An article by James McKinley Jr. in the New York Times illustrates just why Conservative ideology is so dangerous. Conservatives are not content with their ambition of merely controlling the government, they want to control what people think. What better way to do that, and what better way to revise history, than to attack the very textbooks our children learn from?
After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday voted to approve a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Father’s commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.
In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.
Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 160 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school. The standards were proposed by a board of teachers.
Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among the conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)
Mavis B. Knight, a Democrat from Dallas, introduced an amendment requiring that students study the reasons “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”
It was defeated on a party-line vote.