Monday, May 11, 2009

Social Studies next on the firing line?

OK, repeatedly supporters of science and pointed to the Wedge Strategy document which pretty unequivocally states that Evolution is only the first, the 'wedge' to being a more theistic viewpoint to education. Over and over again Creationists (those pushing their religion as science) have been claiming that the Wedge strategy is some sort of non-sequitor. And so enters Texas, once again.

Fresh from a partial victory in the science area comes the review of the Social Studies curriculum. The State School Board, still under the 'leadership' of Don "Damn the science" McElroy, is trying to do it again. Check out the letter from the Texas Freedom Network "Ed Board Extremists Target Social Studies". Apparently Donnie is trying to stack the deck by appointing another 'expert' panel. Guess who is included? David Barton, fundamentalist of the group WallBuilders, whose degree is in religious education, not the social sciences, and the Rev. Peter Marshall of Peter Marshall Ministries in Massachusetts, who suggests that California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina were divine punishments for tolerance of homosexuality. Gee and I thought stacking the deck with Discovery Institute cronies for the science curriculum was bad. TFN’s Kathy Miller: “It’s absurd to suggest that Texas universities don’t have accomplished scholars in the field who are more qualified than ideologues who share a narrow political agenda."

So while my personal guess would have been Geology or Astronomy with the cross-hairs, since one of the many whines against evolution start with the age of the Earth and Universe, I would have never guess the softer sciences, like Social Studies. But then since any gains made by folks like Barton and Marshall are usually political rather than scientific, I guess this should have been a predictable target.

Texas, I know you folks are looking at lots of ways to water down McElroy, but you can't just stop there. The State Board of Education should not be allowed to use their power in an effort to promote on very narrow religious viewpoint of any curriculum area. Evolution was yesterday, Social Studies today, what is tomorrow? Geology? English? Let's see, what is the Biblical alternative to English? Are we going to go back to require Latin in school? How about Aramaic? Or we can use the Bible's original language, Greek. I bet lots of fundamentalist Creationists weren't aware of that one.


  1. Dear Ted:

    Every single discipline has something to upset the farthest of the rightmost. In social studies it's anything that doesn't smack of American triumphalism. In math, it's anything but drill-n-kill. In language arts, the wars between phonics and whole-language are just as ugly as evolution vs. creationism. This is not new--it's been that way for decades. Famous 1920s quote from first female governor of Texas, "Ma" Ferguson: "If King James [Bible] English is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for the schoolchildren of Texas!"

  2. LOL. I love that quote, I had heard it before, just not attributed to her.