May 23, 2010

Don't know much 'bout history

Numbskull, over at the LGOMB, predictably knows little about what's actually IN the Texas history standards or how they're written. Pandora, also predictably, calls for her acolytes to e-mail Delaware districts to lobby against adopting any of Texas' textbooks. (But, of course, if a teacher doesn't parrot the standard "progressive" line on certain topics, though, pandora has a different attitude!)

Maybe these dolts ought to pick out the standards that are so "offensive" and let us know why they are so ... just so we don't have to take their word for it (because their word, frankly, is rarely, if ever, good). Like sort of what the Washington Post did. Thankfully, Ann Althouse injects some common sense into the WaPo. Here's an example:

The Washington Post writes:
The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards....

The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated -- something most historians deny --...

The students are required to "describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government..." The word "vindicated" is inflammatory and unfair. What is the Washington Post saying historians deny? One can be informed of the reality of what the Venona Papers revealed about communist infiltration into the U.S. government and still understand and deplore the excesses of "McCarthyism."

Ah, but you see, by including anything about communist infiltration into the US, you are insulting true-blue leftists! McCarthy was an evil, evil man and must remain such without any caveats, get it?

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term "free-enterprise system."

The document on economics does use the term "free enterprise system" throughout, but students are required to "understand that the terms free enterprise, free market, and capitalism are synonymous terms to describe the U.S. economic system," so what is the problem?

This must be some sinister attempt to "absolve" capitalism -- or at least lessen its culpability -- regarding the current economic crisis, eh? Since so many "progressives" are busy pointing out how capitalism "caused" the contemporary downturn in the economy, let's just "change the wording," right? LOL!!

Personally, though I don't concur with all of the changes that I've seen in the Texas standards, I think it is a push-back from decades of leftist politicization of school texts. I once was a member of a committee that analyzed various secondary level history texts, and probably the biggest example of such politicization was the overriding effort of "inclusion" -- that of various ethnic, racial, religious, gender, sexual orientation groups -- at the expense of actual historically relevant knowledge. Here's but one example from California. Certainly, inclusion of previously neglected peoples (and events) is a good thing -- provided, of course, such inclusion has some historical merit. Inclusion for inclusion's sake is just politically correct silliness. As our textbook review committee wrote about one American history text, The American Journey by Glencoe McGraw-Hill (1996 edition), it

attempts to make all groups equally important to development of American history ... Inclusion of the contributions of women and minorities is beneficial when it relates to the main themes of historical development, but forcing trivial information into the text to ... increase the number of politically correct paragraphs creates a disjointed and unsatisfactory narrative.

A lot of the leftward PC tilt in history standards can be traced to UCLA's Gary Nash. He was the principal author of the 1992 National Standards for History. He stated that American history is the story of outcast groups "struggling under difficult conditions and ... in large and small ways, refusing to submit to abuse, discrimination and exploitation." In Nash's standards, for example, "the 1848 declaration at Seneca Falls by a conference of feminists gets more coverage than either the Declaration of Independence of the Gettysburg Address."

That's American history? Thankfully, Nash's standards were shot down by the US Senate by a vote of 99-1.

By the way, California's "great" for PC textbook matters. Bet you didn't hear a peep from lefties about the state's law that prohibits "... the adoption of official teaching materials or the conducting of school activities that reflect adversely on people on the basis of race, religion, gender and so on." Or of Muslim efforts to "tone down" textbook lessons on terrorism carried out with religious motivation. Hey -- maybe Cali can take a page from the UN and ask whether the Holocaust should be taught in schools, eh?

Lastly, the big difference in the Texas controversy and those noted above should by now be obvious: The former, because it involves conservatives dominating the standards, gets a large amount of negative MSM coverage. The latter was only covered at all by conservative-oriented media which, back in the early 90s, really only included talk radio. Thankfully, that situation has changed.

Posted by Hube at May 23, 2010 12:37 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

What they have done is nothing more than rewrite the press releases from the liberal "Texas Freedom Network" and a couple of other liberal groups and not bothered looking at the actual standards. After all, would liberal groups lie to you?

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at May 23, 2010 05:50 PM

My principle gripe would be that calling our system "free market" understates the level of regulation and control the state exhibits over said markets. Call me a purist.

Posted by: Duffy at May 24, 2010 09:02 AM

And I'll agree with you there.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at May 26, 2010 07:09 AM