September 22, 2002
The curriculum game
A UT law professor named Brian Leitner has a piece today about how religious conservatives are working to control information in school textbooks. It's a useful article, though really, anyone who's lived in Texas for a few years that hasn't heard of Mel and Norma Gabler should be ashamed of themselves. Where Leitner falls down is in his conclusion:
There is an obvious solution: Just as then-Gov. George W. Bush championed local control for school districts, we must have local control over textbooks. The influence of the well-funded extremists is exaggerated because they have only one target: the Texas State Board of Education, which approves textbooks for the entire state. But if they have to go community to community pressing their censorship campaign, they are doomed to the defeat they so richly deserve.
Um, Brian? Have you heard about what's been going on
in Montgomery County? Do you know that the strategy of the Christian Coalition since 1988 has been winning local elections
for school boards and the like? Do you know that they've been very successful with this strategy, even in liberal places like New York
? Do you really think that throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch is such a good idea? Maybe you ought to reconsider this a little.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 22, 2002 to The great state of Texas
It goes both ways. One proposed science textbook before the State Board of Education last year blamed Christianity, with its "go forth and multiply edict," for the ravages of pollution and overpopulation. Some members of the board actually didn't mind this.
Similarly, free enterprise has likewise been blamed for poverty, environmental degredation, etc, in proposed textbooks. This entire issue has become so politicized that blaming one side for being too orthodox is simply the pot calling the kettle black.
One factor is that textbook publishing is a mass-production field. A publisher needs large print runs to be competitive, and putting out multiple versions hurts that. If a district school board turns down a textbook, that isn't bad. If (say) the Vermont Single Board for the Whole State turns it down, that isn't so bad. If a Texas state board turns it down, that's bad.
i HOPE YOUR COMMENTS DON'T MEAN THAT IT IS ok FOR THOSE WHO ESPOUSE ANTI-CHRISTIAN IDEAS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DOMINATE SCHOOL BOARDS BY GETTING OUT THE VOTE AND THAT THOSE OPPOSED TO THEM DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO SO? ISN'T THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT AND THOSE THAT COMPLAIN AS THOSE THAT GET THE GOVERNMENT THAT THEY DESERVE/
I'm talking about tactics here. For Brian Leitner to propose more local control as the optimal way to counter the influence of religious conservatives shows that he's ignorant of recent history.