Historians blast proposed Texas social studies curriculum

Historians in the News

Historians criticized proposed revisions to the Texas social studies curriculum Tuesday, saying that many of the changes are historically inaccurate and that they would affect textbooks and classrooms far beyond the state's borders....

"The books that are altered to fit the standards become the best-selling books, and therefore within the next two years they'll end up in other classrooms," said Fritz Fischer, chairman of the National Council for History Education, a group devoted to history teaching at the pre-college level. "It's not a partisan issue, it's a good history issue."...

"I'm made uncomfortable by mandates of this kind for sure," said Paul S. Boyer, emeritus professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of several of the most popular U.S. history textbooks, including some that are on the approved list in Texas.

Boyer said he had not fully reviewed the Texas curriculum and did not know how he would respond to it. But he added that in theory, changes in his text could be required that would make him uncomfortable endorsing his own book....

"We now have the ability to deliver completely customized content" to different states, said Josef Blumenfeld, spokesman for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of three major publishers that supply Texas with most of its social studies textbooks.

But some historians weren't so certain. Fischer, who is a historian at the University of Northern Colorado, noted that first-year teachers fall back on what's most readily available to them -- their textbooks.

"Teachers have a lot to do and a lot on their plate, and if there's a nice big textbook that the kids have been taking home, they'll use it," he said.
Read entire article at WaPo

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Dale Warren - 3/29/2010

I remember the world outcry when the Taliban blasted the image of Buddha carved in a rock face. It was revisionist history in its most ignorant and violent form. They feared any religion but their own, even if it was integral to their history.

Conservative members of the Texas Board of Education have dynamited our history in an effort to create a theocracy out of what was a triumph of pluralism. They fear any voice that suggests a different path may also contain some validity.

Our constitution was intended to bequeath on us a government and a tradition of inclusion. The Board of Education is attempting to erase that and establish a Christian nation where one did not exist.

The Texas Board of Education has become the Texas Board of Ignorance. They have shown ignorance to be a primary goal of the Texas educational system, for that is certainly the result of their actions.

The Taliban and the Texas Board of Education have both destroyed beautiful works of art.

Richard Williams - 3/18/2010

"Blast?" Hardly. Disagree, yes, but that verb never appeared in the story, nor the headline. The WaPo might want to refer back to their own story on a related topic. Here's a quote from that story:

"College faculties, long assumed to be a liberal bastion, lean further to the left than even the most conspiratorial conservatives might have imagined, a new study says."

So why should it come as a surprise that these same individuals would disagree with a pendulum swing in the other direction?

Story here: