Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stupidity in Texas

I have a real problem with non-educators and fake education experts making important descisions regarding K-12 public school curriculum. As witnessed in Texas, a very large number of ideologues sitting on the Texas Board of Education are making textbook and curriculum descisions for the entire State of Texas. And, they don't always know what they are doing.

Case in point. The State Board of Education tossed children's book author Bill Martin, Jr.'s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? from the elementary curriculum just because two of its members confused the children's book author with Bill Martin, DePaul University philosophy professor and author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation (Creative Marxism). The Board of Education seems to be making political decisions rather than sound educational choices.

From the Dallas Morning News:

In an e-mail exchange, Leo said she planned to make a motion to replace Bill Martin and sent Hardy a list of possible alternatives. Hardy said she thought she was doing what Leo wanted when she made the motion.

Leo, however, said she wasn't asking Hardy to make any motions. She said she didn't do any "research."

"Since I didn't check it out, I wasn't about to make the motion," Leo said, adding that she never meant for her "FYI" e-mail to Hardy to be spoken about in a public forum.

Hardy said that her interest was in paring down that list and she didn't mean to offend anyone.

For some, however, the mix-up is an indicator of a larger problem with the way the elected board members have approached the update of state curriculum standards.

Board members will take up social studies standards again in March. They plan a final vote on updates in May.

Hardy's motion is "a new low in terms of the group that's supposed to represent education having such faulty research and making such a false leap without substantiating what they're doing," said Michael Sampson, Martin's co-author on 30 children's books.

The social studies standards update, which started last spring when groups of educators met to suggest revisions, has brought criticism from the right and the left about politicizing the process. As trustees worked their way through a draft this month, political ideas like imperialism, communism and free enterprise were at the heart of some of the changes.

H/T to Paul Constant from the Slog.

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