I’ve railed before against the misguided Texas State Board of Education and its agenda driven rewrite of the state’s science curricula. And my concern is not only with the students of Texas, but for us all. Because of the size of the Texas market for school books, publishers will produce and release books adhering to the Texas curricula for the nation as a whole. That’s why Texas matters.
Not content with just messing with science class, the Texas Board is now futzing with Social Studies. Students are required to learn about key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 90s. These include the Moral Majority and the NRA. However, requirements to cover Edward Kennedy, Sonya Sotomayor, Thurgood Marshall, and Hillary Clinton were voted down. Students will also learn there was a factual basis for Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s contention the U.S. government was infiltrated with Communists in the 1950s. On the plus side, efforts to remove Hip Hop music and the Scopes Monkey Trial failed. Still, the bottom line is, even if you’re not a science junkie you should be worried about what’s going on down there.
In a possibly related story, a recent poll of Texans showed that 41% of them believe that humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time. The remainder were apparently overly influenced by Alley Oop, The Flintstones, the Raquel Welch epic One Million Years BC, or other multimedia documentaries of their youth.
I suppose this means we shouldn’t really be expecting too much from Texas. Maybe it’s okay that they don’t know so much about science or history. After all, there’s a lot of brush down there to clear. And I’m sure Houston can import the necessary rocket scientists from other states. We just need to figure out how to make sure they don’t drag the rest of us down with them.