Right-wing fanatics are turning “Texas education” into an oxymoron.
* By Jim Hightower AlterNet *
In the good-and-good-for-you department, food scientists are now touting the health benefits of enjoying a handful of nuts every day.
I, for one, am glad, because I love nuts — pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, you-name-’em. But my favorite nuts, by far, are the homegrown natives that have taken root in one particularly fertile area of my state: the Texas Board of Education. You just can’t get any nuttier than this bunch!
This board, little-known even to us Texans, has lately risen to national notoriety, making our state’s educational system a punch line for comedians everywhere. That’s because a handful of ultra-right-wing nutcases have taken over this elected overseer of Texas educational policy, and they’re hell-bent to supplant classroom education with their own brand of ideological indoctrination.
Their way of achieving this political goal is to rewrite the state standards that textbook publishers must follow to get the lucrative contracts for providing teaching materials for every student in the state, from first grade through high school.
Their latest exercise in ideological correctness comes at the expense of the social studies curriculum. They spent last week going through guidelines for history, government, economics and sociology textbooks, purging references that offend their doctrinaire sensibilities and substituting their own nutty biases and ignorance.
How nutty? Take Thomas Jefferson. They did! They literally did take Jefferson off a list of revolutionary political thinkers from the Enlightenment period, replacing him with a favorite of Christian fundamentalists, John Calvin. Thus, the prime author of our Declaration of Independence — poof — disappeared! Jefferson’s unpardonable transgression? He coined the term “separation between church and state.”
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