The New York Times Magazine has just published online a major piece about the Texas State Board of Education and its role in promoting far-right efforts to hijack public education in America. The article will also appear in the Sunday Times’ print edition. Money quote:
The Christian “truth” about America’s founding has long been taught in Christian schools, but not beyond. Recently, however — perhaps out of ire at what they see as an aggressive, secular, liberal agenda in Washington and perhaps also because they sense an opening in the battle, a sudden weakness in the lines of the secularists — some activists decided that the time was right to try to reshape the history that children in public schools study. Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, another Christian activist on the Texas board, put it, “The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.”
Of course, the issue isn’t really about a “Christian truth” or “Christian activists.” The issue is the fanaticism and intolerance of religious fundamentalists who want to turn public school classrooms into tools for promoting ideological agendas. They viciously attack anyone who disagrees with them as leftist radicals who hate Christians. Yet many who do oppose their efforts are also Christians and other people of faith (as well as nonbelievers). These opponents simply reject efforts to promote the religious and political views of some over those of everybody else in our public schools.
The article offers a stunning view of how the State Board of Education’s far-right faction manipulates the curriculum development and textbook adoption processes — and thereby influences what millions of public school students learn not just in Texas, but across the country as well.
Kathy Miller of the Texas Freedom Network also talked to the writer about the board:
“It is the most crazy-making thing to sit there and watch a dentist and an insurance salesman rewrite curriculum standards in science and history. Last year, Don McLeroy believed he was smarter than the National Academy of Sciences, and he now believes he’s smarter than professors of American history.”