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California Declares War On Texas Textbooks

California Declares War On Texas Textbooks

OK, so I am English by birth, but have lived in California for many years, and today I am proud of my adopted state. Reacting against the right-wing bias of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), CA State Senator Leland Yee ( D – San Francisco) has introduced a bill that seeks to protect the nation’s largest public school population from the revised social studies curriculum approved in March by the Texas SBOE. (Texas being the nation’s second biggest public school population.)

As I wrote here a few weeks ago, the Texas recommendations, which face a final vote by the Republican-dominated board on May 21, include adding language saying the country’s Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles; students would learn nothing about Thomas Jefferson’s political philosophy or his thoughts about the separation of church and state, but instead would read about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s.” This would include references to the Moral Majority, the National RIfle Association and the Contract with America, the congressional GOP manifesto from the 1990s. You can still take action against this egregious move to ignore and distort history by signing the petition

What is Yee aiming to do? Under his bill, SB1451, the California Board of Education would be required to look out for any of the Texas content as part of its standard practice of reviewing public school governance and academic content standards in California. Yee’s bill describes the proposed Texas curriculum changes as “a sharp departure from widely accepted historical teachings” and “a threat to the apolitical nature of public school governance and academic content standards in California.”

“While some Texas politicians may want to set their educational standards back 50 years, California should not be subject to their backward curriculum changes,” Yee explained. “The alterations and fallacies made by these extremist conservatives are offensive to our communities and inaccurate of our nation’s diverse history.” Yee was referring to the fact that the proposed Texas changes are dismissive of the contributions of minorities, and in fact mean that non-whites rarely rate a mention.

The California Senate Committee on Education has already approved passage of this bill, and it now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Critics point out that California’s curriculum isn’t about to undergo any kind of change, Texas-influenced or otherwise, for now, since the statewide adoption of any new materials has been suspended until July 2013, to give cash-strapped districts a break from buying new books.

But at least Yee is challenging the frightening bid by religious conservatives to take over the minds of our young people.

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135 comments

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7:29AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Noted!

1:30AM PDT on Jun 10, 2010

Thanks

8:09PM PDT on Jun 2, 2010

I feel it is about time that the books are re-organized all they stress is propaganda praising war

1:26PM PDT on May 25, 2010

Bias is not education

11:06AM PDT on May 25, 2010

These children need to know the facts, but more importantly they should understand the opinions of everybody in the situation. They are then more able to comprehend the idea and all the different solutions. We learn in a different way these days, and although it may be the hard way, we actually learn for ourselves, which works. Hopefully without getting too discouraged. Its been proven, and you cant deny that.

9:49AM PDT on May 25, 2010

learning should be based solely on history, not opinion

8:48AM PDT on May 25, 2010

Dave, To answer your question to Kathy R: Jefferson was a Unitarian; but he was not Atheist.
However, we do have Atheists who are Unitarian Universalists - just as we have Pagans, Buddhists, and any number of X-religions (Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans..). At my particular Church, we have several different religions who use our rooms for service (although not at the same times we do - although we have held any number of joint services with one of the groups & some of the others have done sermons for us). We have a Buddhist group that meets once a month; a Reform Catholic group that meets every Sat evening & a Sai Baba Hindu Group that meets ever Sunday afternoon. The other UU Church has a Jewish congregation and has been home to others before the Jewish congregation.
UUs have 7 guiding Principles to guide us and we don't have much holding with dogma. We have 6 sources one of which is "Wisdom from the world's religion..." When we teach World Religions (which we do because we believe that if YOU understand a culture/religion - one can root out fear by looking at where we are similar) one of the spiritual beliefs that the children LOVE is Native American. As a matter of fact, our 7th Principle is "respect for the interdependent web of life - of which we are all a part."
One of the things all of us need to do is to stop thinking of the earth as belonging to US - we are supposed to be stewards - we belong to the earth.
Have a great week!

8:29AM PDT on May 25, 2010

parenthetically, to all those who have read my previous comments about Jefferson: please don't mistake my dismay with this aspect of the man to be "tarring him with a broad brush" as there are many of his accomplishments and ideas which I respect. He was a victim, to a great degree, of the limited anthropological and medical knowledge of the time in his concepts about "race", but he was a visionary regarding the future of the country. Without the Louisiana Purchase, this country would never have had the impact on the world that it has (for better or worse)...

8:25AM PDT on May 25, 2010

To Glenna Jones-kachtik,
I'm appreciative of your comments regarding the contribution of First Nations' governance to the foundations and principles of the US governmental formulation.
Many people regard Jefferson as some sort of god in his contributions to the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence, but if you read much historical information, one finds that he favored slavery and considered blacks to be inferior, he proposed (in 1776) forcible removal of native peoples in the eastern US to places west of the Mississippi (finally acted upon by Andrew Jackson in 1830), and many other racially-inequitable actions. Native Americans were betrayed by Jefferson in his promises to them in the form of treaties with the US government, causing great distrust by the native peoples of Presidents to follow. Honesty and trust are concepts greatly prided in Native American cultures.

8:15AM PDT on May 25, 2010

To kathy R:
As a proud Native American, I am sorry to inform you that, unfortunately, your facts here about the foundation of the US Constitution are wrong: the reality is that the Cherokee Constitution (not drafted until 1827, nearly 50 years AFTER the US Constitution) was based upon the US Constitution. The US Constitution was based on a number of concepts drawn from, among others, the British governmental experiences and the Magna Carta, and several philosophers including the pre-Christian era Polybius and Montesquieu from France and John Locke of England.

Obviously, the education you received was not adequate to keep you from "owning" some seriously flawed concepts. Where did you learn this???

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