Texas “Experts” Suggest Pro-Christian History Curriculum July 15, 2009

Texas “Experts” Suggest Pro-Christian History Curriculum

We already know conservative Christians are attacking Science curriculums across the country. Now they’re trying to revise History classes?

Oh. It’s Texas. I get it now.

Two of the three reviewers proposing pro-Christian revisionist history are:

  • David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, a group that promotes America’s Christian heritage
  • Rev. Peter Marshall, who preaches that Watergate, the Vietnam War and Hurricane Katrina were God’s judgments on the nation’s sexual immorality

In early recommendations from outside experts appointed by the board, a divide has opened over how central religious theology should be to the teaching of history…

Three reviewers, appointed by social conservatives, have recommended revamping the K-12 curriculum to emphasize the roles of the Bible, the Christian faith and the civic virtue of religion in the study of American history. Two of them want to remove or de-emphasize references to several historical figures who have become liberal icons, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall.

De-emphasize Thurgood Marshall? The first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court? The person who argued for the winning side in Brown v. Board of Education? A person who presided over some of the most important civil rights cases in U.S. history? We don’t do him enough justice in our schools as is!

I look forward to hearing how these people want to praise Joseph McCarthy.

The Christians also want to include Billy Graham on the list of “transformational leaders of the 20th century.”

How should social studies teachers explain the system of checks and balances?

The conservative reviewers say… the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution stems from a scriptural understanding of man’s fall and inherent sinfulness, or “radical depravity,” which means he can be governed only by an intricate system of checks and balances.

And then, there’s my favorite change:

Replace references to America’s “democratic” values with “republican” values

Reviewer David Barton suggests swapping out “republican” for “democratic” in teaching materials. As he explains: “We don’t pledge allegiance to the flag and the democracy for which it stands.”

So why does all this matter when each state has its own standards?

Texas is such a large market that textbook-makers would cater their books to adapt to Texas’ (soon-to-be-lower?) standards, books which can also then be used in other states. Not only that, some publishers “[adopt] the majority’s editing suggestions nearly verbatim.”

It’s not an isolated incident.

None of this has been adopted yet, of course. It’s just a possibility. But so was unnecessary criticism of evolution at one time… now, that criticism is part of Texas’ new science standards.

Are we allowed to make suggestions for the Texas Board of Education?

If the Christians get their way, I suggest making Susan Jacoby‘s Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism required reading.

(Thanks to Alan and Charlie for the link!)

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  • I was brought up in Australia – and went to a Catholic school (in the 50’s). I took history up to about grade 10 and the whole time, we had Catholic history books. That’s right, history written from a Catholic perspective. As you can imagine, I ended up with a view of the reformation, the holy Roman Empire, the Crusades, the inquisition and many other things that was heavily slanted. Took me many years to undo that damage.

  • Luther

    I’m surprised they didn’t suggest that the separation of powers was inspired by “God in three persons”. Come to think of it there are of three of them as reviewers.

    And if they really believe in God, what are these transformational figures, other than doing exactly what God intended. What makes them special then?

  • VorlonGuyverOss

    Cristian’s refuse to see their action as an attack on all others instead they see this as persecution for their faith.

    This is just the flailing of a diseaseed dieing myth cult.

  • TJ

    We really need to get our views taught in church!

    Those people need both sides of the “debate”.

  • mikespeir

    (sigh) I just live here

  • beckster

    As a social studies teacher, this makes me sick to my stomach. I never taught directly from the textbook and only used it as a supplement. Instead I chose to teach history using primary sources and teaching students to figure it out for themselves. Unfortunately, I found that many in the social studies branch of teaching chose it because they thought it would be easy to simply have the students read the book, answer some questions, and take a test. This is how far too many social studies teachers approach their job and it makes me sad since it can be an incredibly wonderful subject if it is taught in an interesting and relevant way.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Oh. It’s Texas. I get it now.

    Texas is such a large market that textbook-makers would cater their books to adapt to Texas’ (soon-to-be-lower?) standards, books which can also then be used in other states. Not only that, some publishers “[adopt] the majority’s editing suggestions nearly verbatim.”

    Mind your prejudices, would you please? It’s precisely because of the market size in Texas that the loonies try this stuff there, combined with the fact that it is more religious than a comparable market such as California.

