Getting in Touch with ‘Their Inner Children’

The political jousting between Bill White and Rick Perry over the Texas State Board of Education‘s controversial revision of social studies curriculum standards is legitimate in the electoral arena. It’s certainly preferable to dragging political agendas into our children’s classrooms, which the state board has been doing during the curriculum revision. But what the Republican Party of Texas did this week is shameful.

Yesterday the Texas GOP attacked members of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and other lawmakers for holding a public hearing about the state board on Wednesday. At the hearing, members of MALC, the Legislative Study Group, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and the Senate Hispanic Caucus were sharply critical of board members who have tossed aside the expertise of classroom teachers and scholars in their attempts to rewrite history and use our children’s classrooms to promote personal and political agendas.

Rather than address what the state board is doing, however, Texas GOP officials chose to smear those legislators and attack their motives. In a deeply disingenuous press release, party spokesman Bryan Preston charged that the hearing was politically motivated and even illegitimate because it wasn’t hosted by a formal legislative committee:

“If MALC wants to get in touch with their inner children, play dress up and have a pretend committee hearing, I’m sure they can rent a community center somewhere and have themselves a ball.”

“Their inner children”? “Play dress up”? Preston should be ashamed of himself for such demeaning comments about elected officials who have serious concerns about a state board that is undermining the education of nearly 5 million Texas schoolchildren.

The Legislature determines what authority the board has over curriculum standards and textbooks. It also decides how much money to spend on textbooks and other instructional materials. If Republican-controlled legislative committees don’t look into the growing controversy surrounding the state board and its work, other legislators are not obligated to sit on their hands. In fact, they have a responsibility not to do so.

To his credit, Education Commissioner Robert Scott – a political appointee of Republican Gov. Perry – had the courtesy to speak at the hearing. We may not have agreed with all the points he made, but he listened to and addressed the legitimate concerns of the lawmakers at the hearing. Legislators also heard extended comments from a Republican candidate for the state board, Thomas Ratliff. Unfortunately, Gail Lowe, the state board’s Republican chair, flatly rejected an invitation to speak at the hearing. But the Texas GOP ignored all that as well as the real concerns surrounding the board’s work.

So does the Republican Party of Texas support the board’s decision not to require that world history students learn that Thomas Jefferson has inspired people around the world in their struggles for freedom? Does the party approve of the board’s refusal to teach students that the Founders protected religious freedom by barring government from promoting or disfavoring one religion over all others? Is it okay with removing the concepts of justice and responsibility for the common good from standards on the characteristics of good citizenship? Does the party have a problem with state board members who suggest that women and minorities who struggled over decades for equal and civil rights owe thanks to men and “the majority” who finally got around to extending those rights (and in some cases did so only after the courts forced them to)?

Does the party approve of the board’s demonstrated contempt for experts, established processes and transparency? Does it support the board’s decision to cut off public testimony when scores of people — including military veterans — who had traveled to Austin were still waiting to speak at a hearing about their concerns regarding the social studies standards? And what does the party think about board members who have openly expressed their opposition to public education altogether?

The Republican Party of Texas answered none of those questions in its press release. It chose instead to smear the motives of legislators who are tired of seeing the State Board of Education politicize and undermine the education of our public school students. That’s shameful.

8 thoughts on “Getting in Touch with ‘Their Inner Children’

  1. What? Why are you guys so worked up? It’s as if you expected better of the Republican Party. This sort of behavior is the norm these days.

  2. Such contempt of expertise is contemptible. Everyone knows that expertise counts more in the ballot box than ignorance per se. Such “inner child” hogwash is pure holistic claptrap unlike faith healing which is documentable in the Bible.

  3. Now. I was thinking about this just the other day. If a hopeless liberal like me was thinking about this, I feel sure it must have crossed the minds in the Texas Republican Party, the Tea Party, and the Religious Right subscribers on the Texas SBOE. Did you know that a whole kind or type of human being is about to disappear from the Earth—forever? Have you really thought about that?

    From the Christian fundamentalists, we are aware of the literally understand story of Adam and Eve (supposedly the first two humans) and their descendants—like Noah. We do not know the genetic characteristics of Noah and his wife. However, the fundies have postulated that their offspring were mongoloid, negroid, and caucasoid (Hands off that mouse Dan Quinn because these are formal technical terms that are still used in physical anthropology today). Of course, with regard to the fundies and evolution, this raises some issues. For example, if you seriously think (as they apparently do) that a squirrel can go to bed tonight and wake up with duck feet the next morning, it is not much of a leap to believe that two probably caucasoid Middle Eastern parents had black, white, and yellow children. Of course, when the American Indians were discovered, the Catholic Church in Europe went fairly well berserk trying to figure how the red kid originated, and they appointed a high-level committee to look into the matter and report back. Did Noah have another colored child we were not told about in the Bible?

