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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Historically Subjective

In my mind, one of the defining characteristics of the liberal movement versus the conservative is how the two groups view history.

Whereas conservatives are more than willing to gloss over or completely ignore any and all moments in history where America wasn't exactly the beacon of greatness they claim it always has been, liberals are open to the entire historical record - warts, scars, receeding hairline, poor posture, diarrhea and all. The who sha-bang-a-bang.

And I find it increasingly more and more bizarre that conservatives label accurately recounting this history of this country as "anti-American". Not only that, but conservative leaders, who have the ability to rearrange, muddle, and rewrite that same history in their own minds, are having a moderate amount of success in making others think as they do.

Recently, Fox"News" took up another torch for the wingnuts that they cater to on a daily basis by examining "bias" in school textbooks.

Now, a group of conservatives in Texas are attempting to reformat textbooks to not only remove people from the historical record, but to add in a religious component:

The Texas Board of Education, which recently approved new science standards that made room for creationist critiques of evolution, is revising the state's social studies curriculum. 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.

More @ The Wall Street Journal Online.

From removing black figures that have shaped American history, to deemphaziing the roles minorities have played in American history, to even removing the word "democratic" and replacing it with "republican", the conservatives appointed by the Texas State Board of Education seem to favor an indoctrinative process that is attempting to carve away whole sections of relevant American history.

One aspect of conservativism, aside from claiming that public schooling has suddenly become responsible for most of the ills in society, is the way in which those that subsribe to that ideological frame of reference advocate for the "voucher" program so that parents can put their children in otherwise unafforable ( and excoriatingly religious ) private institutes of learning.

What these people aren't telling you is that it isn't a "voucher" at all. By strict definition, a "voucher" is a document that allows you to have something for free - like a voucher for a free sandwich at Arby's. What these school "vouchers" actually are are coupons. With a coupon, you are given a certain percentage off the total price of something. No child gets a free ride from a private school on a voucher. And even with vouchers, these schools aren't suddenly affordable.

But back to conservatives and how they are maligning history.

Glenn Beck is a master of this particular trade.

While other bloggers have easily debunked Beck's migrane-inducing prattlings, it should be pointed out that he is - whether Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity are willing to admit it - THE star of Fox"News" at this point in their history. Resting nicely in that comfortable timeslot before primetime news hour begins, Beck has been given a platform to drastically re-write the history of this country is order to fit into his canted ideology and scare the dress-pants off of the demographic that watches Fox the most - older, white, limited college education, and religious.

But, all this isn't to say that texts in the classroom are perfect to start with. Certainly, the public school systems that most of American went through in their younger years has improved to a certain extent. Though there are some schools that still have outdated texts books in virtually every catagory, we are still a far cry from the goal that all teachers and parents want for their children - comprehensive and accurtate texts and an environment that allows students to flourish, not stagnate.

The religous-right in America has no place in government and certainly no place in schools.

1 comment:

Keila said...

Just one more reason to be thankful that I don't live in Texas. What a bunch of fuck-tards. I so bad hate Faux News.

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