Live-Blogging the Social Studies Debate II

8:45 – We’re back for the rest of this long evening…

8:56 – Barbara Cargill wants a standard in the Grade 6 world cultures class that requires students to learn about the “importance of morality and ethics” for a well-functioning capitalistic economy. The motion passes.

9:01 – The board continues its tedious plodding through the standards, and board members have yet to get to the courses in which we’re likely to see the most controversy — middle and high school history and government.

9:09 – This is just ignorant. Terri Leo wants to change a standard about holidays in major world religions (in a world cultures class for Grade 6) so that the holidays noted are mostly Christian and Jewish (and one Islamic) without any mentions of holidays from Hinduism and other holidays. One more time: this is a WORLD CULTURES class. Does this board realize how many people around the world are Hindus? Do they realize there are religions other than Christianity and Jewish? Of course they do. But some board members simply don’t care. Leo’s proposal goes down in flames, as it should. (Pat Hardy, who voted no, offers a clearly heard “Halleluja”!

9:20 – Ken Mercer is offering amendments designed to persuade students that government regulation and taxation are bad for the economy. And his suggestions are passing.

9:22 – Mercer wants students to learn reasons for limiting the power of government The board is venturing more and more into ideological dogma, not education.

9:49 – Now the board is debating whether cotton production is a form of farming and whether cotton should have its own mention in the standards for the Texas history class. Sigh.

10:05 – The board has moved on to Grade 8 U.S. history through Reconstruction.

10:06 – The list of names board members are adding to the standards is becoming almost impossibly long. Do they have any idea how textbooks are written? Or how much time teachers have? Or, for that matter, how many specific facts students can digest? Some board members complained yesterday that the public schools should make history more interesting and exciting to students, yet they are making it far harder for teachers to do that.

10:15 – Good heavens. Terri Leo wants the Grade 8 course to specifically mention the Louisiana Purchase because she thinks a standard calling on students to “identify areas that were acquired to form the United States” might not lead them to study about that massive addition to U.S. territory. Really.

10:26 – Barbara Cargill wants eighth graders to analyze the ideas in Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address as president of the Confederacy. Why? (Her proposal passes.)

10:38 – The board has voted to adjourn after the completion of consideration of amendments to the Grade 8 standards. The board will take up  debate and amendments for high school courses in the morning.

10:40 – Cynthia Dunbar arrived about two hours ago.

10:42 – The board has adjourned until tomorrow at 9. Discussion (and our blogging) on the standards will resume probably around 9:30 a.m.

13 thoughts on “Live-Blogging the Social Studies Debate II

  1. 9:22 – Mercer wants students to learn reasons for limiting the power of government The board is venturing more and more into ideological dogma, not education.

    One reason would be to keep ignorant elected politicians from injecting biased political ideology and religious fundamentalism into public education thus depriving our kids of a real education.

    We would all be better off if the power of the SBOE was limited…very limited.

  2. Terri Leo’s notion that consequences don’t include benefits just goes to show you that you don’t have to be literate to dictate rules of education. That’s the kind of vocabulary that I got tested on in the high school admission exam, how does she not understand the concept? More importantly how does someone with such a poor grasp of the English language get to sit on the SBOE? Do her constituents not care that the woman is nearly illiterate?

  3. I think McL is wrong where he (SBOE, actually) added “building a military” to the problems faced by leaders of the new republic. The TEK already said “such as maintaining national security,” and if I’m not mistaken, at the time period addressed in this TEK, it was still the founders’ intention to NOT have a standing army (which of course is why they needed those “well-regulated militias” provided for in the Second Amendment).

  4. It’s too bad they didn’t get through the HS TEKS before Dunbar got there. They’ll probably give her more leeway in the Committee of the Full Board than if she didn’t show up until the Second Reading in the Board Meeting itself.

    I’ve grown to respect her savvy & intelligence. I feel like I’ve been listening to a pretty clueless bunch for the last two days, and now there’s someone there who understands what’s going on, and will know how to do her business with the standards.

  5. Man oh man oh man. It looks as if I missed all of the real fireworks on social studies. My wife needed to use the computer, so I went away to check on the Haiti situation.

    CNN has good coverage. On Fox, I was shocked to see Bill O’Reilly developing this argument that every dime we have ever sent to Haiti in the past was wasted and did no real or lasting good—ergo—why are we helping Haiti now? Well, that’s what it seemed like to me. Earlier in the evening, I had imagined that someone on the radical right might start inching in that direction (along with the famous we can’t afford it whine), but I said, “Nah. Not possible. Not even those Fox guys are that heartless and stupid.” Live and learn.

    I wonder if the SBOE will mention Haiti anywhere in the social studies discussion? I noticed that Pat Robertson has appointed himself as God’s Press Secretary again. He made another one of his famous announcements today. He says the Haitian people made an official deal with Satan in the early history of Haiti. If Satan would kick the French colonials out of Haiti, the population of the island nation would give themselves to Satan in gratitude. Pat says that the 7.0 earthquake was a specific punishment sent by God to pay the Haitian people back for making that deal.

    If word gets to Haiti, maybe the displaced population will spend a lot of their spare suffering time making Pat Robertson voodoo dolls and maybe wile away the lonely hours in the streets by sticking pins in them. Can you say, “Marie. Marie. Mahoodoo, Oh!!!”

    Has the whole world gone crazy, or is it just me?

  6. After a while it gets to the point that who gives a f****** rat’s a**?


    Let’s vote Cheetos as the Texas State fruit.

    All in favor? Ayeeeeee!

    Mary Kay would have been voted in governor except the Taco Bell dog stole her votes.

    All in favor? Ayeeeeee!

    I say if we’re going to vote STUPID let’s vote TEXAS STYLE STUPID!!

  7. Charles,

    It’s not just you.

    First, if you have time tonight, catch or record the reruns of Keith Olbermann’s show on MSNBC, for his “mini-comment” on Rush Limbaugh on Haiti. Keith concludes with how EVERYBODY else — including Fox, Hannity, WorldNut, etc., has links for contributing to Haiti, while Limbaugh is urging his ditto-heads to NOT contribute.

    As for word getting to Haiti, check the clip from Rachel Maddow’s Wed night show (I assume there’s a clip — but if not there will be a transcript) with her interviewing a former Haitian ambassador. She ends up trying to apologize as an American for Pat Robertson.

    Actually, that interview is extremely relevant for social studies standards. The Haitian ambassador pointed out that without the Haitian slave revolt — which is what Robertson characterized as demonic — we could not have made the Louisiana Purchase, nor gotten away with the Monroe Doctrine. Hey! There’s still time for SBOE to get those facts “included” in the Texas standards!

    Anyway, you have not missed the fireworks. They have not yet started on the High School TEKS, and now Dunbar is back.

    Just to clarify why TFN won’t start till 9:30, although the Board will begin at 9:00: it’s not because they’re lazy, it’s because the Friday meetings start with performance by TX HS music groups, awards presentations, etc. They never get back to business before 9:30 on friday.

    There are so many ways that time could have been better managed this week. The worst “consequence” is that Dunbar’s back in time to do the greatest mischief.

    As for Dufresne’s comment:

    … how does someone with such a poor grasp of the English language get to sit on the SBOE? Do her constituents not care that the woman is nearly illiterate?

    the more astonishing thing is that it’s not just she, but the entire Board that passed those ammendments (at least 3, I think) from her, with nobody seeing the illiteracy that they inscribe into the standards.

    For my part, since I don’t see any chance of getting better standards from this bunch, I’m happy to let them go ahead and make them as laughable on their face as they are willing to do.

    And stupid stuff from Leo is nothing new. See