Educators use myriad modalities to transfer knowledge from one generation to the next based on research, historical facts, and empirical data, unless of course their knowledge base if founded in superstition and invalid facts. The separation of church and state in the Constitution ensures that taxpayer dollars will not be used to teach religion in public schools, and besides giving rise to an alarming number of private Christian madrassas, Republicans are using public school funds to teach Christian conservative ideology in place of science and American history. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal devised a scam to transfer public school students to private religious schools using taxpayer dollars to inculcate biblical beliefs, but in Texas, Republicans are taking a more direct approach and inserting Christian and conservative ideology into public school curriculum.
Real educators understand that curricula based on superstition and political ideology academically retards students and leaves them ill-prepared to function and compete in a rapidly evolving 21st century world. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said “We do a disservice to children when we shield them from the truth, just because some people think it is painful or doesn’t fit with their particular views. Parents should be very wary of politicians designing curriculum.” Christian Republicans, however, will not be deterred from their crusade to create a generation of ignorant conservatives whose worldview will be founded on ancient biblical mythos and revisionist history with no basis in facts.
In Louisiana, Bobby Jindal signed a new law that privatizes public schools to indoctrinate students with bible-based curriculum and mindboggling pseudoscience. The curriculum’s textbooks hype “bible-based facts” from Christian Bob Jones University Press and Christian educators A Beka Book touting “academic excellence and Christian character training.” The academic excellence includes teaching children that dragons were real, humans and dinosaurs lived side by side in perfect harmony, and that globalization is the precursor to rapture. The students will also learn that slavery was not horrendous, the Ku Klux Klan was a respectable organization working for the betterment of local communities, and that liberals lie and use propaganda to portray the Great Depression as something other than Utopia and America’s finest era. In Louisiana, only students sucked into Jindal’s privatization scam will be academic retards, but in Texas, all 4.8 million students are bound for an education founded in Christian conservatism and right-wing extremists’ revised American history.
The Texas Board of Education went to great lengths to revise curriculum to adhere to their distorted conservative religious vision of America, and their primary goals are emphasizing that America was founded on Christian beliefs, and that the bible disproves science. The Republican Christian conservatives amending Texas textbooks decried state curriculum they claim was dominated by liberal ideas based on historical facts and empirical scientific data, and their stated goal was to reverse the trend. One of the Republican Christians, conservative board member Don McLeroy said that “we’ve corrected the imbalance we’ve had in the past,” and that he is now “very pleased with what we’ve accomplished.” Another board member said that “I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. The objective is a Christian land governed by Christian principles.”
To ensure 4.8 million Texas students are indoctrinated into the “Christian nation” fallacy, the conservative board concentrated on diluting the rationale for the separation of church and state by noting the words were not in the Constitution. The Founding Father responsible for the “wall of separation” in the First Amendment, Thomas Jefferson, is hated by conservatives so they removed him from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century. The Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, was a cultural movement in the 17th and 18th centuries dedicated to reforming society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and advancing knowledge through the scientific method. It promoted scientific thought, skepticism and intellectual interchange, and rejected superstition and intolerance. The Enlightenment influenced Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, among many others, and played a major role in the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. None of which are included in the Christian bible the Texas conservatives claim are the Constitution’s source of inspiration.
To make sure Texas students learn that the “good book” and the “spirit of the savior” directed the Founding Fathers, the conservatives replaced Jefferson with Italian priest St. Thomas Aquinas and French theologian John Calvin who were alive during the early 1200s and 1500s respectively, and were as far removed from the Age of Enlightenment as the Texas Christian Republicans are from rational thought. The religious conservatives also will indoctrinate Texas students to learn “the consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action, and Title IX legislation. They will also focus on the blessings of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s with special emphasis on contributions by Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and every religious conservative’s favorite organization the National Rifle Association. The Republicans on the board claimed they were just “adding balance” to the curriculum because according to conservatives on the board, “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left;” likely with historical facts and empirical scientific data.
The Texas curriculum board wields power over the entire nation’s education system because they are one of the largest textbook consumers, and publishers offer Texas textbooks to other states. In fact, even textbook publishers are coming under fire from Texas for including science that does not comport with the bible. The religious conservatives enlisted a bank of Christian lay-people as science curriculum reviewers who rejected all references to evolution and just recently insisted that all biology curricula is based on creationism. California educators have had to deal with textbooks tailored for Texas idiots in the past, and to remedy the problem a bill was introduced in the California state Senate to protect California schools by requiring California’s board of education to screen state curricula for any of the new standards adopted in Texas. The bill explains that Texas curriculum changes are “a sharp departure from widely accepted historical teachings and a threat to the apolitical nature of public school governance and academic content standards in California.”
America’s students, even unfortunate Texas and Louisiana students deserve a fact-based, historically accurate, and scientifically correct education that is facing its biggest threat in decades. Whether it is voucher scams to transfer public school funds to private religious schools, or a panel of religious conservative freaks in Texas degrading education, America’s children merit the tools they will need to succeed in the 21st century global economy. They will be academic retards if they learn the bible is science, the Founding Fathers’ were committed to government by bible, or that Republican political philosophies are America’s salvation. However, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said “We do a disservice to children when we shield them from the truth,” and if Americans have learned nothing else from Republicans, it is that their agenda is entirely dependent on “shielding Americans from the truth.” If the American people did know the truth, the conservative movement, like our education system, would soon cease to exist.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.