The head of the class

Nick Anderson of the Houston Chronicle pretty effectively sums up the feeling a lot of us have about the politicization of education in Texas.

The dunce is sitting at the head of the class

This week Texas’ standard came under criticism from a conservative group who refused to endorse states imposing conservative views of history on student after spending years criticizing a liberal versions [The report on Texas in pdf format]:

While such social studies doctrine is usually associated with the relativist and diversity-obsessed educational left, the right-dominated Texas Board of Education made no effort to replace traditional social studies dogma with substantive historical content. Instead, it seems to have grafted on its own conservative talking points.

Texas is also faulted for providing no real structure.

The TEKS create no usable framework for teachers: How can such selective, fragmentary, and historically vapid checklists help instructors to design a course? A popular Lone Star State slogan proclaims “Texas: It’s like a whole other country”—but Texas’s standards are a disservice both to its own teachers and students and to the larger national history of which it remains a part.

Using the power of government to impose a view of history that supports the current regime should not be the norm in American politics. It is time to give history back to historians and educators and let the politicians focus on other things. In their rush to serve political goals the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has forgotten the need to provide a coherent structure. The Board had made a habit of embarrassing education in the state and the value of Texas diplomas goes down every time they get caught politicizing our curriculum.


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