What's in the Proposed New Texas Textbooks? Taxes Are Bad for Society


This cartoon from Pearson Education’s Magruder’s American Government is an example of how Tea Party rhetoric shapes discussions on issues such as taxation and government regulation in proposed new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools. The same textbook includes this passage:

“In the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., taxes are ‘what we pay for civilized society.’ Society does not appear to be much more civilized today than it was when Justice Holmes made that observation in 1927. However, ‘what we pay’ has certainly gone up.”

Dr. Emile Lester, who reviewed the government textbooks publishers are proposing this year for Texas schools, explains what’s wrong with this passage in his report:

“The text neglects to mention that defenders of increased taxation for an expanded safety net would respond that programs adopted since 1927 such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act have produced such ‘civilized’ benefits as a drastic reduction of poverty and economic insecurity among the elderly, children, and the population at large, and improved and more equal access to health care.”

Right-wing politicians on the State Board of Education in Texas hoped for this kind of textbook content when they passed deeply flawed and politicized new curriculum standards for social studies classes in 2010. The new textbooks must cover those standards.

You can read more about the problems in the proposed new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools here: tfn.org/history. While you’re there, sign the petition calling for textbooks based on honest, accurate history, not the ideological beliefs of politicians on the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education is set to vote in November on which textbooks to approve.

2 thoughts on “What's in the Proposed New Texas Textbooks? Taxes Are Bad for Society

  1. I’ll mention this again. A Republican neighbor of mine, who is dead now, was absolutely bitter—let me emphasize that again: bitter. He was bitter as if the Islamic State had beheaded everyone in his entire family but him. What was he bitter about? He no longer had any children in our local public school system, and he was bitter that he was having to pay local taxes to support the school system. Never mind that other taxpayers had at one time paid taxes to send his daughter through that same public school system.

    On the day I die, I am going to do it with a smile on my face in the blessed assurance that I will no longer have to share breathing air with these people.

  2. P.S. Both he and his dead wife made it a point to tell me over and over and over again about how much they hated “n-words.”