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The best way to fix a mistake is to avoid making it in the first place

In re: the fight over social studies now brewing in the State Board of Education, the problem is described as follows.

About 75 teachers, principals, social studies coordinators, college professors, retired teachers and ordinary citizens are developing the new curriculum standards. The so-called “writing teams” are taking guidance from six expert reviewers appointed by the board. The group’s first draft is expected to be finished before the board’s September meeting. Public hearings will follow before the board acts next spring.

But some of the expert recommendations are already stirring controversy, suggesting for example that biographies of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen F. Austin should not be included in books for early grade-school children. And some of the experts want to emphasize the role of the Bible and the Christian faith in the settling of the original colonies.

The suggestions also are attracting the attention of the national media, which lampooned Texas earlier this year when the board struggled with the teaching of evolution in public schools.

In an article earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal noted that two of the expert reviewers appointed by the socially conservative state board members have strong Christian perspectives.

David Barton is founder of WallBuilders, which pushes America’s Christian heritage. Another expert reviewer is the Rev. Peter Marshall, a Christian minister who preaches that Watergate, the Vietnam War and Hurricane Katrina were God’s judgments on the nation’s sexual immorality.

Board members said Thurs day they are optimistic they will avoid repeating the rankling that brought attention to the debate over new science curriculum standards. The TFN has more.

“I don’t see at all that we will divide into factions,” said new board Chairwoman Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas.

Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, said of the task: “It’s very difficult. It’s very emotional. I hope we would keep it factual.”

It would have helped if the “experts” hired to do the initial review had all been, you know, actual experts on the subject matter and had not included a couple of fringe wingnuts who want to push their bizarre worldview at the expense of genuine scholarship. Given that that ship has sailed, the only sensible thing to do now is to admit the mistake, throw out everything the current review panel has done, find a group of honest academicians to do a serious job of it, and apologize profusely to the people and especially the students of Texas for having wasted their time and insulted their intelligence. Needless to say, I do not expect this to happen. Good luck making something productive happen now.

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3 Comments

  1. […] would have been much better, of course, for those three so-called “experts” to have never been selected to serve on the committee. But given that they’re there, the more they can be ignored, the […]

  2. […] a lawyer, has worked with the Aledo-based group WallBuilders, whose founder David Barton says the Founding Fathers did not intend for there to be a formal separation of church and […]

  3. […] the point of detailed criticism is at this stage of the game. For one thing, the SBOE has made its contempt of experts and expertise quite clear, and for another they’ve already gotten some perfectly […]