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Conservative Textbook Curriculum Passes Final Vote In Texas

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the maximum-truthiness dept.

Education 895

suraj.sun sends in a followup to a story we've been following about the Texas Board of Education's efforts to put a more political spin on some of their state's textbooks. From the Dallas Morning News: "In a landmark move that will shape the future education of millions of Texas schoolchildren, the State Board of Education on Friday approved new curriculum standards for US history and other social studies courses that reflect a more conservative tone than in the past. Split along party lines, the board delivered a pair of 9-5 votes to adopt the new standards, which will dictate what is taught in all Texas schools and provide the basis for future textbooks and student achievement tests over the next decade. Texas standards often wind up being taught in other states because national publishers typically tailor their materials to Texas, one of the biggest textbook purchasers in the country. Approval came after the GOP-dominated board approved a new curriculum standard that would encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation — a sore point for social conservative groups who disagree with court decisions that have affirmed the doctrine, including the ban on school-sponsored prayer."

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Time to stop relying on Texas... (5, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306542)

We either need the DOE to take control of this kind of thing, or we need the other states to be willing to go through this process for themselves.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306614)

The Department of Energy?

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306656)

The Department of Energy?

Heathen, energy is a myth. It is just a manifestation of God's blessings bestowed upon us. It is he who makes the sun shine, plants grow (the conversion from solar to chemical is one of His miracles, falsely attributed to photosynthesis by sinners). Repent sinner.

At least that was what my textbook told me.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (-1, Offtopic)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306946)

Heathen, energy is a myth. We all know all houses can be powered by one of those small black panels, or a tiny wind park. It's just that Bush (and presumably Obama, who seems to get lots of money from the evil BP and thus is contaminated), well it's just that Bush and Obama like cancer and killing small lovable animals with nuclear power plants and heating up the earth until we're all dead. Oh and they're also torturing those poor, lovable, and so very innocent massacrers.

Oh no ! It's even worse than we thought !

(this post attempts to make the point "it goes both ways")

Oh no ! It's even worse than we though t !
Oh no ! It's even worse than we thou ght !
Oh no ! It's even worse than we th ought !
Oh no ! It's even worse than we thought !
Oh no ! It's even worse th an we thought !
Oh no ! It's even worse than we thought !

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (0, Flamebait)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306906)

Hey, Chu is a smart, scientific guy.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (2, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306618)

No I think letting the Federal DOE become the ministry of information would have far worse consequences than this decision in Texas.

I have read lots of history and while I think the church-and-state arguments the Texas board makes are a little week, I can tell you that if you pickup the typical High School Civics book today there IS a progressive bias. I don't think its out of line to insists that books at least cover major political events like the Contract with America, the Goldwater movement in the 60s and not leaving kids with the impression Nixon started Vietnam, is out of line at all.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306778)

I went to school in Texas, took regulars US History because I decided to be lazy, and I learned about the Contract with America, the Goldwater movement, and that Nixon got us out of Vietnam. That was what was in the book, and that is what was discussed in class (exactly like it was in the book).

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (-1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306802)

Reality has a progressive bias.

When did progress... (1, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306944)

become a dirty word?

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306996)

I'd like someone to point me to the list of actual inaccuracies in there? I have read the first 10-15 most recent articles google turned up that seemed from the tile to be very critical of the new curriculum and hardly a single bit of information on what exactly is wrong with it. Newsweek has a list of 10 "silliest changes" http://www.newsweek.com/id/238322 [newsweek.com] and they don't seem particularly silly or factually inaccurate. If that's the worse there is then I don't understand what the fuss is about.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306634)

We either need the DOE to take control of this kind of thing, or we need the other states to be willing to go through this process for themselves.

I vote for the latter (not that it will ever happen). In a way, this sort of thing is good - get the State back in the states. We don't have to be half a continent of the same amalgamated trash. Different trash would be an improvement.

Seriously, this sounds like A JOB FOR HIGH TECH(TM)(C)(Patent Pending) - print on demand anyone?

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (4, Insightful)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306822)

I'm a conservative. My real problem with this is that a strong central government (Texas) is making decisions that should be made at the local level.

As such, having the DOE take control of educational standards is not a good solution. There's currently a Democrat in the White House, but how would you feel if a Republican took control and shoved Texas style standards through the DOE, having nation wide effect?

