Texas School Board Decision Hinders Education

M. Roe

Samantha Zulch and Michael Roe

In a recent Texas School Board decision to modify textbook material for elementary through high school social studies and history courses, the Texas Board of Education is effectively rewriting history in favor of a focused conservative influence.  The new modifications emphasize the so-called “Christian foundation” set forth by some of our Founding Fathers.

On March 12, the Texas School Board of Education approved this social studies curriculum change in a 10-5 vote with all the board’s Republican members voting in favor of the decision. This suggests that the School Board’s decision is more reflective of party politics than it is about the issue of education.

This clear bias in the curriculum alteration includes a de-emphasis on Civil Rights and other minority histories, the replacement of the term “Capitalism” with “Free Enterprise” to describe the U.S.’s economy, and the removal of Thomas Jefferson whose great offenses include a belief in the separation of church and state.

The school board even goes as far as to mention that America’s Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles. This is not necessarily true.

Dr. Don McLeroy, one of the board leaders, told the New York Times, “We are adding balance… Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

While McLeroy’s words reach a wide audience, there’s a clear distinction between making concessions for the sake of historical accuracy and the manipulation of American history to further support modern day political agendas.

So basically, the Texas School Board is successfully setting forth a political influence through the medium of school textbooks. This concept may commonly be referred to as “brainwashing,” “mind control,” or “indoctrination.”

Texas accounts for a large percentage of the textbook market, serving 4.7 million students, according to political writer David Knowles.

Along with this extensive influence, Texas is beginning to alter not only the history of Texas, but of our entire nation.  With such a large influence over the textbook market, Texas’ conservative modifications may also affect other states’ textbook standards.

The concept of learning should always remain objective and unbiased, free from the ideological grasp of political opinion.

Through the provisions of the Texas School Board’s decision, it is clear that the right-wing, Christian board members are acting under the disillusion that they hold the power to ignore fundamental figures and concepts from our history and disregard American diversity.

We, as students who will go on to make up the society in which we live, must understand the importance of the material we are taught in school.

We all have the right to high-quality, fair and balanced education as well as the right to form our own opinions on the information we learn.

Texas Board members can believe whatever they may choose, but through exercising that right they should not have to take that same right away from students. And through changing something as influential and crucial in a student’s education as textbook material, the Texas Board of Education is doing just that. How do you expect a high school student to form intelligent and balanced opinions when they are robbed of an unbiased education?