Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sign the petition to STOP the re-imagining of American History

With the Texas State Board of Education scheduled to vote THIS WEEK on the final adoption of Texas' new, politically motivated social studies textbook standards, board member Don McLeroy has proposed some more last minute bits of revisionist history. The changes take clear aim at the separation of church and state and characterize the Progressive Era as a negative influence on America.

There's a good chance the new standards could be adopted this Friday. The People for the American Way have started a petition to the major textbook publishers, urging them to keep Texas's controversial standards out of textbooks sold nationally.  To maximize its impact, we need another 10,000 signatures this week.

Please make sure you are part of this important effort by adding your name now. Then, make sure to spread the word on Facebook and by forwarding this message.

Texas is now seeking to add even more changes school textbooks to:
  • Maintain that separation of church and state was not the intent of the Founders.This despite the fact that the phrase "separation of church and state" came from Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Dansbury Baptists where he specifically explained the intent and proper interpretation of the 1st Amendment.
  • Strike from a high school U.S. history course a 1948 court decision, Delgado v. Bastrop ISD, which barred segregation of students of Mexican descent in Texas public schools, and replace it with a case decided last year by the Roberts Court making it harder for local governments to encourage a diverse workforce (Ricci v. DeStefano). Ricci v. DeStefano was a case where instead of remanding the case back to the City of New Haven and having them follow the existing law and process by "validating" their test, Justices on the Supreme Court who are hostile to Civil Rights used the 'unvalidated' test results to craft a decision that created an entirely new legal standard. They used the Equal Protection provisions of the 4th Amendment to attack the Disparate Outcome protections of the Civil Rights Act. (Justice Scalia even remarked that he wished he could review the Civil Rights Act itself)
  • Minimize the positive impact of Progressive Era reforms and suggest that the work of the era's reformers like Upton Sinclair, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. DuBois created a negative portrayal of America. In so doing they attack the foundations of the Women's Suffrage, Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Organized Labor movements.These movements did more than 'criticize' America, they challenged America to look at herself 'Critically' and to become better. We know that a caricatured 'Pollyanna' type portrayal of America the perfect serves no one! If we can not acknowledge out shortcomings and mis-steps, then we can not correct them. These social movements offered the promise of equality and fair treatment to all of our citizens and helped make America a beacon of hope to people around the world and we must not stand by silently and see them mis-characterized or diminished... 
McLeroy even wants to feed paranoid conspiracy theories about "one world government" by adding a standard to high school U.S. history requiring students to "evaluate efforts by global organizations to undermine U.S. sovereignty."

This is nothing short of a naked attempt by politicians to brainwash a generation of American students at the expense of a sound education.

It's not too late to speak up now by signing the PFAW petition to make sure that in the event these new standards make it into Texas textbooks, they don't make it into textbooks elsewhere.

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