Texas Isn't the Only State Where the Right Is Pushing Indoctrination Instead of Education in Public Schools

Members of the Texas State Board of Education aren’t the only politicians pushing the national campaign to turn public schools into tools for indoctrinating students with right-wing ideology. A columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel looks at how that campaign is unfolding in other states.

In Florida, for example, lawmakers are pushing a bill that would require high school students to watch a film about America written by and starring conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza is the author of numerous diatribes — in columns, books and film — that essentially describe President Obama as a Marxist out to destroy America.

Even fellow conservatives have labeled these claims by D’Souza as ridiculous. But now some Florida lawmakers want to force students in their state to watch a film from the same incendiary propagandist. (D’Souza, by the way, is also a law-breaker. He was fined and sentenced to eight months in a community confinement center last September after admitting that he deliberately violated U.S. campaign finance law.)

The Sun-Sentinel columnist, Rhonda Swan, explains how those Florida lawmakers are tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). That right-wing group has in other states been pushing similar legislation that would require students to learn a sanitized and distorted version of American history. Here’s how Swan describes one part of the campaign:

[ALEC] wrote the Founding Principles Act, a bill the North Carolina legislature passed that requires high school students to pass a course on the founding principles of government. Earlier this month, North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction made a proposal to “highly recommend” the curriculum include material from the Bill of Rights Institute. The conservative Koch family, billionaires who finance an extensive political network, fund the institute.

Criticism of the institute’s social studies material mirrors that of the [D’Souza] movie: they seek to sanitize American history, downplaying the negative consequences of capitalism and the country’s mistreatment of people of color and the poor.

“D’Souza gives the impression,” Variety said in its movie review, “of someone obsessed with whitewashing any and all dark chapters in U.S. history books.”

It’s as if conservatives can’t handle the truth.

Swan also notes the textbook battles at the Texas State Board of Education, and she explains why the right-wing campaign to politicize public education is dangerous:

Students go to school to learn how to think for themselves. They do that by learning the facts — good and bad. Not by getting a partisan spin — liberal, conservative or otherwise — on those facts.

There is a reason educators, not politicians, design curricula. Lawmakers should leave the teaching to the experts.

If only it were true that politicians weren’t in the business of designing curricula. We’ve seen politicians on the State Board of Education rewrite curriculum standards for Texas public schools and then pressure publishers to make sure their textbooks conform to those politicized standards. That’s why we now have history textbooks that teach Texas students how Moses was a major influence on the writing of the U.S. Constitution — even though scholars across the country have denounced such a claim as nonsense.

You can read Swan’s column here.

2 thoughts on “Texas Isn't the Only State Where the Right Is Pushing Indoctrination Instead of Education in Public Schools

  1. Oh yes indeed. The president is a Marxist and is trying to destroy the nation.

    What a CROCK! According to several historians, President Obama will go down in history as well as FDR and President Truman.

    He is as far away from Marxism as the north pole is from the south pole. The gun nuts have kept slamming him because he is going to take away our guns. Nope! He signed into law that guns can be taken into our national parks and on trains. Is that the way to destroy a nation or to make it stronger?
    The “birthers” conveniently forget the FACT that even if he was born in Timbuktu, he would STILL be a natural born American because his mother was an American citizen. Plus the fact is that he was born in Hawaii, a state in the U.S.A.
    If he is not a natural born American than neither is McCain or Cruz. McCain was born in Panama and Cruz was born in Canada.
    I do not agree with everything that the president has done nor have I agreed with everything that former presidents have done. If ANYONE was trying to destroy this country that “honor” goes to George W. Bush who attacked two countries that had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Saudi Arabia should have been pointed out as the country that destroyed our faith in America.
    Bush did not even think of attacking the Saudis as he is friends with them as is his father. Bush kisses the people that murdered over three thousand American lives. I don’t know how many non-Americans were murdered that day but I do know that Muslims celebrated in the streets of NEW YORK! Disgusting!!
    The “Palestinians” celebrated in Gaza as did Muslims around the world. They celebrate death, not life.
    President Obama has achieved more of which the average American is aware. He WILL go down as one of the best presidents we’ve ever had and that fact is not up for argument.

  2. Students go to school to learn how to think for themselves.

    Not according to the Texas GOP platform a few years ago. Exactly the opposite.