These are decisions that should be made by communities and teachers, not bureaucrats.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (3, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306938)

The progressive side of the argument says: look at what happens in Kansas. Don't we have a responsibility to protect those children from what their community wants to teach them? Their community is going to render them unemployable and dirt poor.

Maybe the best option is to have all of federal, state and local requirements, and to ensure that teaching to the federal/state standards requires no more than 1/3rd the total time for each.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306962)

IMHO, it's less important that Texas decided to do this to their 'own' children.

The more important thing is that for the rest of the nation, they would rather just accept it for slightly cheaper textbooks, rather than paying more for the ones they want.

Re:Time to stop relying on Texas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306988)

I don't see the current move as being, "Conservative." Nor is it "Liberal." It's outright dumb, judgemental and unscientific, which makes it radical...some might even consider it revolutionary.

The problem isn't so much one of government, but of business. Why the heck would any school district outside of Texas use such dumbass books, except for the fact that the book publishers will offer them cheaper than more intelligent ones. This could probably easily be solved by having several more populated states decide on their books before Texas does. Then Texas would be free to have a dummied down book made for themselves.

Actually, as I think more about this, why are we still using printed books in schools? Shouldn't we have our kids reading using dumb terminals online, where the individual school district can customize what they see as important to their kids' education? (With input from the DOE as to what they think would be important, but not mandated by them.)

Or perhaps we could have regional grading of education? Graduates from Texas would be considered second class graduates, who might know science, or might be as ignorant as the books they use, but be approved for being followers of megachurches in Texas. Naturally, they should be barred from serving in government outside of Texas.

Trite, I know (-1, Flamebait)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306544)

God, these are idiots.

Re:Trite, I know (1, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306564)

God, these are idiots.

Idiots? Why are you being so polite to those dunderheaded inbred fucking morons?

Re:Trite, I know (0, Flamebait)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306600)

Dunderheaded inbred fucking morons? Why are you being so polite to those goddamn piece of shit cum-stains on humanity who would regress us back into the dark ages due to a selfish, head-up-their-haemorrhoid-filled-assholes mentality?

Re:Trite, I know (5, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306678)

Oi! I'm a goddamn piece of shit cum-stain on humanity, I would regress us back into the dark ages with a selfish, head-up-haemorrhoid-filled-arse mentality and I object to being compared to the Texas Board of Education.

Re:Trite, I know (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306690)

Why are you being so nice to these almost as bad as progressive liberals?

Re:Trite, I know (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306612)

Get your outdated, bigoted stereotypes right. "Inbred" is reserved for Appalachian hillbillies and such, not Texans. I suppose ignorance is an excuse, but then ignorance and bigotry go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Re:Trite, I know (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306960)

I always assumed inbred was reserved for the inbred, e.g. people who marry their cousins and have lots of genetic defects as a result, like Texans.

Re:Trite, I know (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306716)

Are you referring to /. posters who are making knee-jerk hostile comments without having any idea what changes were actually made to the curriculum? Yes they are.

I for one (3, Insightful)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306554)

Welcome to the new American Taliban.

Finally they are no longer pretending to be like the rest of us.

Re:I for one (0, Troll)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306702)

hardly, that's just local people deciding how their local schools will be. I find the DOE to be even more like the Taliban, trying to force a political agenda and philosophy on the whole nation. The DOE should be eliminated, the federal government abolished from children's education.

Re:I for one (2, Insightful)

the_leander (759904) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306782)

Hardly, these local people deciding to rewrite history will have an effect on everyone else's children as practically all textbooks are produced by only a handful of companies. Other states may well having to adopt this revisionism.

If they continue to rewrite history in a way that suits their political and religious sensibilities they may well end up being unable to export workers outside of the state or even the US.

Re:I for one (0, Flamebait)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306852)

"rewriting history" is just accusation against someone that doesn't believe your incorrect version of history. The federal government doesn't get to say what history is, neither do you.

Re:I for one (4, Insightful)

the_leander (759904) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306992)

But by the same token neither do these people.

With respect, writing out people who are inconvenient to your religious leanings and omitting large chunks of well established and documented history is a very dangerous path to go down.

Texas (5, Funny)

crumbz (41803) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306556)

Still fighting the American Civil War in 2010.