    The last time I looked into the matter 40 years ago, physical anthropologists had agreed that the various racial characteristics were unique regional evolutionary adaptations to sunlight and other such things. What is the scientific story today? I do not know. But it does not really matter. The jig is up for the white man.

    Yes my friend, it is true. There is no denying it. White caucasoid people are currently being bred out of existence, especially right here in the USA. I feel sure you will remember the Time Magazine cover story about this issue 15 or so years ago. They basically said that if current trends continue the way they are, which seems to be the case, white people as we know them now will be gone sometime not awfully long after 2050. The United States will soon be inhabited by a cross-bred populationwith olive-colored skin and dark hair—arguably a whole new kind of human being. What’s more, there is virtually nothing we can do about it—so they say.

    Now, stop and let that sink in for just a minute. People who look like Thomas Jefferson or Don McLeroy will have disappeared from the United States just like that dwarf owl in the way of timber cutting is disappearing in the Oregon forests. Gone forever like the Thylacine. There will no longer be anyone who looks remotely like Marilyn Monroe. There will be no more blonde jokes because there will be no more blondes. People like me will be gone. People like you will be gone. People will have to go to a dusty old book or a museum to see what a “white person” looked like in the old days. Kid thumbing through a dusty old book: “Gee mommy. Those white people in that photograph sure do look funny. I’ve never seen anything like that!!! Wow!!! There were really people who looked like that?” Blue eyes will be pretty much gone. Thin lips will be gone. Everyone will get a big, old, slobbery interacial kiss in the morning. Pucker up!!! Think about that deeply folks—especially all you white Texas Republicans, religious conservatives, and Tea Partiers out there in the Lone Star State. All you Southern Baptists join in too. Paige Patterson, Richard Land, and Judge Pressler. Think about it. A whole kind of human being. A whole variety of human being. A type of human being. Or if you prefer, a human subspecies will disappear from the lanscape of the United States forever. People who look like your grandkids? They will soon be toast.

    Think about it deeply. Think of the sheer depth and gravity of the loss. Feel the hollowness. Breathe deeply from the regret. How does it feel to be the last yellow canary in the last high-methane coal mine on Earth?

  4. White people won’t exist in the US in 2050? No way. Somebody will conjure up involuntary immigration laws or some such tom-foolery to force Swedes and Norwegians to come over. Fundies in Texas will suddenly decide that cloning white people is not only good, but mandatory. And there will be feverish activity in DNA and stem-cell research to figure out how to re-engineer the human genome to repopulate the white “race.” Pictures of the white, blond, blue-eyed Jesus will hang in every classroom and the KKK will dispense with their Republican robes and step forward to become the ruling (only) party of Texas. If all else fails, the Texas legislature will reach back through history and declare that anyone who has a single drop of white blood (or a single white gene in their DNA) is white by definition. All of those dark-skinned people will magically become legally white. The liberal Bible will be rewritten so that the descendants of Ham will no longer be black. Rather, they will be “blessed with a God-given ebony tan.”

  5. Such dire predictions of the disappearance of the Master Races are listless thinking. The declining birthrate of post industrial popularions of Japan, the USA and the EU has dropped in the last Century from 6 to 1.6 per couple if you exclude those of a darker flavor. The benefits of clean water and basic medicine have both extended overall lifespan and reduced the birthrate to under the theoretical number for sustained population growtn. Back in the day, it took eight kids to get two past puberty,

    The birthrate in underdeveloped parts of the world are dropping as well. The net global population will continue to grow for the next century but at radically lower rates. The 22nd Century is likely to see a net global delcine. The 21st Century will see dramatic drops in population in the US, Europe, parts of China, and Japan.

    Immigration into the indusrrialized nations is the primary source of population stabilization. If that hi-tech border is built, we will hear a large sucking noice as the border states depopulate.

    Likewise the female population becomes freed up from the primary routine of nursing eight kids in hope of getting two to survive to drivers license age, where fooling around must become mandatory to preserve the race. Eugenics will also be reborn through scientific gene splicing and cloning to preserve racial balance.

    It’s for the greater good.

  6. Please get this article into the newspapers of the state. Ordinary folks need to know what is going on.