And in Texas, of all places.
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Other board-prescribed changes concern the perceived liberal tilt in the teaching and explication of history. The board majority wanted to ensure treatment of the late 20th-century conservative movement that produced the Reagan revolution. So also members wanted it made clear that Republicans supported civil rights legislation in the '60s and that the Black Panthers preached and practiced a gospel of violence. On “McCarthyism,” the board wanted attention given the post-Cold War documentation (through the Venona papers) of Soviet espionage in the United States. In other words, contrary to received liberal gospel, Sen. Joe McCarthy wasn’t 100 percent off his rocker.
I SUPPOSE ONE MIGHT CALL this sort of thing micro-management of information — the stuff that inspires liberal charges that the state board of education is bent on nothing less than “indoctrination” of innocent students. The truth is much larger and more various. It has to do with the nature of post-1960s modern society — its consensus-less nature, its domination in large degree by strident relics of the counterculture who didn’t like America in the '60s and haven’t developed much warmer feelings about it since then.
The public schools I myself attended in the 1950s reflected a general sort of agreement as to what was good — e.g., America, the American tradition, the West, hard work, freedom…and God. Not God last of all; rather, as sort of a unitive element in our national deliberations and activities. We didn’t argue as much in those days as we argue now. I can tell you because I was there. It was nice. You needed no state boards of education to keep things nice. You certainly do now.
Americans, as anybody with one eye can see, no longer agree on the purposes of nation-hood, far less those of public education. We battle incessantly over those purposes, as the schools grow worse and worse: to the point some wonder, who cares, all the smart people are going to decamp anyway. Ironically, as the public schools extrude more and more of the best and brightest, liberals grow more and more jealous of their present ascendancy over the schools, less and less trustful of calls to strengthen curriculum and performance.
We’re not having down here in the Lone Star State and elsewhere an argument about church-state separation so much as we’re going through a family feud over the meaning of the new America — including the vital question, does it need and should it have a new meaning?
My fellow morons and yahoos in Texas, to extrapolate from returns in most, not all, state school board elections, find the old values, the old principles still worthy of respect and observance. Not so the liberals among us, who claim offense at the idea that public schools should operate in any sense along the lines of 50 years ago. Maybe they’re right. Even then the schools were far from ideal. Do we improve them, all the same, by belching fire and vengeance when conservatives say, wait, hold on, let’s have a little balance in how we present the story of all our lives?
Testy, testy, these liberals who appear to hope all conservatives would just quit the public schools entirely if they don’t like what goes on there. Maybe some day they’ll get their wish.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?