Thank You, Texas Board of Ed...
For demonstrating so clearly why tenure is so important.
The Texas Board of Ed has voted to turn social studies textbooks into conservative propaganda fliers. Under the new guidelines, students will be required to learn about the conservative revolution of the 80s but not about the counter-culture revolution of the 60s. Ronald Regan will be elevated to near God-like status but Ted Kennedy will be more or less absent from the discussion. Joseph McCarthy is to be rehabilitated. Studetns are to learn, basically, that conservativism is great and liberals are a bunch of terrorist loving whiners.
Not only is it bad policy. Not only does it border on fascism. It is also the best argument in favor tenure we could have. This is why tenure is important--because politicians, sometimes on the right and let's face it sometimes on the left, are constantly trying to politicize education.And teachers are in their cross-hairs.
I would not want to be a teacher in Texas right now, required to teach things which are of such dubious educational value, ideas that are so biased and (in some cases) "facts" that are just flat out wrong. Hell, I'm not talking about being a liberal teacher in Texas, I'm talking about being a moderate or even a conservative and being told by a bunch of politicians with an obvious agenda what I should and should not be teaching students. Woe unto she who decides to tell her students the truth about Joe McCarthy, or that Regan violated international law and established the small government and de-regulation movements that led to the current financial crisis, the reaction to Hurricane Katrina, and the Gulf oil spill. Armed with nothing but the truth in the face of the Texas School Board, I'd be afraid for my job.
The fascists under Mussolini, the Nazis under Hitler, the Soviets under Stalin, the Cubans under Castro, and the Red Chinese under Chairman Mao all re-wrote textbooks so that they would conform to their narrow political ideology, turning education into indoctrination. Now the Texas Board of Education has done the same.
(cross posted to Livejournal)