By now, you most likely know that Texas has become ground zero for the latest battles in the textbook wars. While conservatives and progressives take their stands on the issue, I wonder: What would America's Founders think about this feud?
For those who somehow have dodged the news, the 15-member Texas State Board of Education, which is composed of 10 Republicans and five Democrats, has been hearing and debating variances of opinion regarding what to include and exclude in its social studies curriculum and subsequent textbooks.
Last Friday, the SBOE members began to wrap up the process by endorsing a draft proposal of the state's social studies curriculum, with an 11-4 vote.
Not surprising is the full range of progressive issues that liberals want the SBOE to include, from emphasizing equity and tolerance for all minorities to erasing key conservative figures and events from history and whitewashing the Judeo-Christian convictions of our Founders.
Liberals and progressives complain that conservatives are hijacking the curriculum process and modifying textbooks to fit their ideological whims. But the history of textbook alterations clearly has proved it is the liberals who have changed the course and content of curricula and textbook production. Conservatives have been largely the guardians or preservationists of tradition. Progressives have changed curricula content to pacify the politically correct and adopt what they value today and want others to value tomorrow.
Interestingly, in 2009, authors Gary Tobin and Dennis Ybarra of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research found some 500 imperfections and distortions concerning religion in 28 of the most widely used social studies and history textbooks in the United States.
The fact is that the majority of the SBOE's members find themselves in good company, in line and legacy with America's Founders. Their educational philosophy even included teaching on the Bible. As Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote: "Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read and write and above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education."
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