More and more these days, lawmakers want to butt into the business of schools.
They justify doing it for a lot of reasons — none of them with much value. But they sound good and provide what lawmakers want first and foremost: political fund-raising mantra and votes.
Each time politicians who fiddle with learning get away with, it opens the door for more fiddling and at different levels.
Lawmakers in Kentucky want K-12 schools to teach the Christian faith in “world religion” classes. Lawmakers have floated bills to penalize college teachers who miss the deadline for ordering books for their classes. And lawmakers want to homogenize Kentucky college curricula.
And now in Texas, the state board of education wants the social studies curriculum to have a more politically “conservative” signature, especially in history and economics textbooks and including questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to separation of church and state.
Please note: The 10-5 vote was along “party” lines.
Politics and education do not mix.
The angst that books cause bureaucrats, politicians and ideologues runs the course of history. I read recently that in the 20 states where boards dictate curriculum and textbook content, battles such as the one in Texas happen all the time. Often that means teaching a white, Christian, heterosexual and male view of the world.
For example, during the Texas battle over books, Hispanic board members wanted more references to Latinos to provide role models for the state’s youth.
Those efforts consistently failed.
One did pass in the area of sociology: A conservative member of the Texas board got an amendment approved requiring the teaching of “the importance of personal responsibility for life choices” in a section on teenage suicide, dating violence, sexuality, drug use and eating disorders.
I think these approaches to implant revisionist history, faith-based natural and behavioral sciences, and political agendas poison education and threaten learning.
What do you think?