Education continues to be a major battleground in the religious right’s culture wars. If they’re not trying to destroy public education, religious righters are trying to use it instead to indoctrinate students in right-wing ideology. Here’s some of what we heard from the right on this issue in 2015. (Click here for previous posts on what we heard from the right in 2015.)
“We have a monstrosity, a monopoly. It’s called public school.”
– Texas state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, explaining her support for voucher legislation that would shift public funding to private and religious schools.
“(W)e are experimenting at great cost to taxpayers with a program that removes our young children from homes and half-day religious preschools and mothers’ day out programs to a Godless environment…”
– In a letter from Tea Party activists on Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s special “Grassroots Advisory Board,” arguing that proposed legislation for pre-K classes would lead Texas kids to Godless socialism.
“Could the IB program in an American public school classroom be at the heart of America’s continuing move to the left?
– MerryLynn Gerstenschlager of Texas Eagle Forum, worrying that the widely respected International Baccalaureate educational program is turning Texans into leftists.
“The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”
– From a caption in a geography textbook discussion about how migration led to a diverse population in the United States. An African-American student in Houston and his mother noted the offensiveness of portraying enslaved Africans forcibly brought to the Americas as simply workers. Their discovery of the passage fueled suspicions that the Texas State Board of Education’s far-right members had pressured publishers into white-washing the history of slavery in America. (Some board members have argued that slavery was a “side issue” in causing the Civil War.) McGraw-Hill apologized and said it would correct the caption.
“This English class is really a year-long undermining of American values,”
– Meg Bakich, a mother of five, objecting to the inclusion of the book The Working Poor: Invisible in America, in an Advanced Placement English class for college-level high school juniors in Highland Park, one of the wealthiest school districts in the country. Bakich called the book, which is by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David K. Shipler, “socialist” and “Marxist.”