the basement more often. Or at the least check the news more than once every few months or so.

Can't we just go back to the way things were? (4, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232218)

You know, back when it was the US and the Republic of Texas?

Re:Can't we just go back to the way things were? (2, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232416)

You know, back when it was the US and Mexico?

There. Fixed it for you.

only problem with one of them (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232242)

I have no problem with school books portraying US history or the free enterprise system in a positive light.

I do have a problem with school books singling out and particular religion, because separation of church and state is a bedrock of US law.

These Neo Cons Are Turds in the Punch Bowl (0, Troll)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232278)

These creeps need to be dragged into the streets whipped into their sense, then educated and sent to work in a coal mine before they corrupt the entire nation with their ignorance and ill formed beliefs. They don't have a clue and Christ would puke on them if they got close to him.
              And that was as mild as I could get with these freaks invading text books and messing up young kids' minds.

Re: These Neo Cons Are Turds in the Punch Bowl (1, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232396)

....Because we all know that the left does none of that. No the left is perfectly sane and based on reason. Right? Only the right has any sort of indoctrination. Only the right acts without reason. After all, Obama has been perfectly reasonable all the time. Yep! Nothing but protections of civil and economic liberties under Obama! And a balanced budget! Right?

Lets face it, both the right and the left are irrational. Until we get some third parties active in the US, nothing is going to change and the US will continue to deteriorate.

ironic (0, Troll)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232280)

Given British history and how it is taught and perceived in Britain, the lack of separation of church and state, and the kind of nutty statements from UK Christian leaders, it's kind of ironic for the UK to point the finger at the US over this.

Good, let them (3, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232306)

I'm all for this. If they want to diminish science and taint history, let 'em.

That'll give my child that much bigger of an advantage in about 15 years when she's applying for jobs. She'll understand the scientific method. She'll know her history. She'll be well educated, while the children from texas will believe that there is no USSR/soviet union.

This works for me.

Ridicule can be a powerful force for good. (5, Insightful)

jeko (179919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232378)

Reasonable discussion isn't going to cut it any more. A woman who home-schooled her children because, and I'm quoting exactly here, sending them to public education would be "throwing them into the enemy's flames," i.e. damning them to Hell, has gotten some control over the Texas Board of Education. It's time to unleash the awesome power of ridicule.

Seriously. Look at the proposed changes from the article:

  • ...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.
  • Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favour of examining scientific advances through military technology.
  • a suggestion that the anti-communist witch-hunt by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s may have been justified.
  • One curriculum amendment describes the civil rights movement as creating "unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes" among minorities.
  • ...drop[ping] references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous "Atlantic triangular trade"
  • Two years ago, [Dunbar] published a book, One Nation Under God, in which she argued that the United States was ultimately governed by the scriptures.
  • Dunbar says these are important steps to overturning what she believes is the myth of a separation between church and state in the US.
  • Among the advisers the board brought in to help rewrite the curriculum is David Barton, the leader of WallBuilders which seeks to promote religion in history. Barton has campaigned against the separation of church and state. He argues that income tax should be abolished because it contradicts the bible.

These are not the crackpot fringe. These are people in charge of educating the children of one of the country's largest populations, and who influence education thoughout the country.

We're beyond rational discussion here. Reasonable debate only works when both sides are intellectually honest. How about we begin with Harvard, Princeton, Caltech and MIT dropping all applications from students educated in Texas out of hand? I mean, surely no REAL American would want to send their kid to California or the bastions of the Liberal Elite to be educated?

Time to give Texas back to Mexico (4, Funny)

OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232382)

It's time for the US to give Texas back to Mexico. This will solve many problems, such as: (1) lying textbooks, (2) warmongering presidents, (3) Mexicans illegally streaming across the border for jobs, and (4) country and western music.

Sidelining Jesus as well (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232390)

It wasn't just Jefferson that wanted to seperate Church and State, there was this guy called Jesus that said "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's".
Then again, we're dealing with merchants in the temple here.
A big clue about whether your Church is about worshipping money and power instead of anything else is their attitude to the poor and homeless. The ironic thing is such wide ranging heresy which could not exist without tolerance is incredibly intolerant.

How do I get a kdawson filter on RSS? (0, Troll)

perltooc (933296) | more than 3 years ago | (#32232432)

Not a big fan of kdawson's trolling. There a lots of places on the Web for this tripe. Why on slashdot?
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