Opinion Brief

Texas textbook decision: Warping U.S. history?

Texas' education board is demanding history texts present a more conservative perspective. Is this a right-wing takeover of education, or a needed reform?  

Texas' Republican-dominated board of education moved the state's U.S. history and social studies curricula broadly to the right on Friday, approving a slate of controversial changes along party lines. The changes, including downplaying church-state separation, and offering more attention to the conservative movements of the 1980s and '90s, could affect other states, too, since Texas is the No. 2 buyer of textbooks (California, the No. 1 buyer, is considering a ban on the Texas curricula). Are the board's conservatives putting politics before education? (Watch a Fox report about Texas' textbook changes)

Texas is dooming its kids: Congratulations, "far-right creationist historical revisionists," says Phil Plait in Discover. In ignoring "all the people — including teachers and educational experts — who showed them clearly why they were wrong," the Texas board's "anti-reality majority" did what they wanted, not what was right for Texas children. "Texas: doomed"

These are needed corrections: Our "blind deference to academic experts" is part of the problem, says Robert Koons in the Austin American-Statesman. Luckily, the board decided that "history education is too important to be left to the historians." Besides, liberals and the "irresponsible media" are over-reacting to a "few, small steps" taken to correct a liberal "political slant" in the old K-12 curricula."Liberal bias evident in simplistic narrative..."

Education continues past high school: These "juvenile" revisions just show that the board is "Texas' best argument against the theory of intelligent design," says Rick Casey in the Houston Chronicle. "Still, I'm not all that riled about their impact on our textbooks." One of the great joys of growing up is learning "how much richer, more layered, and more interesting history is than what we learned in elementary school." This will only "enhance that pleasure.""Don't sweat curriculum (un)civil war"

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