Tag Archives: Republican Tomfoolery

Massaging the Curriculum: A Texas Guide to Rewriting History

I haven’t much to say about this besides that you should read the article.  Part of me thinks it’s scary, another part of me thinks that it’s always scary when you see sausage being made.

I mean… I remember that in school we colored in pictures of happy “Pilgrims” and “Indians. “  Sometimes feeling like you were lied to can be more dramatic than not.

McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands.

Finally, the board considered an amendment to require students to evaluate the contributions of significant Americans. The names proposed included Thurgood Marshall, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy. All passed muster except Kennedy, who was voted down.

This is how history is made — or rather, how the hue and cry of the present and near past gets lodged into the long-term cultural memory or else is allowed to quietly fade into an inaudible whisper. Public education has always been a battleground between cultural forces; one reason that Texas’ school-board members find themselves at the very center of the battlefield is, not surprisingly, money. The state’s $22 billion education fund is among the largest educational endowments in the country. LINK

They say history is written by the victors.  Given how frequently we accuse our politicians of attempting to rewrite history, nay, how frequently they do, maybe we should begin to say that the victors are also written by history.