We noted this morning that Robert Scott, the Texas education commissioner, told state legislators at a Capitol public hearing that changes the Texas State Board of Education is making to proposed social studies curriculum standards reflect a change in political control of the board in recent years. (A far-right faction took control of the state board after the 2006 elections.) Mr. Scott broadly compared the standards as they have been revised so far by the current board to those adopted by a more politically moderate board in 1997-98. Burnt Orange Report has transcribed a key part of what Scott said:
“One of the things, I think, that has been a problem in all of our deliberations regarding – whether it’s education or anything else – is that when you push out a particular group, and say we don’t care about you, when you push out, regardless of who that is, over time that creates a problem. And when the pendulum swings back, you know, there’s – whether you call it payback or a shifting in the alignment – I think that we need to be mindful as we deliberate to try to prevent the pushing out of any group, regardless of who they are. And that’s what I think this process needs to be about.”
“Payback?” That’s a remarkable admission, whether Mr. Scott realizes it or not, that the board is politicizing the standards and — by extension — our children’s public school classrooms. We repeat our concern here: this curriculum revision process shoudn’t be about politics or whatever political majority controls the board. Decisions about what public schools teach should be based on sound scholarship and should prepare our kids to succeed in college and their future careers.