Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Coming Christianist Generation

All I can say is that someone really needs to find a way to change the school textbook market so that it doesn't rely so heavily on the dictates of the Texas State Board of Education. It's a difference between a future of thoughtful, intelligent children and a future of ignorant and incompetent children.

There are more and less reasonable ways to evaluate history, literature, culture, religion, ethics, philosophical ideas, etc. To shift US education over to the "math and science" fetish (which unlike, say, reasoned ethical deliberation, can be quantitatively measured and thus more easily compared across populations), on one hand, and the nutty religio-cultural views of a particularly loud-mouthed minority of Americans, on the other side, is to undercut future students' ability to engage in critical thinking and ultimately live life as free, autonomous beings. In such a case, it won't matter how much "math and science" education kids get, unless your idea of what to do with that education is create more technologically sophisticated ways to be bigots.
Texas' State Board of Education - following a long history of throwing itself into "culture war" issues - is set to vote Friday on a resolution calling on textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books.

The resolution cites world history books no longer used in Texas schools that it says devoted more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than Christian beliefs and practices...

"It’s that great idea. That radical idea of Judeo-Christianity, that man is created in the image of God. So if you have world history books that downplay Christianity - Judeo-Christianity - and it doesn’t even make it in the table of contents, I think there’s a great concern," McLeroy said.

Some educators fear the debate might lead to a revision of history. "I was a social studies teacher, and, I’m sorry. History is what it is. It happened," Gayle Fallon of the Houston Federation of Teachers told CBS affiliate KHOU.

Fallon said the claim that books devote more lines to Islam that Christianity is baseless anyway.

"I’ve talked to the history teachers. They say there’s nothing there," Fallon said. "A textbook should not proselytize for any side. It should present fact. And, from what we’ve seen of the text, they present fact."...

The resolution concludes by warning publishers the "State Board of Education will look to reject future prejudicial social studies submissions that continue to offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others."

1 comment:

MT said...

I'm hopeful this is just some pulpit bullying from uncontested or politically appointed wingnuts, which neither schools nor publishers have any duty to heed.