My home state has caused trouble—again. But this time I’m finding it hard to see the humor in the situation. On March 12, the Texas Board of Education changed their textbook standards, adding a more conservative twist to children’s history lessons. Because Texas is one of the main distributors of our country’s textbooks, their adjustments to history could ultimately affect the content of textbooks in the entire country.
This vote scares me. Moving to New York after growing up in the Bible belt of Texas made me realize how skewed my grasp of world history was. And, really, my grasp on reality. My education growing up was like a boring version of a western movie over and over again, where Americans are always in the right and they’ll shoot anybody who says differently, where the past presidents of the United States were always good and honest men who preached peace and democracy.
My first two years of social studies were dedicated to Texas history, my U.S. history classes focused mainly on the South, and I didn’t even get to the rest of the world until fifth grade. I was also never taught anything about Australia until I moved to France after high school as an exchange student, where I also got a lesson on WWII that, for once, wasn’t solely angled towards how Americans were the heroes.
According to board member Don McLeroy, "history has already been skewed," and the idea to make these changes started as a way to add equality in a country where "academia is skewed too far to the left," reported The New York Times.
These changes include adding a reference to French Puritan theologian, John Calvin as one of America’s intellectual originators, and excluding Thomas Jefferson from this same list. A greater emphasis will be put on the National Rifle Association and people like Phyllis Schlafty, founder of the anti-feminist Eagle Forum, and a woman famous for saying, “Sex education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.”
Also, hip-hop, a genre that can be traced as far back as the 1920s, is being dropped from the list of this nation’s important cultural movements.
In a world that becomes more cutthroat by the day, we should be more preoccupied with preparing our children for the educated competitiveness of our time, instead of allowing Texas to whisk our children away to the fantastical wild west.
Bottom line: Texas needs to take a bigger look at this country before they go around changing its history to fit in to their comfort zone. It's 2010, Texas; wake up and smell the future.