Friday, September 25, 2009

Dinosaurs at it again in Texas

Dumbosity.

The word popped up in Guambat's googlenews aggregator, begging to be looked at. Unfortunately the link to the article with dumbosity in it wouldn't open, but the google cache had it:
"I keep wondering what kind of dumbosity people associated with the Texas Board of Education can come up with next."
It seems the Texas Bored of Education is again trying to rewrite history, and relegate the likes of Thurgood Marshall and Neil Armstrong to the dustbins. No, actually, its even more crazy than that.

Rosa Parks, Ben Franklin, Rush Limbaugh? Texas may change must-know figures for students
Some of the proposed changes in the social studies standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, include referring to the United States as a republic instead of a democracy and requiring students to be able to identify prominent conservatives such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Eagle Forum president Phyllis Schlafly. Some of those behind the proposed changes cast the debate as a way to nudge conservative figures into what they say are liberal-dominated lessons.

“Liberals overwhelmingly outnumber those who are publicly known as conservatives,” wrote David Barton, a Republican activist on the board-appointed advisory panel, in board documents about the proposals. He counted 16 liberals in classroom lessons, including former President Bill Clinton, farmworkers’ advocate Dolores Huerta and feminist Betty Friedan, to seven conservatives, such as former presidents Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

The changes to Chavez and Marshall’s role in class have generated some of the loudest debate. Chavez, a leader of the United Farm Workers whose advocacy led to gains for union laborers, is a popular figure in Texas, where dozens of streets, schools and buildings are named in his honor. A statue of him even stands a few blocks away from the board’s headquarters.

Marshall isn’t without his own honors: Texas Southern University put the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in his name.

Still, members of an expert panel convened by the board suggested earlier this year that class time spent on Chavez and Marshall should be minimized. After teachers and other organizations complained, a committee suggested moving Chavez from a list of model citizens — which includes Benjamin Franklin — to a list of those who have contributed to society, including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Advocates: Don't remove Cesar Chavez, Thurgood Marshall from Texas social studies classes
Among proposed changes are to require students to identify "significant" conservatives of the 21st century, such as Newt Gingrich, and deleting references to Christmas and Rosh Hashanah. Lowe said Thursday the holidays would likely remain in the final plan.
Board decides to keep Christmas in textbooks
"No one on this board intends to take out Christmas,” said Gail Lowe, of Lampasas, chair of the 15-member board.

More than 50 people mentioned in current textbooks are not included in the proposed standards, including Carl Sagan, Colin Powell, Nathan Hale, Neil Armstrong, Eugene Debs, John Steinbeck and Mother Teresa.

Recall that Don McLeroy, the Bored Chairperson, has criticized teaching students how to learn, preferring that they stick to memorizing specified facts:
Our educator preparation programs and influential high school "redesigners" ... recommend that instead of memorizing facts, students should be taught how to find, use, and apply knowledge.
The mere task of preparing and requiring instruction about such arbitrary lists of "model" vs. "contributing" citizens smacks of thought control rather than the learning process.

Dumb bosses hard at work.

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