Texans for Truthful Textbooks rally. Photo: MyFoxAustin
A state legislator has sponsored a bill intended to keep the Texas State Board of Education’s revisionist history out of California.
The Christian Fundamentalist-stacked Texas State Board of Education has been in the limelight a little more of late than is customary for boards of education. Why?
As we reported back in August, the BOE hired David Barton to rewrite the state’s social studies curriculum. Barton is president and founder of “Wallbuilders”, an organization which exists to:
. . exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.
He worked closely with Peter Marshall, another appointee. Marshall describes himself thus:
Because he believes that our nation is in moral and spiritual crisis and that the only hope for restoration is revival, his increasingly prophetic ministry focuses on two major themes.
First, there is the urgent necessity of recovering the original American vision, and the truth about our Christian heritage. How can we restore America if we don’t know who we are?
Second, he strongly emphasizes the importance of putting 2nd Chronicles 7:14 into practice: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
These men and the remainder of their panel have worked tirelessly to gut Texas’s social studies curriculum, de-emphasizing if not outright removing references to key historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, who coined the phrase “a wall of separation between church and state”. They also plan to include a section on the “conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 90s”, with positive commentary on the Moral Majority, and reference to Founders’ being “guided by Christian principles”.
Texas, having the second-largest public school system (behind only California), has a great deal of sway over what gets published in textbooks. It’s simply not cost-effective for publishers to print different editions for each state, so the large markets set the standard.
California State Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, is having none of it. He has introduced SB1451, legislation requiring the California Board of Education to review textbooks with an eye out for the Texas revisions, and report on what they find to the legislature.
Yee comments, “While some Texas politicians may want to set their educational standards back 50 years, California should not be subject to their backward curriculum changes. The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation’s diverse history.”
California Board of Education representatives stress that their curriculum standards are already strong, and that there is little chance of Texans’ anti-American propaganda sneaking in. Says Director Tom Adams, “Our main concern is whether materials meet California’s standards. There’s nothing in our review process that says we should be following Texas or anything like that.”
Yee’s chief of staff, Adam Keigwin, reiterated in response that the bill is precautionary in nature. “. . . there are still things that could sneak their way into our textbooks, and we want to be sure. We don’t want any of those changes that Texas has proposed.”
The Texas curriculum changes will be finalized on May 21. This past Sunday, American Atheists sponsored the Texans for Truthful Textbooks rally in Austin; here’s the local news coverage. Of particular interest is the Liberty Counsel attorney at the end decrying the protesters as “a liberal atheist group” who would “probably want to remove reference to the Alamo because it was a Catholic mission, and remove ‘under god’ from the Pledge of Allegiance”.
You can review the proposed textbook changes for yourself HERE. Changes are in 19 TAC Chapter 113, Subchapters A-D.
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