Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sanitized for Your Protection

There's an excellent piece at CommonDreams.org, written by an Austin Texas high school history teacher who tells how the Texas history curriculum has been purged of impure thoughts and inconvenient truths.

Texas has sanitized the high school curriculum, not for the protection of the students but to protect the ruling elite. The textbooks are sanitized to keep students from learning about any proto-socialist or communitarian views held by the Founding Fathers, to disguise the founders' occasional agnosticism and open-minded theism, to erase any useful understanding of how the union movement in the twentieth century led to the forty hour week, the weekend, the paid vacation, to the idea of giving employees raises and benefits like health insurance and pensions. Instead of learning about how Washington and Hamilton introduced the idea of a national debt to spur investment and economic growth, Texas school children will learn about Estée Lauder and a handful of other business tycoons. They'll learn how the House Un-American Activities Committee bravely saved America from the march of Communism––no mention of the witch-hunt, the censorship, the careers ended, the innocent lives destroyed or the broad fear they created. In Texas textbooks, Westward Expansion did not drive native Americans from their ancestral lands or kill millions with disease and privation, it saved their souls. History is all about how you look at it. Conservatives and Republicans have warned us about propaganda; this is it.

Last year the CSMonitor reported on the "whitening" effort in Texas education, to make slavery less significant in the history books, to whitewash it. Maybe this is how Michele Bachmann got her notions about how slavery was happier than the lives of African Americans today. In case you don't remember, this is how the Soviets taught history. I guess Texans and Republicans learned something from the Cold War.

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