|Action Reaction: Redacting History - by Brett Edward Stout|
|The Power of the Written Word|
|What we need to do|
Brett Edward Stout. Photo: Adam Bouska
On March 12th, 2010 the Texas Board of Education ruled 10-4 (with one opposing member storming out in protest) to enact new social studies textbook guidelines. Final approval of the decision will come in May. The Board is entrusted with doing so every 10 years and that the vote occurred was not in and of itself abnormal. However, the decision they made that day is considered by some to be the most terrifying power play the Religious Right has ever perpetrated. But why should the actions of the Texas Board of Education deserve a national reaction? What do the content of textbooks matter in an Internet age where print media seems ever more obsolete?
Attacks on school curriculum by the Religious Right are not new and have had questionable success. In 1954 “Under God” was successfully legislated as an addition to the Pledge of Allegiance, but then in the 1960s school prayer was successfully halted. Most recently, in the 2005 case of Kitzmiller v. Dover, public schools were barred from religious challenges in science classrooms but the battle over history has just begun. The following year, David Barton started to gain notoriety for “educating” religious institutions with his theory that the United States was created as a “Christian experiment.”
His work was soon heavily criticized, most notably in Chris Rodda’s book Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternative Version of American History.