  • That’s just sickening. Among other things that Barton (and probably the others) are ignorant of is the difference between “democratic” as it refers to a system of government and “Democratic” as it refers to political party.

    What complete idiots. It’s frightening to think of people like that in control of education standards. FFS.

  • Miko

    Now? They’ve been trying this for at least 1300 years.

    Incidentally, their recommendation to exclude Anne Hutchinson is also something atheists should care about, as her heterodox views played an important role in weakening the influence of Calvinism, as well as her role in guaranteeing religious liberty in Rhode Island after she was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (And for those who are not only atheists but also some stripe of anhierarchalist or akratist, she is also sometimes given the distinction of being the first American anarchist.)

  • David D.G.

    Texas “Experts” Suggest Pro-Christian History Curriculum

    Somebody needs to stand up to the “experts!”

    ~David D.G.

  • As a social studies teacher, I have to echo the sentiments of beckster. This is exactly why I chose to teach history in a public school…so that I did not have to “alter” history to meet the “standards” of many of the Christian schools in my area. I also have great issues with many of the home school curriculums that are being produced by Christian organizations. Additionally, I agree with Dan Gilbert in the distinction between democratic and Democratic. Just my 2 cents.

  • Ron in Houston

    Guys, we’re really trying down in the Lone Star State to get rid of the embarrassment that is Rick “Secessionist” Perry.

    Anybody who’s been paling around with Palin deserves the boot.

  • TXatheist

    Thump, it’s hard because guys like me constantly inform Hemant of how prejudice Texas is. md457@hotmail.com . Our Texas politicians just keep doing stupid things like Perry nominating far right McLeroy and since he was a failed nominee we getGail Lowe. She voted to censor medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention in high school health textbooks.
    She voted to dumb down the state’s science curriculum by undermining instruction on evolution and challenging the scientific consensus on global warming.
    This year she is supporting far-right pressure groups that want to remove important civil rights and labor leaders like Thurgood Marshall and César Chavez from history textbooks.

  • TXatheist

    Ron, Perry is leading over Kay Bailey Hutchison so “we” are fighting an uphill battle in getting rid of him.

  • Ed

    I am nothing if not a Texan. I was born and raised here. I just want to make sure people know that we aren’t ALL idiot creationists who wear funny hats and ride horses to the grocery store. There are forces of rationalism and a truly dedicated minority who are fighting against the grain.

    We are working hard, and we’re growing every day. Don’t write us off just yet.

  • jemand

    sounds like my textbooks from my homeschooling days. I wouldn’t wish those on anyone.

    And anyone notice how they are trying to excise some of the few prominent blacks and women that often are mentioned in “standard history”?

  • lurker111

    Can’t some of the other states combine to form a bloc with a market larger than Texas’s?

    It would seem to me that that would be the solution. E.g., a number of California cities/counties, plus some Oregon and Washington counties, plus Illinois, etc.

    I can’t be the first person to have thought of this. The stranglehold that Texas has on the textbook market is ridiculous and pernicious.

  • Once a popular progressive retired athlete from Texas chooses to run for office, things might start to turn around for Texas. Are there any?

  • I believe David Barton is the person who writes history books for home schooled children, most home schooled children are, you know, them. The book ‘Liars For Jesus’ goes over point by point mistakes in his books (as well as others) like the founding fathers built this nation as a x-tian nation (they were deist, they didn’t believe in the super natural)and certain articles of the constitution guaranteed christian privilege. It almost hurts that day after day there is another fight to fight. Resources are fewer and fewer, and seemingly, it is endless; but the battle for the truth must go one. Texas is not on my list of places to go (Sorry Ed and Ron and TXatheist).

  • TXatheist

    Kriss, no offense taken for one has to be able to endure Texas arrogance which is beyond absurd. Do mess with Texass. Lurker, good point but I think education is handled at the state level and since population wise Texas is up there it is a major player.

  • jemand

    Kriss… wow that makes sense. I don’t remember the authors of my homeschool books but like I said, his suggestions are REALLY familiar.

    how the heck did these two get on the reviewing board?

  • Claire V

    … wouldn’t this be hugely illegal in public schools?

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