Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Texas is debating adopting new standards for U.S. history instruction


If you thought the debate over U.S. History Standards ended when Lynn Cheney and friends took on the entire historical profession in the 1990s, then you were wrong. Talking Points Memo reports that Texas is currently discussing revising its standards for U.S. history post-1877, and the very right wing board responsible for writing them is proposing some very disturbing stuff. As TPM notes, "Approved textbooks, the standards say, must teach the Texan student to "identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority." No analogous liberal figures or groups are required..." Students will also be required to "describe Ronald Reagan's role in restoring national confidence, such as Reaganomics and Peace with Strength."

But its worse than that-- its more of the teach this fact, teach that interpretive idea school-- without any discussion of the import of, or methods for teaching, critical thinking and historical analysis. And because Texas is so big, its standards effect what textbook publishers put into ALL their textbooks.

Perhaps now we can abandon textbooks altogether, once and for all?

Here, courtesy of TPM, is the draft of the document itself. Notice the marginal comments made by members of the committee. Also, here is another, very interesting analysis of these proposed standards by the United Farm Workers.

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