AUSTIN, Tex. — Even as a panel of educators laid out a vision Wednesday for national standards for public schools, the Texas school board was going in a different direction, holding hearings on changes to its social studies curriculum that would portray conservatives in a more positive light, emphasize the role of Christianity in American history and include Republican political philosophies in textbooks.
As the article points out, it’s a huge deal b/c Texas buys so many textbooks. If publishers are legally bound to make these changes here, chances are they’ll spread well beyond Texas. Of course, California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, etc won’t want the conservative textbooks, so get ready for dueling sets of “liberal” and “conservative” curriculum. Which seems appropriate; after all, all this standardized education stuff is way too hard and who wants a population who agrees on ANYTHING, really? Let’s just all teach whatever we want. I propose California start teaching their kids about the almighty Xenu and Alaska should teach their kids about an alternate reality where Sarah Palin became President. What’s the worst that could happen?
Let me be clear – I’m all for making sure that textbooks are free of partisan bias. From both sides. But teaching alternate histories on a state-by-state basis just sets kids up for a trainwreck if/when they assimilate into a world that may or may not have learned the same history that they did. I’m especially wary of changes in curricula that become more permanent when million-dollar textbook investments are made. Of course, all of this could become moot if/when textbooks are replaced by digital versions; but judging by the litany of budget shortfall stories in education today, we might be flying around with jetpacks by the time public schools can afford to go digital.