Monday, May 24, 2010

Texas Textbooks and American Exceptionalism Part I

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The Texas State Board of Education adopted a new social studies and history curriculum this past Friday.

About 4.8 million Texas students will be taught from the new material over the next 10 years. In addition, because of the size of the Texas textbook order, the same curriculum will be used in many states across the country.

The process has been contentious and the Associated Press story reflects that. In fact, it is clear that AP is not happy with the final product. They are reporting that the adopted curriculum, "amends or waters down the teaching of the civil rights movement, religious freedoms, America's relationship with the UN and hundred's of other items."

Actually, the new narrative moves toward the truth and away from the political leftward drift of the past 20 years.

Here are several of the important items that will be changed in the new textbooks:

1. Considered by opponents to be one of the most significant changes, students will now be given the opportunity to study the separation of church and state issue more honestly. They will learn those words are not in the Constitution and will be required to compare and contrast the judicial language with the wording in the First Amendment.

The secularists are angry---including AP. In fact AP says, "The board attempted to water down the rationale for separation of church and state."

Sometimes facts are very troublesome.

2. The board rejected language that would "modernize" the classification of historic periods to the politically correct B.C.E. and C.E.. The intent, I believe, was not so much about "modernizing" as it was about eliminating the references to the birth of Christ.

The kids will be taught B.C. and A.D. for the next 10 years.

3. The new textbooks will require students to evaluate efforts by global organizations such as the United Nations to undermine US sovereignty.

4. Thomas Jefferson will not be presented as an example of an influential political philosopher in a world history class.

5. The new textbooks strengthen requirements on teaching Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers.

6. The new curriculum requires that the US Government be correctly referred to as a "constitutional republic" rather than democratic.

7. Students will be required to study the decline in value of the US dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

These are but a few of the changes. Liberals, or "secular socialists" are raging.

President Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, has weighed in saying that school officials "should keep politics out" of curriculum debates.

"Politics," of course refers, in this case, to any view that does not support a far left revision of history which has been in progress for sometime.

Duncan says, "We do a disservice to children when we shield them from the truth, just because some people think it is painful or doesn't fit with their particular views. Parents should be very wary of politicians designing curriculum."


Over the past generation or so a coalition of activist educators, politicians, the ACLU, homosexual advocates and the abortion industry has hijacked public education, misleading an entire generation and in doing so awakened another generation to what they are actually doing to children who have been entrusted to them five days a week.

Public education has all too often become a social experimentation, using our kids to further a radical secular socialist worldview. And public education student scores reflect that in many cities.

In the case of social studies and the study of history, these new textbooks will be most helpful in telling our kids the truth. However, there is a much broader dynamic in play in all this.

It has to do with what you believe about America. Is it an "exceptional nation" with a unique destiny or is it, as our President has said while in Europe, exceptional only to us just like Britain is exceptional to Brits and Greece is exceptional to Greeks. In other words, in his mind, America is not necessarily set aside for noble purposes as our Founders believed---it's just another country---no big deal.

What one believes about this country, under God, is close to the heart of most discussions about our culture.

In tomorrow's Blog, I am going to continue this by specifically addressing American "exceptionalism" and how what one believes is at the heart of our national debate of what we should tell our kids and how we, as a nation, ought to view our culture.

Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.

Gary Randall
Faith and Freedom

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