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March 16, 2010


AOL NEWS - Thomas Jefferson received a demotion of sorts Friday thanks to the Texas Board of Education.

The board voted to enact new teaching standards for history and social studies that will alter which material gets included in school textbooks. It decided to drop Jefferson from a world history section devoted to great political thinkers.

According to Texas Freedom Network, a group that opposes many of the changes put in place by the Board of Education, the original curriculum asked students to "explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present."

The Texas Board of Education is dropping President Thomas Jefferson from a world history section devoted to great political thinkers.

The new standard, passed at the meeting in a 10-5 vote, now reads, "Explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone."

By dropping mention of revolution, and substituting figures such as Aquinas and Calvin for Jefferson, Texas Freedom Network argues, the board had chosen to embrace religious teachings over those of Jefferson, the man who coined the phrase "separation between church and state."


Blogger Lars said...

While this is somewhat interesting, I find that it is an unimportant battle. As Walter Karp has eloquently written before, the decision to largely remove the political aspects of events from our history books and really to replace history with social studies has watered down what students learn in school anyway. I highly recommend Karp's writing either in book form or on the archives of sites such as Harper's.

March 16, 2010 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just one more reason to extirpate Texas from the Union.

It is not good when politics is lead by the nose by emotional religious zealots.

March 16, 2010 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Arkie said...

I know the Texas Board of Education straightened me out on one thing; I used to think that all bullshit came out of a steer's ass.

March 16, 2010 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

A nation that allows a handful of right-wing religious zelots in Texas to determine the content of its textbooks is destined to continue to fall behind the rest of the world and to have a credulous populace unable to tell good leadership from bad. Garbage in, garbage out.

March 16, 2010 5:40 PM  
Blogger k.h.brown said...

Sometime ago we fought the publishers to get inclusion and compliance with California Education Codes which required the inclusion of the role and contributions of ALL ethnic groups, labor and women. By going through the courts we achieved a temporary restraining order (lasted for 8 years)against the publishers.

These publishers target only five states for state adoptions and as I recall, California and Texas were two of them who set the criteria for "adoption standards" for the rest of the 50 states on social studies, math and language arts. The profiteering publishers are dangerous because they publish a "truth for the North" and a "truth for the South" and mostly get away with it.

Maybe Jefferson offended the looney tunes folks. We cannot allow these nut cases to edit history in such a cavalier way - where's the debate? Next they will be in the library shelves and remove "Catcher in the Rye" once again.

We objected to the so-called open questions like "What was good about slavery?" Aghhhhhhhhhh!!

March 17, 2010 3:10 AM  

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