Yesterday, we spent about four hours watching a spotty livestream of the
revival meeting history textbook hearing by the State Board of Education down in Austin, Texas.
Those are the standards on which — it can’t be repeated enough — publishers base their nationwide textbooks, and the ones that currently contain a clause requiring knowledge of Newt Gingrich.
Well, the board met for another four hours after lunch. Not much was said about Gingrich beyond that it was “not easy” to draft the clause, but it’s worth checking out some highlight clips we pulled to see first-hand how the partisan and frankly ignorant worldviews of some of the board members influence the standards writing process.
In these clips, the seated officials are members of the GOP-majority board of ed. The woman standing up is the representative of the high school U.S. history textbook standards writng team. Keep in mind, the writing team is supposed to incorporate in its next revision of the standards the input of the board members.
First up, board member Don McLeroy explains the importance of recognizing how “the majority” has helped “minorities” like African-Americans and women. “For instance, the women’s right to vote. … The men passed it for the women.”
(An incredulous female board member can be heard asking in the background, “How many years did it take?”)
Next up, Barbara Cargill, who is concerned about applying the words “imperialism” or “propaganda” to any action of the U.S. government:
Here, again, is McLeroy, demanding that “Republican leaders” be included in the section on civil rights because a greater percentage of Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act:
He’s right about the breakdown of the vote on the Civil Rights Act, of course. But if you look at the section in question, you see that it’s a list of outside activists like SNCC and Martin Luther King, Jr. So it would be more than a little odd to toss in the name of a GOP congressman just for the sake of “balance.”
It’ll be interesting to see what kinds of revisions the writing team comes up with after this session. The first vote on the standards comes in January.