Re:Texas (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306654)

Save your Dixie cups! The South shall rise again!

Re:Texas (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306754)

the desire to centralize government always comes in the guise of a hero on a white horse. The fight to keep or free slaves was not fought because of the slaves it was due to power grabs from the federal government. You could say that the Democrats really liked having their slaves and the Republicans were trying to free them, but in reality, the Republicans were just grabbing for power, like usual, while the Democrats where trying to keep their right to chose, slavery.

How will other states react? (4, Interesting)

Nakor BlueRider (1504491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306562)

Setting aside questions about Texas itself for the moment, I wonder if this will cause other states to go to greater lengths to separate their curriculum from Texas's. The curriculum change got a lot of opposition in Texas, and I can only imagine it would get a far greater amount in many of the other states, especially the more liberal ones.

Re:How will other states react? (4, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306680)

California is all over this already. They're pushing to ban all textbooks using Texas' information.

Re:How will other states react? (1)

O.F. Fascist (198664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306774)

8,206.06

Re:How will other states react? (1)

O.F. Fascist (198664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306800)

I wonder if California will be able to afford their own custom made textbooks given their budget issues, or if that will force them to buy already developed off the shelf textbooks that are based on what Texas went with.

Re:How will other states react? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306760)

Setting aside questions about Texas itself for the moment, I wonder if this will cause other states to go to greater lengths to separate their curriculum from Texas's. The curriculum change got a lot of opposition in Texas, and I can only imagine it would get a far greater amount in many of the other states, especially the more liberal ones.

California is already considering a measure requiring schools to not use Texas-authorized school books.

And the sides of the ideological civil war in our country become that much more defined...

Texas should now be considered a medical condition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306568)

Akin to dyslexia or mild retardation, and we should show a little extra respect and admiration for those who manage to overcome their Texasism and not be imbeciles.

Isn't this just increasing the cost of education? (4, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306578)

The conservatives often complain that we spend too much money on education costs. But yet they then want to rewrite all the textbooks to meet their own versions of history. In the end, aren't they just increasing the costs of education, by forcing schools to buy new textbooks that meet the new standards? This seems counter to the "free market", "don't tread on me" idealism that they were pushing not too long ago...

Re:Isn't this just increasing the cost of educatio (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306750)

The conservatives often complain that we spend too much money on education costs. But yet they then want to rewrite all the textbooks to meet their own versions of history. In the end, aren't they just increasing the costs of education, by forcing schools to buy new textbooks that meet the new standards? This seems counter to the "free market", "don't tread on me" idealism that they were pushing not too long ago...

While what is going in Texas is absolutely disgusting, it will not increases costs. Textbooks are bought (adopted) on a cycle. I don't know how it is Texas but every 7 years new textbooks are purchased to replace all the current textbooks that are at a school.

What this does basically, is limit what textbook choices a district can consider when purchasing for a new adoption. It will not force districts to have to replace their current books until the district's/school's next adoption period.

Re:Isn't this just increasing the cost of educatio (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306970)

They don't sound so "conservative" to me. Lies are conservative?

Environmentalism=conservation, "conservatives"=anti-environmentalism.

Constitution: separation of church and state (what could be more conservative than the basis of all US law?). "Conservatives": church in state=sponsored schools.

The list goes on. The only thing they want to conserve is the rich's wealth. "Antiprogress" is a better label than "conservative".

These "conservatives" are anti-American.

Re:Isn't this just increasing the cost of educatio (2, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306980)

You're assuming those are the same conservatives. In fact, you're almost certainly addressing two almost entirely different factions within the movement, the economic and social conservatives. They have only the thinnest of threads in common, but are allied because they would lose every election if they competed for votes.

social conservatism is always hypocritical (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306994)

social conservatism is all about a simplistic model of human behavior: teenagers, just don't have sex, homosexuals, just stop being homosexual, just say no to drugs, etc.

ironically, social conservatives always wind up breaking their own principles. just examine the folly of anti-homosexual activists found in homosexual situations form throughout history, especially recent, for examples. and you can bet the daughters of politicians who rail against abortion are secretly flown to canada when a "problem" happens

social conservatism is always "do as i say, not as i do". and there isn't really any malice in their simple-mindedness. most of them sincerely believe their own dunderheaded takes on human nature, and then wind up paying the price for their simpleminded edicts on human behavior

human nature is complex, and when forced into simplistic models, you just wind up causing more suffering than you are attempting to stop. this isn't an attempt to excuse lack of responsibility or criminal activity, its a simple obvious statement that the real world is more complex than very simpleminded teachings

social conservatives are not evil, they're just stupid

History is the most important subject (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306582)

Those who control the present, control the past. Those who control the past, control the future.

