ERIC Number: EJ986891
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
From the Battlefront of the Texas History Wars: Contending with "American Exceptionalism"
Multicultural Education, v19 n1 p44-45 Fall 2011
It was in late May of 2010 that the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) took their final vote on the curriculum standards that will have an impact on what millions of students in Texas as well as dozens of other states will learn about history and social studies for the next 10 years. These "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" (TEKS) standards serve as a foundation for textbooks, teaching, and high-stakes standardized testing as mandated by the federal "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law. Nine of the 15 members of SBOE voted as a bloc to overtly impose a decidedly Christian conservative bias on the TEKS curriculum standards for the history of Texas, the history of the nation, and the history of the world. Throughout this long process the local and national media focused well-deserved attention on the SBOE pronouncements, including the concepts and historical figures that the Board members sought to include and exclude, drawing from these an abundance of reports, interviews, and comedy news shows. Yet, unlike all of these media reporters, the author experienced this entire process from the inside. He served on the state standards writing committee for U.S. history, and from the eye of the storm he could see the inner workings of a system that although ostensibly open and honest was riddled with manipulation and pressure for them to conform to SBOE's version of history. The author contends that students should be told the entire truth of the nation's travails as well as its triumphs, its perils as well as its promise. Only then can they be prepared to confront the global challenges of tomorrow. Teaching students the bogus myth of "American exceptionalism" will not prepare them for the future. Throughout this convoluted political process the author has made several significant discoveries. Foremost among them is that those who want to white-wash America's history to fit their own notions of patriotism are no more patriotic than those who see America's warts and wounds, and love her still.
Descriptors: Educational Policy, Information Technology, Public Service, Educational Change, Higher Education, Foreign Countries, Integrated Learning Systems, Educational Environment, Distance Education, Colleges
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas; United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills