March 26, 2010

Revisionism refuted

On Wednesday, March 24th, The Texas Freedom Network posted a fine essay on their online publication, the TFN Insider, completely refuting the Texas State Board of Education’s ill advised efforts to repeal recorded history in favor of their Christian revisionism.

In case you’ve missed it, the TxSBOE has recently issued social studies curriculum standards in which they amputated Thomas Jefferson in favor of Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir. William Blackstone, on the grounds that the Jeffersonian argument for separation of church and state was “misplaced” in the standard.

The original standard read:

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.”

That was before Christian conservative boardmember Cynthia Dunbar, of the Houston area, convinced the board to alter the standard just a bit.

explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.”

The TxSBOE has sought no guidance from real historians, insisting instead that their own opinions are factual. TxSBOE Chairperson Gail Lowe, another Christian conservative from the Texas Hill Country town of Lampasas, said this about the earlier standard and the reason for the change: “This was inappropriate placement of Jefferson’s name. Jefferson was not himself an Enlightenment philosopher, although he was heavily influenced by the writings of these individuals.”

Jefferson not an enlightenment philosopher… hmmm…

So, since the Board was wont to seek the professional help they so desperately need, the TFN did it for them, posing the question of Jefferson’s enlightened status to an expert in colonial American history, SMU professor Dr. Edward Countryman. Dr. Countryman, who doesn’t have a dog in the hunt other than to care about truth in educational standards, completely strips the hide off of the revisionist’s argument.

Whether this intervention will manage to sway the Board or not is unknown, but perhaps the TFN’s efforts will help enlighten some of the more astute Texans on the efforts of a small, inbred tribe of cultists, and the damage revisionism will inevitably cause to our school kids. It does not matter if you are godded or godless, you should recognize the necessity of accuracy in curriculum standards.

Please read Dr. Countryman’s full reply, then please link to the TFN.

Help spread the word.



Old NFO said...

Good post and good link! Dr. Countryman's reply is outstanding, my only question is, will anyone listen??? As you've said, that is an insular bunch at the board, and are 'determined' to do it their way... sigh...

Old Weird Libra said...

Thank you for keeping us informed about the SBOE, and for the link to TFN. If enough people speak out, perhaps sooner or later someone will have to listen.