Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Conservative Politicization of Teaching

In a horrifying follow-up to my last post, evangelical conservatives in positions of power have once again breached the barrier between government and education. According to the Times, seven fundamentalist right-wingers on the Texas Board of Education have added a slew of changes to the state's textbook curriculum, including amendments to pedagogy on government, history, and sociology.

Unsurprisingly, as we find ourselves in a hyperpartisan political atmosphere countrywide, government officials have actually summoned the audacity to make changes to educational standards that shine capitalism, small government, conservative values, and the conflation of government and religion, in a more positive light. They hide their reprehensible political agenda behind the often repeated (by right-wingers with a political agenda) notion that American education is "skewed toward the left."

In a similar vein, Tucker Carlson recently attacked American colleges and universities on Fox News as bastions of biased liberal thought. His analysis of the report to which the segment refers is fallacious, and the entire clip is essentially just conservatives feeding off each other's contempt for liberalism. These strategies of claiming bias in places where bias does not exist in order to bolster one's own political agenda are sinister, but they are also clever and will likely prove effective in the long run.

The "tea party" movement is not only a backlash against hyperbolic visions of big government takeovers; ironically, it has manifested itself as a big government takeover of its own, trying to use political power to instill certain political values in Americans from an early age. When party-line democratic votes like the one in Texas are able to fundamentally change the way children view history, we must take a step back and question the efficacy of our system of government and our intellectual freedoms. Once government begins to tweak the way history is taught, where do we draw the line between our free democracy and propaganda-riddled, freedom-constrained governments such as China's?

1 comment:

  1. The problem is that the texas board of education sets the standards for most the rest of the nation. If states are going to be lazy about their responsibilities, then the federal government should formulate standards.