Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Texas Rearrangers


Ironically proving the old maxim/warning about what happens when you give a monkey a brain:

"But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes."

Those are the words of Don McLeroy, a ultra-right Christian living in East Texas -- which is a redundancy if ever there was one -- who subscribes to all the usual nonsense ultra-right Christians subscribe to: the world is 6,000 years old, therefore "evolution is hooey"; Jesus is the ONE TRUE GOD; immigrant infestation and secular progressives are destroying America; Joe McCarthy was a victim of the elitist liberal media; you get the picture. Why you should care about this particular rambling retard, however, is this:

"McLeroy is no ordinary citizen. The jovial creationist sits on the Texas State Board of Education, where he is one of the leaders of an activist bloc that holds enormous sway over the body’s decisions. As the state goes through the once-in-a-decade process of rewriting the standards for its textbooks, the faction is using its clout to infuse them with ultraconservative ideals...

Battles over textbooks are nothing new, especially in Texas, where bitter skirmishes regularly erupt over everything from sex education to phonics and new math. But never before has the board’s right wing wielded so much power over the writing of the state’s standards. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas. The reasons for this are economic: Texas is the nation’s second-largest textbook market and one of the few biggies where the state picks what books schools can buy rather than leaving it up to the whims of local districts, which means publishers that get their books approved can count on millions of dollars in sales. As a result, the Lone Star State has outsized influence over the reading material used in classrooms nationwide, since publishers craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers. As one senior industry executive told me, 'Publishers will do whatever it takes to get on the Texas list.'"


This isn't a matter of left versus right or one region of the country against another; it's just smart versus dumb.

Read on:

The Washington Monthly: Revisionaries/January-February, 2010

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

these people aren't 'dumb'... they're stupid. there is a difference. dumb people can't help it.... stupid people do it on purpose.

CNNfan said...

I wish I could ask Christian Amonpour...

Is it true that Born-Again Christianity is a new dialect founded in the late 1960s in the U.S.A. with the Evangelical Christian renewal ?

SteveR said...

The customer's always right.

The other Fred said...

"Jesus is the ONE TRUE GOD"

SKY CAKE!!!

marija said...

Why isn't there a bigger reaction from the scientists over this matter. I mean, if I were a plumber and someone started teaching my staff that fairies fix the pipes over night, I would kick the crap out of him and throw him on his head. Why aren't the scientists battling over this? where are their cojones???

karen said...

marija, "the scientists" are doing everything they can to fight this crap. Do a google search on ScienceBlogs and look for Pharyngula.

marija said...

Yes, I am a regular reader. Do you think that Pharyngula has wide enough audience or is Myers preaching to the choir? Don't you have some sort of government regulatory body responsible for education or is it up to the different states?
If you ask me, sometimes democracy suffers at the hands of Stupid and should maybe be transcended in cases like these.

Mart said...

I hear Bill White is the Texas Board of Ed's fact checker.

epnuzguy said...

Being a Texan and a big fan of this blog, I have to mention that part of the outcry over textbooks right now is that the geniuses on the Board of Education are tweaking the history books our kids will be using in the fall. Albert Einstein and Cesar Chavez are out, Oprah Winfrey is in. I don't know what's scarier...worrying whether kids will be taught history filled with ultra-right Christian crap or learning about Oprah. And don't even get me started about the embarrassing lack of Texas history that's being taught in schools in our state...

Anon said...

Ronald Regan saved the world from communism?
And here I thought it was populist anger at the Soviets, coupled with a weakening of their party that led to modern Russia.