Education History

Don’t Mess With Texas History


The imagined slight of an Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum that is “anti-American” has swept the state of Texas and the state Board of Education has taken steps to eliminate it.

From the Associated Press

The Board of Education approved a measure declaring that the history curriculum its members set trumps that covered by the AP history course created for classrooms nationwide. That class concludes with an exam that can earn college credit for students who score high enough.

The board must still take a final vote, but the measure’s content isn’t expected to change.

Critics contend that the revised Advanced Placement curriculum is anti-American because it has narrowed the amount of content students are required to memorize but, rather than omit events that paint America in a less-sympathetic light, it excluded events that are more endearing.

In other words, critics contend that it’s anti-American because it does not whitewash our history.

I’ll ask the same question I have asked about this topic before: why do conservatives want to emulate the educational practices of nations they would call enemies by censoring negative events in our own history?

As the Associated Press points out, actions taken by the state Board of Education could potentially hurt Texas students because they will take the same exam even if they aren’t preparing for it as intended.

In 2013, about 47,500 Texas high school students took the AP History exam, and about 18,600 earned college credit. AP History students this year will still take the new exam, but will prepare for it by studying Texas-sanctioned curriculum.

Conservatives in the state government are setting their students up to fail. Because Advanced Placement U.S History is the stuff of liberals.

  • muselet

    It’s not just Texas. This is the way the Right views history.

    In 1994, the Wall Street Journal published a disingenuous op-ed in which Lynne Cheney (yes, that Lynne Cheney) blasted the proposed National History Standards, claiming that they downplayed the accomplishments of white males and overemphasized the negative. (Source.)

    Less than a week later, Rush Limbaugh said this (source.):

    History is real simple. You know what history is? It’s what happened. . . . The problem you get into is when guys like this try to skew history by [saying], “Well, let’s interpret what happened because maybe we can’t find the truth in the facts, or at least we don’t like the truth as it’s presented. So let’s change the interpretation a little bit so that it will be the way we wished it were.” Well, that’s not what history is. History is what happened, and history ought to be nothing more than the quest to find out what happened.

    Every time someone tries to find a more accurate—even honest—way of teaching history, the entire Right throws a colossal wobbly, mostly because some favored individuals lose their very special status as Important. It’s why Righties display a particularly vicious hatred for Howard Zinn.

    Don’t try to understand why events happened, just memorize the dates of a few military campaigns and the names of a few Great Men (the Right just loves the Great Man Theory of History), ’cause that’s the way history is supposed to be taught. If it’s not boring, it’s not history.


  • GrafZeppelin127

    There’s a scene in “The King and I” (stay with me, OK?) where Anna shows the King’s children a modern (19th Century) map of the world, which they have never seen. She shows the children where Siam is and the crown prince flips out, refusing to believe that his country is so small in size (geographic area) compared to other countries. “Siam is biggest country in the world!!” he declares defiantly to his flummoxed teacher.

    That’s basically what we’re dealing with here.

    • And when they go to college, and find out that they are the laughingstock of the class, and that they were lied to, then they will be permanently lost to conservatism.

      • Toolymegapoopoo

        That’s a very cynical view…and completely spot-on accurate. Conservatives know they are a dying breed so they are doing the very best they can to poison their own children to maintain relevance for just a little longer. In reality it is just another for of child abuse.

  • Nefercat

    Yes, but in keeping with the new conservatism, these students will be proud of their ignorance. Everybody knows education is un-Amerkun, right?