Re:History is the most important subject (1)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306624)

Mod parent up before the clock strikes thirteen

Re:History is the most important subject (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306704)

It was in an empty forest and nobody was listening to the clock.

First, they came for the History books...

Re:History is the most important subject (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306806)

Why the hell should trite, overused clichés be modded up?

Re:History is the most important subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306824)

It's a quote from Eric Blair's (George Orwell) "1984".

Re:History is the most important subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306898)

Trite, but true.

Re:History is the most important subject (0, Troll)

kbrannen (581293) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306878)

I'll agree with that thought and it is at the heart of the controversy here. In the past 140 years or so, the "liberals" have controlled education and history, giving us what we "know" today. Before 1859-1870, we wouldn't be having this conversation. From the article: "...the board's five Democrats criticized the Republican majority for injecting their political and religious views into the curriculum". That's completely stupid. No matter what side you're on, you will "inject your views". Also, "I think we've corrected the imbalance we've had in the past and now have our curriculum headed straight down the middle." I don't know if what they have is "straight down the middle", but to me, any correction the other way is a good thing after 140 years of liberal guidance.

The summary is inflammatory and incorrect, but this is Slashdot, so why should I be surprised that it's wrong. There is no more "political spin" here than in the past. The only difference is that the direction of the spin is changing slightly. American history has been written differently than what happened, if you go digging for the facts. The "founding fathers" are depicted quite differently from what they say in their personal letters. Various "facts" have been quietly dropped, giving a different "spin" on why Americas was started as a country and what was important to us.

How about we all put our computer games away for awhile, go pick up some history books (preferably those written before 1870), read about what happened and was said, and make up our own minds based more on facts rather than what some educator says.

Re:History is the most important subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306982)

So... Those who are in control... are... in control?

Mandatory note for Texas School Board: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306592)

You are entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.
If someone were to do this in Holland there would be outrage! I don't understand how you can allow your children to be indoctrinated like this.
History books should be produced by experts in the field of history, just like math books by mathemeticians.
You can't democratize facts, wtf guys?

Re:Mandatory note for Texas School Board: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306720)

You don't know anything about history.

Re:Mandatory note for Texas School Board: (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306736)

I don't understand how you can allow your children to be indoctrinated like this.

Very good point.

History books should be produced by experts in the field of history, just like math books by mathemeticians.
You can't democratize facts, wtf guys?

If you believe that text books anywhere are unbiased you've got mental blinders on the size of Texas.

The question people should be asking is, "Why should I turn my children over to a government school in the first place?"

Re:Mandatory note for Texas School Board: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306850)

If you believe that text books anywhere are unbiased you've got mental blinders on the size of Texas.

And I suppose that makes striving for the least bias possible somehow less noble.

Re:Mandatory note for Texas School Board: (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306882)

The question people should be asking is, "Why should I turn my children over to a government school in the first place?"

You don't have to. You are free to send your children to a private school if you prefer. Nobody is forcing you to send your child to a public school; you are just required to send your child to a school.

Boycott Texas publishers (0)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306596)

If other states could be pressured into boycotting any publishers giving in to Texas curriculum demands, we could have a very interesting situation here. Texas can legislate what they want in their textbooks, but that doesn't mean anything if no publisher big enough to supply the books is willing to do so. I'm sure there are states which would be happy to boycott- I'm just not too hopeful it would be enough to make Texas untouchable for publishers.

Could this be... (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306602)

... a sign of some elements of Texas pushing harder for secession from the rest of the country? If so, I say bring it on...

Re:Could this be... (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306922)

... a sign of some elements of Texas pushing harder for secession from the rest of the country? If so, I say bring it on...

Better yet, let's just sell Tejas back to Mexico before they have the chance to secede. Not only would that that solve the Texas Problem, it would bring some money into the Federal treasury.

