Thursday, September 17, 2009

Texas Texts

Because they buy a lot of them, the state of Texas has a great deal of influence over the content of public school textbooks across the nation. Texas also has its share of fundamentalists and Jesus-shouters, and recently they have been pushing the Texas Board of Education to purge the textbooks of historically important figures that they consider to be too “liberal” and replace them with those more of their liking, like Phyllis Schlafly, Rush Limbaugh, and the NRA. Justin Elliott at TPM reports:

The group of six experts is “extremely influential” in the curriculum writing process, says Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, which closely tracks the activist board of education. And they can be broken into two groups: mainstream academics and right-wing ideologues.

Take the Rev. Peter Marshall. His Peter Marshall Ministries — whose Web site is, sad to say, down today — seeks “to restore America to its Bible-based foundations through preaching, teaching, and writing on America’s Christian heritage and on Christian discipleship and revival.”

Marshall’s books include “The Light and the Glory for Children: Discovering God’s Plan for America from Christopher Columbus to George Washington,” from Christian publisher Revell.

In his review of the proposed textbook standards, Marshall denounces Anne Hutchinson as “a favorite of modern feminists” but “not sufficiently ‘significant'” to include with Roger Williams, John Smith, and William Bradford. (Read an excerpt of Marshall’s comments here.)

He declares the term “imperialism” applicable to European expansionism, but inappropriate for the US adventures in Hawaii and Mexico.

Finally, Marshall weighs in on the section of the proposed textbook standards we recently flagged that require knowledge of Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority. To that list, Marshall recommends adding “Jim Dobson (Focus on the Family) … Rush Limbaugh … and the National Rifle Association.”

Gee, do you think they’ll include a discussion on the First Amendment and the separation of church and state, or is that not “sufficiently ‘significant'”?