The California Senate Appropriations Committee voted to pass along a bill today that will, if adopted, take great strides in undermining the mendacious and ideologically driven curriculum standards coming out of Texas.
SB 1451, written by Senator Lee (D-San Francisco) would…
“Require the state board, upon completion of the social content review, to inform the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, and the secretary of Education of content that it interprets to be as a result of a specified action by the Texas Board of Education.”
The purpose of these bill is to ensure the radicalized language that has pervaded the Social Studies curriculum of Texas (as well as their Science curriculum, though thanks in part to the Oakland based National Center for Science Education, most of the damage there was prevented or minimized.)
Because Texas is among the largest purchaser of school textbooks, second only to California the state holds tremendous sway in the nations academic curriculum. Book publishers cater to the often capricious demands of the state, knowing they can expect the largest profit if they do. Rather than writing 50 version of a single textbook for each individual state, the publishing houses draft their books to fit the big purchasers and let the smaller states choose the best fit available. By refusing to purchase books altered to fit the Texas BOE’s regressive standards SB 1451 sends a message to those publishers: We aren’t having any of that crap.
As most everyone has heard, education standards in Texas are being butchered, with hardliner Christian Republicans working to undermine the egalitarian, pluralistic vision that founded this nation. In a vote last week they finalized language requiring textbooks to vindicate Joseph McCarthy, vilify our nations Separation of Church and State, and undermine the contributions of immigrant and minority leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr and César Chávez.
The board even went so far as to change language requiring students be able to “explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.” Thomas Jefferson, principle author of the Declaration of Independence was removed and in his place “Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone” were added.
Thomas Aquinas, a famed Christian theologian, died in 1274 – five hundred years before the Enlightenment took hold. Other changes represent other subtle (and not so subtle) attempts to shape the nations textbooks into painting an image of America as decidedly Christian and White, causing many involved in the process to tear out their hair in frustration. Upset over the Republican majority continually voting down amendments discussing the social benefits of minority leaders Democratic board member Mary Helen Berlanga was quoted complaining “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”
As usual PBS has excellent video coverage of the goings on in Texas; a short 12 minute video reviewing the motivations behind this conservative and religious push against the “liberal left”, which in the educated world is simply known as “reality”.
Hopefully Senator Yee’s bill passes. We may not be able to vote in Texas, but we in California have just as much a voice as they do. Let’s use it.