Live-Blogging the Social Studies Debate II

by TFN

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.

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