Texas state school board continues assualt on reason
By E. Wayne Ross at Aug 31, 2009
[Cross-posted from Where The Blog Has No Name]
The right-wing wing assault on reason in schools has intensified with the appointment Gail Lowe as the chair of the Texas State Board of Education. Lowe recently criticized the inclusion of US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and legendary labor leader Cesar Chavez in the social studies curriculum because, according to Lowe, Marshall and Chavez are are "not particularly known for their citizenship."
Governor Rick Perry appointed Lowe to the position after the Texas state senate rejected Perry's attempt to have Don McLeroy appointed for a second term as board chairman. In his role as chair of the Texas State Board of Education, McLeroy championed creationism and lobbied to have Texas science curriculum focus on the "weaknesses" of evolutionary theory. In a January 2009 editorial, The New York Times described the McLeroy's board as "scientifically illiterate" for their efforts to create a science curriculum that reflects conservative Christian beliefs about creation, rather than scientific evidence.
Under Lowe, the Texas Board is not likely change its tune. According to the Houston Chronicle, Lowe, a small town newspaper publisher, is "unapologetic about her conservative Christian views." In an interview with the Associated Press, Lowe said "This country was founded on Judeo Christian principles and to say otherwise is to deny what is very unique about our country," and she believes that believes students should be taught "biblical motives of the country's founding fathers."
Lowe has been a member of the Texas board since 2002 and has consistently voted with the panel's ultra conservative faction—opposing inclusion of contraception information in health textbooks, attacking evolutionary biology as part of the science curriculum, and rejecting the inclusion of two of the most towering civil rights figures of the 2oth century in the social studies curriculum, Marshall and Chavez .
Lowe's comments on Marshall and Chavez were in response to comments from members of board appointed advisory-panel who have argued that Marshall—who argued the Brown v. Board racial desegregation case in the 1950s and who later became the first African American US Supreme Court Justice—and Chavez—the Mexican American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist—should be deemphasized in the social studies curriculum because they lack "the stature, impact and overall contributions of so many others."
Marshall and Chavez are "not particularly known for their citizenship," Lowe told the Houston Chronicle. "Figures we use to represent those character ideals (citizenship, patriotism and community involvement) and the type of persons we want your students to emulate should be politically neutral."
Hmmm, what kind of logic is that? Can you find one figure in a US history textbook who is "politically neutral"?
Thanks to Tony's Curricublog for the heads up on this (and many other stories).