Re:Could this be... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306948)

... a sign of some elements of Texas pushing harder for secession from the rest of the country? If so, I say bring it on...

Better yet, let's just sell Tejas back to Mexico before they have the chance to secede. Not only would that that solve the Texas Problem, it would bring some money into the Federal treasury.

I think that is based on the assumption that Mexico would want Texas. I suspect Mexico has enough problems of its own and would not be interested in the deal. Besides, if we sold Texas to Mexico, then angry anti-Mexico Texans might try to immigrate into the US.

If you're mad about this... (+1000, Troll) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306604)

...You can always home-school or send your child to a private school.

Re:If you're mad about this... (+1000, Troll) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306668)

Hmm... Since the state has the same requirements for private and home schooling wouldn't that mean the same material would need to be taught?

Re:If you're mad about this... (+1000, Troll) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306688)

"Before approving the standards on Friday, board members adopted scores of additional changes – including the restoration of Thomas Jefferson's name to a list of political philosophers that students will study in world history."

These AMERICAN TALIBAN will stop at nothing!

Re:If you're mad about this... (+1000, Troll) (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306726)

The problem with them is that private school and home school kids generally end up to have no common sense.

If your parent has an education degree and is generally intelligent and is homeschooling you, you'd probably turn out fine. However, most parents who homeschool these days have gone to a pretty terrible school and their kids end up knowing very little academically and less about social life.

As for private schools, sometimes they end up trying a bit too hard. Unless your kid really, really wants to go to Harvard or go overseas, private schools generally teach kids useless things that they will have to be taught at university level. The problem is that most people going to state universities and the like have had a public education and unless the kid in the private school took lots of AP exams or college-level classes (which they could have) they will be stuck in boring classes for the first years of university.

Re:If you're mad about this... (+1000, Troll) (2, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306728)

Most privates schools are religious based and the secular ones are extremely hard to get into.

Home schooling. I know someone who home schooled her daughter for a while because the girl had a teacher that was just destroying her self-esteem. The girl thought that she sucked at math (Her mother and father all scored well over 600 on the Math part of their SATs). Anyway, the woman home schooled her kid and got tutors when needed to bring her up to speed - funny, compared to her female classmates at the time, she ended up surpassing them when she went back into the system, which totally surprised the teachers. Usually, home schooled kids fall way behind.

Anyway, she said she would get some lesson plans from catalogs (slim pickings) and the catalog home school companies sold her name and she started getting all this kooky religious home schooling stuff - like teaching creationism and other such non-sense.

I don't know about now, but most of the home school curriculums where "Christian" in nature - read no real science.

So, outside of public schools, there's not many options for a middle class or poorer parent. Besides, how many people have the time and energy to teach their kids grade and high school level material - especially since we've forgot most of it.

Wrong reasons for condemning. (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306632)

encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation -- a sore point for social conservative groups who disagree with court decisions that have affirmed the doctrine, including the ban on school-sponsored prayer.

While there are numerous problems with the curriculum, isn't teaching students to be skeptical of government a good thing? If you blindly follow what the government says, democracy in a free society falls apart.

A free thinking individual should be skeptical of all things the government has done, question the motives for various laws and if they believe they are unjust, vote against them or otherwise try to get them repealed.

There are some good examples in this particular case. It just comes down to interpretation.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Is the actual text, it says nowhere about "separation of church and state" it comes down to interpretation if school prayer is a violation of establishing a national religion.

Really, out of all the things wrong in the Texas curriculum why does TFS point out something that could very well be a benefit. Teaching students to question government.

Re:Wrong reasons for condemning. (5, Insightful)

Calydor (739835) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306684)

Because this isn't about questioning government per se.

It's about questioning why America doesn't allow the church to create laws.

Re:Wrong reasons for condemning. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306710)

It is not teaching the students to question government, it is teaching students to see a problem with not living in a theocracy. Seperation of Church and State is one of the very cores of this nation, and it is an issue that revolves around the issues that religion can cause. God does not belong in government, assuming he exists he has his domain and we have ours. (I assume he doesn't but hey)

Re:Wrong reasons for condemning. (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306786)

Because if you let kids prey in school, you're going to have to let a priest observe your bedroom habits as well.

