Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ignorance loses in Texas - finally

A Texas school board race doesn't seem the stuff of high drama, or of much interest to Oregonians. How Texas influences textbook publishers, though, affects textbooks in much of the nation, including Oregon.

On Tuesday, Christian extremists lost big in Texas. This is noteworthy on a number of levels, but it's time to take off my 10-gallon hat to the voters of Texas for finally getting something right.

Check out this editorial from the The Austin-American Statesman, hardly a left-wing rag.

Or, if you want to know the saga in-depth and more, check out this piece from the New York Times Magazine. It shows how far afield the Texas School Board is.

Here's a graph from the Times' piece concerning Don McLeroy, a dentist and the most conservative member of this most conservative board, about changes to the social studies curriculum:

"McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands."

And this from the AP following McLeroy's primary defeat Tuesday:

"McLeroy, who believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that the Christian influences of the founding fathers are important to studying American history, lost his role as chairman last year following criticism of his outspoken views on creationism and support of teaching the weaknesses of evolutionary theory."

Conservatives always complain about public schools in America and how our system lags behind other developed nations. Well, perhaps they should look at the conservative Texas School Board. It explains quite a lot.

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