More on textbooks. Or maybe Moron Textbooks.
Kurt Eichenwald lays out the nasty business of Texas textbook standards, and how they assure American kids will get the worst education on the planet.
The latest “experts don’t know as much as me” nonsense has emerged in one of the worst places possible: high school textbooks. Over the past few months, a new set of books has emerged from the nation’s publishers, the first since the State Board of Education in Texas, driven by political conservatives and Christian evangelicals, adopted standards in 2010 for what should be included in them. And the decisions by Texans don’t just inflict this foolishness on Texas kids; because the state is such a huge purchaser of school textbooks, publishers often opt to print whatever the Lone Star State wants for students all over the country.
Now the books based on those standards are out, and, unsurprisingly, history and knowledge have been tossed aside in favor of politics, propaganda and faith. The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, a group organized to strengthen public schools and counter the influence of the Christian right in education, asked experts—people with doctorates who teach these topics at university levels—to review the textbooks, and their opinions were scathing.
Did you know Moses played a role in the writing of the U.S. Constitution? I didn’t. Apparently neither did the Founding Fathers, since he’s not mentioned in the Federalist Papers or any other relevant document. But students reading Perfection Learning’s new textbook on American history will think Moses was right up there with John Locke and Charles de Montesquieu in influencing Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and their brethren. What role did Moses supposedly play? The textbook claims he contributed the concept that “a nation needs a written code of behavior.” Forget the biblical ignorance shown in suggesting Moses provided the code for a “nation” rather than for the Jewish people, who had no nation (failing to reach the Promised Land was kind of key to the Book of Deuteronomy). Forget the legal ignorance in suggesting the Constitution had anything to do with a “code of behavior” rather than establishing democratic government and the rights guaranteed to citizens. Forget the historical ignorance in suggesting that the first laws came from Moses when the sixth Amorite king of Babylon established one of the first written set of laws, known as Hammurabi’s Code, hundreds of years earlier.
Go read the entire sorry thing. I weep for the future of this country some days.