Re:Wrong reasons for condemning. (1)

TalmerS (1690052) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306818)

Do people really develop their political and world views from classroom textbooks? The more blatantly opinionated a textbook is, the greater the chance that students will question all facts that school and society claim, leading to more open minded students. School should teach critical thinking and that no single correct way exists to view historical people and events. I'm still waiting for Zinn's A People's History of the US to become a standard textbook.

Re:Wrong reasons for condemning. (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306838)

encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation -- a sore point for social conservative groups who disagree with court decisions that have affirmed the doctrine, including the ban on school-sponsored prayer.

While there are numerous problems with the curriculum, isn't teaching students to be skeptical of government a good thing?

No. Teaching them to be skeptical of the government in general is a good thing. Teaching them to be skeptical about certain, well established, historical occurrences is not a good thing. They are not teaching kids to be skeptical of the government, but to question the history researched by many,many historians in favor of history as these politicians would like it to be.

Is[sic] the actual text, it says nowhere about "separation of church and state" it comes down to interpretation if school prayer is a violation of establishing a national religion.

No, which is why we have to read all the letters and essays written by the people who wrote that portion of the constitution. Clearly it was written by Locke who made his views on the matter very clear. You can go read them yourself. Jefferson coined the phrase "separation of church and state" but it was just a catchier phrasing of Locke's idea.

As for "interpretation of school prayer" that's a vague term. It's perfectly legal to pray in schools or other public institutions. It's not legal to promote any particular religion when acting as an agent of the government and public schools are government institutions. I don't see that this is open to much interpretation at all.

Teaching students to question government.

Because you're overgeneralizing. Teaching students to be skeptical of a well established principal of founding fathers is not teaching them to be skeptical of the government. It's teaching them to be skeptical of history as supported by the facts. It's analogous to teaching kids to be skeptical of the fact that George Washington was a man. Sure that's what the government wants you to think, but while we don't have any fancy facts or historical records, you have to be skeptical. Washington may have been a woman, probably was, just dressed as a man so she could get things done in a male chauvinist dominated society.

Re:Wrong reasons for condemning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306920)

Separation of Church and State, or a question of Separation of State from State?

How about the other approved changes such as:
> They will study how American ideals benefit the world but organisations such as the UN could be a threat to personal freedom.

Or the proposals that were not approved:

> But during the discussions some of the most controversial ideas were dropped - including a proposal to refer to the slave trade as the "Atlantic triangular trade".

Coming to a textbook near you: "The Nation Formerly Known as The United States of America"

Not going to hire anyone from Texas... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306644)

Well, this makes it supremely simple to evaluate any applications that come from Texas or any other state that uses these "standards": into the recycle bin.

The bigotry really bothers me (0, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306648)

It's one thing to disagree politically, but the amount of bigotry on display in this discussion is really distressing.

"A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. The correct use of the term requires the elements of obstinacy, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing opinion."

Any bigots are welcome to reply as to how they are totally justified in displaying their ugliness to the world.

Re:The bigotry really bothers me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306732)

An ad hominem comment like that is pointless if you don't identify who the subject of it is. If you call a specific person a bigot (or a number of specific people) then they may or may not reasonably respond. If you just say 'well a bunch of you are bigots, ner ner ner' then it really doesn't advance the discussion much.

Re:The bigotry really bothers me (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306896)

This is not political disagreement. This is a backlash to an attempt of a small group of vocal minority to slowly rewrite history. In another generation or two, children will be taught the civil rights act is an unfortunate and unnecessary federal encroachment on state right, that the free market would have right all wrongs, that Christianity is an inseparable element of government because all the founding fathers are Christians, the evolution is just one of hundreds of remote possibilities of explaining the way lifeforms are on Earth and every theory is just as valid and plausible, that human rights are relative and flexible according to the situation and not a firm belief that we should uphold.

It is not a different opinion. It is subversion of facts. The manifestation of the 'truthiness' movement the conservative has been advocating to bend reality to their satisfaction. And you thought only Steve Jobs have a RDF. LOL

And it is not prejudices, because these are all facts that we know. There can be no prejudices when there are no judgment involved.

So by your definition, it is not bigotry.

Promising example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306660)

"Approval came after the GOP-dominated board approved a new curriculum standard that would encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation — a sore point for social conservative groups who disagree with court decisions that have affirmed the doctrine, including the ban on school-sponsored prayer."

