Texas represents two major themes in this controversy. First, being the second most populist state in the union, Texas commands a major role in the content and publication of learning materials, not just in Texas, but throughout the country: after all, publishers don’t want to lose profits by printing one textbook for Texas and another for the rest of the United States.
I didn't read in my history textbook about the Japanese internment until I was about to graduate from college (and even then the book we used was banned from the public High Schools). The irony here is that my father enjoyed dividing his time between his lounge chair and taking long drives all over the southwest. I had seen the remains of the internment camps and was aware of the fact that my country wasn't always exceptional .. or even admirable.
The second fact about Texas is that its history in awash in blood and conquest. Furthermore, the Texas exceptionalism that wiped out the indigenous people, went to war and defeated the then rightful government of the territory, and has systematically oppressed and exploited the brown and black population of the state, to this day steeped in a culture of selfishness, bigotry, and ignorance of the facts.
The tendencies of the State Board of Education will only exaggerate and extend this situation. If Texas is the face of America, we are in deep trouble.
By Patrick O. Strickland, Truthout | Op-Ed – Saturday, 14 March 2015
Since the 1990s, the conservative establishment, which exerts significant control in the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), has labored to instill a markedly jingoistic understanding of history in state curriculum.
Because Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks in the country, the effects ripple throughout the US: Publishers are obliged to produce textbooks that meet the SBOE’s standards because of the state’s sheer size and purchasing power.
The latest development in this decades-long struggle is the state’s move to veto the national advanced placement (AP) history curriculum. Deeming the course material “anti-American,” the SBOE recently decided that Texan students are only required to learn state-mandated curriculum.
Responding to the controversy, right-wing commentator and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center Stanley Kurtz decried the College Board’s new AP guidelines as “an attempt to hijack the teaching of US history on behalf of a leftist political and ideological perspective.”
Kurtz is outraged by the guidelines’ alleged origins in a movement of liberal historians, whom he accuses of “an abiding hostility to American exceptionalism.” …
Uncomfortable with the colonial history of Texas and the United States at large, Texas conservatives are in effect attempting to whitewash oppression and racism in its historical and present contexts. …
Combating these racist tendencies, in part, starts in the classroom. Already an uphill battle, the struggle against xenophobia and discrimination is rendered impossible without a progressive curriculum and historically accurate textbooks.
Without these basic tools at our disposal, Texas will raise another generation incapable of righting an array of historical wrongs. And because of Texas’s far-reaching influence on education, the damage will be felt across an already-polarized country.
Remember, Texas has sent many learned men to bring prosperity and advancement to this great country, recently I might point out Louie Gohmert and who could forget George W. Bush. I would mention the impressive Cuban-Canadian, Ted Cruz, but I’m still not sure he’s not a dangerous foreign agent sent to destroy America from within.
Wait: I almost forgot that great Texas leader, Rick Perry and his new Superman glasses.