Lone Star State To Make Drastic Changes to Textbooks

ERICA RATHER
Editorial Editor

Arizona can finally relax since the controversy and focus has moved to Texas, who’s State Board of Education (SBOE)  voted in favor of changing textbook curriculum in social studies last Friday.

The right-wing changes, voted on by all of the board’s Republican members, include calling the United States a “constitutional republic” rather than a “democratic” country, teaching about the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, rather than teaching about Thomas Jefferson and, therefore, keeping out “separation of church and state,” as well as various other alterations.

Controversy has continued to follow the issue as, “conservatives say the Texas history curriculum has been unfairly skewed to the left after years of Democrats controlling the board,” according to the Associated Press. “Democrats and a moderate Republican accused conservatives on the board of trying to stir up a needless controversy by using the president’s full name, Barack Hussein Obama, saying his middle name was loaded with negative connotation.”

Outside of the SBOE and away from the immediate drama, many are concerned about Texas’ overall decision to redirect focus on particular historic facts and others are troubled after considering Texas’ powerful nationwide influence on textbooks. Since Texas is one of the three largest buyers of textbooks in the U.S., along with Florida and California, its texts may eventually be distributed to other states and schools.

What’s happened has happened, and the truth is that history cannot be changed.

That’s the real truth, anyway, but the sad truth is that U.S. history has been and remained primarily Anglo-American based, despite the presence and growing number of different cultures within the country.

Texas has the authority to add and delete context in its textbooks, but that aspect doesn’t take into account whether or not doing so is correct. Besides that, the biggest plea by the opposition is asking Texas to just teach what’s happened.

As mentioned in past editorials, The Pioneer thinks sensitivity towards other cultures is a key factor when looking at controversial issues.

Also, we think that rewriting history towards a more right-winged way of thinking, after complaining about a supposed left-winged history curriculum, is hypocritical. If anything, it would make more sense to rewrite the history books in order to create a more neutral standpoint.

The Pioneer also believes that Texas’ decision wasn’t fairly represented, especially since a majority of the board is Republican and a majority is also white. We think issues having to do with subjects such as race, class, gender or any other distinguishing factor should be equally represented in order to come to a fair verdict.