Questioning's good. Education should encourage questioning. And questioning the basis for legal doctrines is vital to a healthy democracy. If there's anything wrong with the standard adopted then I suspect it will be in the areas where questioning isn't encouraged rather than where it is. Are there any examples of that?

Re:Promising example (2, Insightful)

SlowGenius (231663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306790)

Speaking as a generally liberal person, I'd have to agree with this. While I believe there should continue to be a strong separation of church and state, I don't think see anything at all wrong with students being encouraged to examine the question of whether or not there should be. After all, the whole point of a "liberal" education (in the classical sense) is to encourage dogma-free thinking (including the freedom to examine the pros and cons of dogma-free thinking).

my 2 bits... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306676)

I, for one am all for bombing the whole state back to the time the beliefs they now uphold were in vogue.

Can this be legally challenged? (5, Interesting)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306692)

"We need to have students compare and contrast this current view of separation of church and state with the actual language in the First Amendment," said McLeroy, who like other social conservatives contends that separation of church and state was established in the law only by activist judges and not by the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

I don't suppose this and statements like "Christian land governed by Christian principles" would provide ammunition for a lawsuit that the State Board of Education is itself guilty of a violation of the separation of church and state? It's not evolution, to be sure, but the motivation sounds, based on these accounts, to be highly suspect.

Re:Can this be legally challenged? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306780)

Look at the constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It is entirely up to interpretation if allowing prayer in schools constitutes an "establishment of religion" or whether it is "prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

Nowhere in the constitution does it say that there is "separation of church and state" all that the constitution says it that congress can't pass any laws forbidding you from practicing your religion and from establishing a national religion. Such claims are, as rightfully stated, matters of interpretation.

That isn't to say that I don't agree with the interpretation, but it is just that: an interpretation.

Re:Can this be legally challenged? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306884)

It is entirely up to interpretation if allowing prayer in schools constitutes an "establishment of religion"...

Likewise your statement is open to interpretation. You probably meant "is" in a way that means "is not". Since it would be impossible to look at all the context surrounding your writing or research your ideas further we'll have to teach people to be skeptical of the meaning of your comment.

Re:Can this be legally challenged? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306908)

What about the motivation of the board - whether they were religiously motivated in doing what they did? In the Dover "Intelligent Design" trial, one of the ways they could make their case was to establish whether the board were religiously motivated in introducing ID into the classroom. Based on some of the quoted statements, I'd say there's a fair chance the religion of the board members mixed into this decision pretty heavily.

Re:Can this be legally challenged? (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306950)

That isn't to say that I don't agree with the interpretation, but it is just that: an interpretation.

Concern troll is concerned.

So if this is 'conservative' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306700)

... is what has gone into textbooks in the past properly described as 'liberal'? If not, why not?

Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306712)

Does anyone have a copy of the actual documents outlining this curriculum? I'd like to see with my own eyes what the fuss is about.

mexico (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306734)

mexico+texas= fine by me.

let them secede and be reabsorbed by their southern neighbors. PLEASE.

Hypocrites! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306738)

Well, at least this means that Texans no longer has a right to complain about other states brainwashing kids into political sockpuppets. They now rank right up there with progressive societies like North Korea and Iran. GOOD JOB!

Day of Reckoning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306744)

I'd be willing to bet money that the GOP members of this board and their supporters view this as payback for what they perceive to be decades of a classroom dominated by ideas that are "liberal". Payback's a bitch, right? While I can't say what they're doing is cool, you can't exactly say that Education has been an institution free from political influence up until this point. To me, this is just another reason to send your kids to private school, or home school them..either way put them in an environment where you have more control over curriculum and can be certain that this kind of material does/n't get pushed onto your kids.
 
For the TLDR: More of the same. Raise your own damn kids.

Dumb it down more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306748)

You guys are trying really hard to become a third world theocracy.

Dear Texas (2, Interesting)

vinn (4370) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306764)

Dear Texas,

Remember when you wanted independence from Mexico? You went and had that little revolution. Now you brag about how you're the only state to have ever been its own republic, yada, yada.

Tell you what, you can have your independence back. The rest of us never really liked you; we kinda think you're douchebags. So, go raise that Lone Star flag and tattoo "In God We Trust" on all of your children.

Sincerely,
The Rest of Us

Re:Dear Texas (2, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306876)

Thank you for grouping everyone in an entire state into one neat little category.

