I haven't been paying too much attention to this story--thinking perhaps that it was really just another example of the power of the religious right in the South and not worth really diving into. When a lefty-former teacher of mine joined a group on Facebook called "1,000,000 People Against Texas Textbook Changes", I figured I needed to pay SOME attention to it.
So this morning, I read the linked to story above, and of course, the academics of our world have their panties in a wad over what Texas appears to be doing. So lets take a look at some of what is mentioned in the article, shall we?
1. The curriculum plays down the role of Thomas Jefferson among the Founding Fathers. I'm ok with this. TJ had a lot to do with the Declaration of Independence, but was in France for the Constitutional Convention (and wasn't too happy with what he heard was going on anyway). Recent historical inquiry into his behind the scenes political machinations and his likely personal relationship with his slave Sally Hemmings has Jefferson's stock down a bit, but it will probably rise someday.
2. Questions the separation of church and state. It should be questioned--because the phrase isn't mentioned in the Constitution. It is mentioned most prominently in a letter from the aforementioned Mr. Jefferson, but the Founding Fathers' view of the role of religion in public life is a far cry from what it has come to be interpreted as by largely 20th century Supreme Courts. The Constitution provides for freedom to practice and prohibits the government from "establishing" religion.....it does not prohibit creches in front of fire stations.
3. Communist infiltration of US government after WWII. This one really bothers the academy because well, they are just a little bit sensitive to Communist baiting. But the US Government WAS infiltrated by Communists and Venona DID give us some of that information.
Now that I've informed myself a bit more about this issue, I'll put it back under the file of things I care little about.