Another sign that the social studies textbook adoption in Texas this year is going to be messy: A political activist who helped write new curriculum standards for the state’s public schools in 2009 is insisting that new textbooks under consideration this year should promote his revisionist views on issues such as slavery and the Civil War, the civil rights movement and church-state separation.

North Texas activist Bill Ames insisted in 2009 that the state’s previous social studies curriculum standards included an “overrepresentation of minorities” and had a leftist bias. He then served throughout the rest of the year on a state panel charged with drafting new curriculum standards for the high school U.S. history course. Don McLeroy, R-College Station, a State Board of Education (SBOE) member at the time, had insisted that the Texas Education Agency place Ames on the curriculum panel.

Although fellow curriculum panel members appear to have rejected many of Ames’ demands as they drafted the new standards, Ames was pleased when SBOE members heavily revised the draft document. He now praises the state’s social studies standards, but even the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute has called the state’s U.S. history standards a

For reasons unknown, the conservative website Texas Insider insists on publishing the rants of a race-obsessed, right-wing activist. The newest rant from Bill Ames, who has criticized what he sees as an “overrepresentation of minorities” in social studies curriculum standards, once again claims that “leftists” hate America. And it’s predictably filled with ridiculous mistruths.

In his attempts to demonize Michelle Obama, for example, Ames charges that the First Lady once “once proclaimed that she had been ‘Ashamed of America her entire adult life.'” That’s not true, of course, but truth hardly matters in a hate-filled rant.

Former Texas State Board of Education chairman Don McLeroy appointed Ames to a team helping rewrite social studies curriculum standards for public schools in 2009. That adventure appears to have confirmed for Ames that “leftists” are out to destroy America by corrupting the education of our youth. So his newest Texas Insider screed lists “Communism’s goals to destroy the United States” alongside what he says the curriculum teams did (or tried to do) during the social studies revision. Some examples:

Communist goal #22:  Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression.

Review panel:  My… Read More

A screed published Friday on a San Antonio Express-News blog provides a good example of why it's a bad idea to turn over to political activists decisions about what our kids learn in their public schools. In his post, Bill Ames lashes out at critics of the heavily politicized new social studies curriculum standards the State Board of Education approved for Texas public schools last year. Then-board member Don McLeroy insisted that the Texas Education Agency appoint Ames to the curriculum team drafting the high school U.S. history standards in 2009. Ames' angry words Friday reflect standard -- and absurdly misguided -- right-wing hysteria about "leftists" supposedly distorting what kids learn in their public schools. But they also reveal a disturbing resentment about race issues in American history. Read More

Bill Ames, appointed by Texas State Board of Education member Don McLeroy to a social studies curriculum writing team, has commented on our post about the relevance of abortion politics to the state board. We are reposting Mr. Ames’ comment here in its entirety:

I will explain exactly what abortion politics have to do with the SBOE.

In 2004, the SBOE adopted an abstinence-based sex education curriculum, in accordinance with the state education code.

Planned Parenthood was a substantial lobbyist for the anti-abstinence sex education curriculum demanded by TFN and other members of the education political lobby.

Planned Parenthood requires thousands of sexually active teens in Texas in order to keep its abortion mills profitably humming along.

Thus it supported the curriculum proposal that encourages teen sexual activity.

Abortion politics has lots to do with the SBOE………

So there you have it. According to Mr. Ames, people who oppose abstinence-only programs that keep students ignorant about how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are simply trying to drum up profits for Planned Parenthood’s “abortion mills.”

The importance of rescuing the education of Texas schoolchildren from that kind of political hysteria and extremism… Read More

We have seen a series of stories in the last few days about the coming debate at the State Board of Education this week on proposed new social studies curriculum standards in Texas public schools. The Austin American-Statesman yesterday looked at efforts by conservative evangelicals to require that students learn that the United States was founded as a Christian nation based on biblical principles. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also previewed this week's meeting here. But one of the best overviews of the looming fight comes in the Texas Tribune today. The piece offers an excellent examination of the right-wing political extremism that has infected the curriculum revision process and who is behind it. (Go ahead. Guess.)…… Read More