Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

Texas gets new curriculum by grassroothawaii
May 25, 2010, 10:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Hideo Hikida

Some weeks ago, I wrote a little blog post about how the Texas Board of Education was in the process of trying to change the curriculum of public schools in the state. Some of the changes were controversial to say the least, with the concepts of slavery and the civil rights movement getting less attention in text books with the proposed changes. Well, it turns out that a couple of days ago, the Texas Board of Education approved of an amended social studies and history curriculum.

Right now, I’ve got some mixed feelings about the changes to the curriculum. By that I mean that there are some changes that I really like and there are some changes that I really don’t like. The changes that I can really appreciate are:

1) Addressing the USA as a “constitutional republic” rather than a democracy
2) The increased attention to the teaching of free-market principles
3) Lessons on the decline of the US dollar and the reason why the United States abandoned the Gold Standard

All of those changes make perfect sense to me. Children need to understand the real workings of how our government works, and the fact that the curriculum teaches kids about the decline of the US dollar injects a sort of realistic perspective in the world, instead of the somewhat biased, “America is invincible” lesson plans we received when we were kids. Now more than ever, people are realizing that there are other countries in the world that are emerging culturally and economically, and teaching children about this will open their eyes to the rest of the world instead of putting on the blinders and prolonging their naivete. I can’t tell you how many times in college I heard people say some really dumb things because they really just didn’t have any international perspective. I’m not saying that this is going to cure all of that and make everyone more aware, but it’s a good step in the right direction in my opinion.

Now there are some changes in the curriculum that really don’t sit well with me either. Some of them like

1) Evaluating the efforts of international organizations and how they trespass national sovereignty
2) renaming the slave trade to the “Atlantic Triangular Trade”
3) Cutting down references to Susan B Anthony and Upton Sinclair

International organizations like the UN and Red Cross provide valuable assistance to countries world wide, and to simply study the fact that they might infringe upon national sovereignty instead of all the great work that they have been a part of is plain wrong. Renaming the slave trade the above term, I really have no words for that, mainly because it just seems like some right wing nut trying to erase the fact that slavery existed in the first place. *sigh* I’m sure that there’s a reasonable explanation for the amendment to this curriculum, but just reading it makes it seems like some white supremacist felt like re-writing the history books. *sigh*

I know that the concept of history is always up for interpretation. But there are better interpretations of history than others. There are some good changes to the curriculum, helping children broaden their views of the world, but at the same time, it’s stuff like the slavery clause and the international organization amendment that make it seem like this entire bill that changes the curriculum is more “one step forward, two steps backward.”

The scary part for me is that these changes last for 10 years and we won’t understand the impact of this education until the current generation grows up. I wonder how it’s going to turn out?


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