Textbooks are the new Fox News. At least, the Texas Board of Education seems to think so. The new revamp of our books takes Thomas Jefferson out of the curriculum, adds country and western music as an important cultural movement students should be required to study (hip-hop, though, was unworthy), and refuses to acknowledge separation of church and state. Furthermore, while the new textbook standards will place a strong emphasis on conservative groups in the 80’s and 90’s it ignores left-wing and minority rights groups active at the same time. Oh yeah, and America isn’t a democracy anymore, we’re a “constitutional republic.”
The political motivations behind the rewriting are disgustingly obvious. Board member Don McLeroy wants you to know “academia is skewed too far to the left”, and dang it, we have to put crazy liberals like Thomas Jefferson in their place.
See, it’s interesting, because we thought that the only people qualified to correct historical bias were people who studied history. And we also thought that our history textbooks should be written by people like, historians, maybe? And sociologists? And economists? Well, we guess we were wrong, because the Board of Education didn’t need to consult any of these kinds of people. Not when it had members like dentist Don McLeroy. He’s “read a lot”.
But don’t worry, the Board has a very complicated system for deciding if something should go in the book. It’s called “majority vote”. Doubts concerning historical accuracy can be put to rest, because everyone knows the majority is always right. Just refer back to some of the fabulous decisions the majority has made so far. Also, the sun goes around the earth and marijuana is what all the cool kids are doing.
In the end though, historical details are less tragic than the overall stance the Board of Education has taken on our textbooks. As young Americans, we are proud of our country and its heritage, and we want it to be treated with respect, dignity, and care, not tossed around like a football in a game of petty political squabbles. The real tragedy here goes beyond omission. The real tragedy here is the unwillingness of elected officials to put personal differences aside to work together for our common good: the establishment of an accurate, comprehensive history that will set the base for our understanding about our country. The glaring lack of political bipartisanship has been all too obvious lately, but when the left/right war starts to affect our schools, the only way we’re headed is down.