Cary Clack: Curriculum Decision Shortchanges our Children





[Cary Clack is a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.]

And so it is done. On Friday, the State Board of Education adopted, along party lines, a curriculum for Texas school children motivated as much by ideology as by education. In a Majority-Decides-What's-History-Vote, the ultra-conservative members on the board pushed through amendments that reflected their particular view of history.

“Ultra” is used as a qualifier because some of the most eloquent critics of the majority's decisions have been conservatives.

Last week, one of the majority board members, Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, was quoted in these pages as saying that the Texans he represents “want a true and accurate history. They want to honor our veterans, honor our Founding Fathers.”

Let's have a quick show of hands of Texans not represented by Mercer who don't want to honor our veterans and our Founding Fathers. Not many out there....

Then there's Don McLeroy of Bryan, the board's wizard who — among many dubious proposals — wanted to evaluate the impact of reform leaders such as Upton Sinclair, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. DuBois. Instead of citing these men and women as people who loved their country so much they devoted their lives to changing it for the better, McLeroy was concerned that their tone wasn't as optimistic as the Belgian immigrant Jean Pierre Godet who said, “I love America for giving so many of us the right to dream a new dream.”...

McLeroy is so afraid of the nation's past he'd prefer to elevate a fictional character at the expense of genuine American reformers. Maybe he's right and we can eliminate from our textbooks more of those insufficiently patriotic do-gooders and replace them with true American heroes like the Legion of Superheroes, led by Superman, who made no mistakes and made everyone happy except for the bad guys....

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