Sep. 12th, 2014

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The Texas Freedom Network started back in the mid-1990s with two top issues: keeping Texas schools in line with Supreme Court rulings on school prayer, doing the same for Creationism Intelligent Design Emphasizing Alternative Theories to Evolution. Once they got involved in raising awareness of truly embarrassing textbooks mandated and approved by the Texas State Board of Education (TXSBOE) in biology, their expansion into the health "abstinence only" curriculum was pretty organic. And their efforts are not just for Texas students: because Texas is one of the largest states to have a state mandated list of approved texts (New York, while populous, lets school districts select their text books independently), about half the textbooks sold in this country are written to conform with Texas State Guidelines (the other half are written to conform with the California State Guidelines). I've been supporting them pretty much since I moved down here to study history. because historians have a strong interest in science (it's hard to talk about the Ice Age one period when your biology teacher tells you the world isn't old enough to have had an ice age the next one).

This year, however, it's texts for the History/Social Studies curriculum that are up for approval. TFN having been largely science-oriented before, realized that the social sciences were just as vulnerable as the hard ones. So they rounded up a group of volunteer professors, teachers, and doctoral candidates to independently review all 43 proposed texts, covering Texas, US, and World History, as well as US Civics. Some of those reviewers are friends of mine. "[TFN was] a little shocked at how detailed our submitted reviews were," one told me. He's going to have 120 seconds to explain to the Board why the text he reviewed is inaccurate, glaringly biased, and downright unprofessional in its presentation. If you've been following this through the abbreviated articles touching on the worst inaccuracies, my friend is the one who (though he didn't read the overall worst rated text) had the pleasure of reading about how all problems in the Middle East result from Jihad, and that sub-Saharan Africa is populated by "the Negro race."

Now, conserve your energy, because I have his first draft, no snark spared, and it got worse. And this is reason number one why Scientists should be equally appalled as historians about Chapter 13, the home of that delightful phrase. )

 

 

 


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