Opinion Brief

Texas: Teaching 'conservative' history?

In a controversial bid to "rewrite" textbooks, a self-proclaimed "religious fanatic" wants Texas schools to teach a Christian Right version of American history

Should Christians and conservatives be allowed to impose what some consider their own version of "American history" on school students? That's the question facing Texas' Board of Education, as seven conservative members push an initiative to correct a perceived liberal bias in the state's proposed curriculum — emphasizing, for example, the rise of the Moral Majority and the NRA. Liberal activists say the conservative bloc is trying to "whitewash the country's past" by literally rewriting history textbooks. Who's right? (Watch a Fox report about Texas' effort to rewrite history books)   

The Texas conservatives care about politics, not education: These fundamentalist Christians are turning our children into political pawns, says Ruth Calvo in Firedoglake, by jamming their religion and extreme conservatism into classrooms. And since Texas' influential decisions influence how other states' textbooks are written, they're "passing along their stupidity" to the rest of the nation's kids, too."Born again history; Texas hoe down"

Liberals started this fight: If anyone is trying to brainwash our children, it's the left, says Kelly Shackelford in Fox News. Liberals on a curriculum review panel triggered this battle by recommending the textbooks omit all mention of Christmas and overplay the role of relatively peripheral minorities, such as Wallace Amos (of Famous Amos cookies). The Texas conservatives are defending America's true history."Why the Texas textbook wars matter to every American"

The fight's spectacular, but the textbooks aren't changing much: It's hardly surprising this has become a war, reports Brian Thevenot and Niran Babalola in The Texas Tribune. The Board's (outgoing) conservative leader, Don McLeroy, a self-proclaimed "religious fanatic," has said education is "too important not to politicize." He's getting into skirmishes over religion, the inclusion of minorities, even the relative importance of country music vs. hip hop. But for all the fireworks, the Christian bloc doesn't appear poised to win any major victories."The revision thing"

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