Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Inexcusable self-delusion and ignorance in Texas' public school history curriculum

As a retired educator, this kind of stuff makes my blood boil.

"Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.
And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.
Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”  .

In one sense, he's correct it was the right of states to authorize one human being to own another human being. Now that's something of which to be proud!  Where did Gov. Perry find these people?
At a KKK rally?  I bet the Klan is mad about being left out of the books.  They're actually proud of their arsons, assaults, murders and lynching.

There's more: "Students in Texas are required to read the speech Jefferson Davis gave when he was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America, an address that does not mention slavery. But students are not required to read a famous speech by Alexander Stephens, Davis’s vice president, in which he explained that the South’s desire to preserve slavery was the cornerstone of its new government and “the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.”

"Historians acknowledge that disagreements over states’ rights played a role in the Civil War. But the states’ rights issue was inseparable from slavery, they say: The right that states in the South were seeking to protect, after all, was the right to buy and sell people.
Southern states made that clear in their declarations of independence from the union, said James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association. Slavery’s primary role in driving the Civil War is a matter of scholarly consensus, he said.
“The War happened only because of the determination of the leadership of eleven states to defend the right of their residents to own other human beings,” Grossman wrote in an e-mail. “The Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery.”
Hardy, the Texas state board member who said the war was not about slavery, did not respond to requests for comment. The board’s chair, Donna Bahorich, also did not respond to a request for comment."
See the full article here.

From another article on the same topic: "Historians have soundly rejected the “states’ rights” argument as historical revisionism promoted by Confederate heroes and apologists after the war."

I suspect that in Iran the curriculum maintains that the Holocaust never happened. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I agree with your assessment and conviction. What Ken Burns described as the higher cause of America's Civil War was in fact the driving force behind the south's secession. And that was human slavery. But participants from both sides of the war were indifferent to black enslavement as it remained legal in many states. So from their perspectives, the cause of civil war was not about the wrongfulness of slavery. Historians are tasked with explaining this institutionalized cultural and economic part of early America, as deplorable as it was.