Re:Dear Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306978)

Dear Texas,

...

Tell you what, you can have your independence back. The rest of us never really liked you; we kinda think you're douchebags. So, go raise that Lone Star flag and tattoo "In God We Trust" on all of your children.

Fine we'll do just that. FYI we'll be taking *all* of the territory we brought into the United States with us. That will include the eastern half of New Mexico and a section of Colorado, which will split Colorado in two. If you happen to reside within that section kindly GTFO.

Open Source Textbooks? (5, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306836)

I've wondered about this for a while now - couldn't universities ban together and commit some resources (a small contribution from a large number of schools) to create a K-12 series of texts on major subjects, that is designed by the best available experts and freely available for all districts to use? Creative Commons licensing (oddly enough, CC has a link right now to Virginia's Department of Education and some work they are doing) and (insofar as is humanly possible) a focus on just the facts of history and their documentable consequences. To enforce some objective standard of what constitutes a fact, require documented citations to primary historical sources for all parts of the book asserting facts - preferably citations with links to the source material. The final form of the textbook delivered to students wouldn't necessarily include those references, but they would be present online and mandatory for anything that reached the "final" version. Let the broader college professor community decide on the acceptability of/validity of any particular cited source.

Not only would this provide a mechanism for creation and distribution of textbooks that wouldn't be easily influenced by political agendas (tenured professors are about as pressure-proof as we're likely to get and still have sufficient domain knowledge to do useful work) but it would make good quality teaching materials universally and cheaply available. If school districts didn't have to pony up so much money for textbooks, what else could they do with the money?

Slashdot - tech news for freedom lovers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306848)

I'm not going to create an account just for this, but there are a few points to make.

First, this isn't really 'technology' or even 'science' news. This is at this point political news and it seems many slashdot posters are simply taking a liberal/bi-coastal position against the conservative (sometime evangelical christian) position in many other states. This could be discussed on any number of sites; slashdot isn't really the best place for another offshoot of this typical argument.

Second, most of slashdot rails against central control, jack-booted thuggery of the RIAA or national censorship. However, when a community or state exercises its power to mandate community values which conflict with the particular person on slashdot, all that speech about freedom goes right out the window. Centralization to a DOE, mandated this and that, imposing morals on everyone - hypocrisy is exposed.

Examine yourselves.

Re:Slashdot - tech news for freedom lovers? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32306974)

First, this isn't really 'technology' or even 'science' news. This is at this point political news

Wow. That explais why it's in the "politics" section! I'd been trying to figure that out. Thanks. One question though: why would you think it had anything to do with science or technology?

...Because Texans clearly aren't right wing enough (0, Troll)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306858)

They have a ways to go to get to Arizona levels of excellence.

But it won't work, because Texans don't read their schoolbooks, they just keep them in big "depositories" hidden away on upper floors of buildings.

A quote from one of the board members: (5, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306860)

"What we have is the history profession, the experts, seem to have a left-wing tilt, so what we were doing is trying to restore some balance to the standards," board member Don McLeroy said in March [cnn.com] .

In other words: "Despite being a two-bit politician on a school board, I'm going to ignore what even I call the experts' views and bend curriculum to support my political whims because I am a fucking retard."

Thought control (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306866)

This is nothing short of an attempt to implement thought control in the US by selective control of information to brainwash the next generation. These are the very people who worship McCarthy and vilify "godless communism", and they're engaging in the very same practices they condemn. Their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

In Japan, school children learn about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but aren't told about the Nanking Massacre, Pearl Harbor, or the Bataan death march. As a result, when they talk to outsiders about WWII they have a very warped view of what happened and why it happened that way. We all need to know as much of the truth about history as is possible, whether we like it or not, or we're going to tackle the future from a very warped and distorted viewpoint. Good decision making is based on knowing the facts, including the context, not on wishful thinking about the way the world ought to be.

Wow (1)

ninesalone (1817424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306914)

The really sad part is that children are victims in all of this.

US History (1)

Pernix (1817420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306936)

"And the good Lord said "Magic everywhere in this bitch," and there was. Thus was the United States bestowed upon us, the virtuous defenders of democracy." -From Houghton Mifflin's upcoming 'God, Country, and YOU' textbook series.
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