As Texas goes, so goes public school textbooks in the USA. The debate is about “balance” and about “fair description” of history and about conservatives wanting their point of view in the textbooks, and a Dr. Don McLeroy is a leader in the conservative faction. The issue gets down to specifics. Here’s a clip from the NY Times:
Dr. McLeroy still has 10 months to serve and he, along with rest of the religious conservatives on the board, have vowed to put their mark on the guidelines for social studies texts.
For instance, one guideline requires publishers to include a section on “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.”
There have also been efforts among conservatives on the board to tweak the history of the civil rights movement. One amendment states that the movement created “unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes” among minorities. Another proposed change removes any reference to race, sex or religion in talking about how different groups have contributed to the national identity.
The amendments are also intended to emphasize the unalloyed superiority of the “free-enterprise system” over others and the desirability of limited government.
One says publishers should “describe the effects of increasing government regulation and taxation on economic development and business planning.”
Throughout the standards, the conservatives have pushed to drop references to American “imperialism,” preferring to call it expansionism. “Country and western music” has been added to the list of cultural movements to be studied.
References to Ralph Nader and Ross Perot are proposed to be removed, while Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate general, is to be listed as a role model for effective leadership, and the ideas in Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address are to be laid side by side with Abraham Lincoln‘s speeches.