May 16, 2010

Verbatim from the DMN

2:00 AM CDT on Saturday, May 15, 2010

By TERRENCE STUTZ / The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – A leading social conservative on the State Board of Education will push for further doubt to be cast on separation of church and state when the board goes back to work on proposed curriculum standards for social studies next week.

Board member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, has distributed several changes he will propose before board members take a final vote on the standards. The curriculum will dictate what is taught in classrooms and must be included in textbooks for U.S. history, government and other social studies courses in Texas schools.

The GOP-dominated board shot down an earlier attempt by Democrats to have high school students study the reasons the Founding Fathers barred the government from promoting any religion.

McLeroy now wants to include a requirement that eighth-grade history students study the issue from a different perspective.

Under his proposal, students would "contrast the Founders' intent relative to the wording of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, with the popular term 'Separation of church and state.' "

The language reflects the opposition of social and religious conservatives to the legal doctrine of separation of church and state, which has been upheld multiple times by the U.S. Supreme Court, including one far-reaching decision that outlawed school-sponsored prayer.

McLeroy and other board members contend that separation of church and state was established in the law only by activist judges and not by the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

The Texas Freedom Network, which has battled with social conservative groups, accused McLeroy of "trying to rewrite history and promote political agendas in our kids' classrooms."

Another change sought by the Republican would require students to discuss alternatives to "long-term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare" because of the decreasing ratio of workers to retirees.
"This is relevant to assessing the policies of the various ideologies that have shaped where we are as Americans," said McLeroy, who has joined with other members of his board bloc to put a more conservative slant on the social studies standards.

For example, high school students will have to learn specifically about leading conservative groups from the 1980s and 1990s in U.S. history, but not about identified liberal or minority rights groups.


Old NFO said...

Well, it will be interesting to see how that plays out, since that WILL affect education throughout the US...

Rogue Medic said...

Maybe it is a good thing that nobody pays attention in school.