Monday, January 11, 2010

Texas School Controversy: The Original Documents

Much has been written about the "three conservatives" [advocates David Barton and Rev. Peter Marshall along with an actual accredited historian, Daniel L. Dreisbach], in a Texas Death Cage Match against "three liberals" [all accredited professors, see below], about what should be taught in social studies and about American history in Texas schools.

Kewl. Let's get some popcorn.

Now, much of what has been written about all this is in the newspapers, and the truth has been the victim, since the papers favor the more sensational "culture wars" aspect. [Mostly, that the religionists Barton and Marshall are "out to lunch," or some variation thereof. Dog bites man.]

So, as is the estimable custom of this here American Creation blog, instead of taking the second-hand word of historians---or in this case newspaper reporters---we'll look at the original documents, and let the characters speak for themselves:

From the TEKS website, PDFs only:

Social Studies Expert Reviewers [all]

David Barton, President, WallBuilders
Review of Current Social Studies TEKS

Jesus Francisco de la Teja, Professor and Chair, Department of History, Texas State University
Review of Current Social Studies TEKS

Daniel L. Dreisbach, Professor, American University
Review of Current Social Studies TEKS

Lybeth Hodges, Professor, History, Texas Woman's University
Review of Current Social Studies TEKS

Jim Kracht, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Education and Human Development, Texas A&M University
Review of Current Social Studies TEKS

Peter Marshall, President, Peter Marshall Ministries
Review of Current Social Studies TEKS

Have at them, fair and square. Marquess de Queensbury. But, please, no nukes.

I certainly don't like defending Barton and Marshall because they err a bit, and tellya the truth, I think Dreisbach overplays the Calvinist depravity angle.

On the other side, Jesús Francisco de la Teja seemed solely concerned with getting more figures with Hispanic surnames into the mix. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Just because he has a clear agenda doesn't mean he's wrong.

The other two "liberals," Hodges and Kracht, basically defend the current curriculum as dandy; however, Kracht noted that the teaching of history should have an "ideological neutrality."

Well, who could argue with that? Well, me, and here's why:

Hey, I strenuously object to revisionism regardless of its ideology. I think the "religious" case for the Founding is strong; the "biblical" of Rev. Marshall, not so much; but secular "neutrality's," not at all.

Now, do read the original documents for yourself. That's how we do it around here, and that's the real point of this post.

But the question in question is precisely whether the current curriculum is indeed "neutral," or if it's been purged of necessary historical facts about religion and the Founding.

Which is the secular academy's concept of "neutral." Form meets function. And that's what the activists Barton and Marshall are objecting to in the first place, that once you scrub the Founding clean of God and religion in the name of "neutrality," what you're teaching is an ideology of its own, and not the history of the Founding atall, atall.

And that's what this Texas dispute is about, as I see it. Not so much Fact A vs. Fact B, but how we as a nation must approach our history. And that's what this li'l blog is all about, eh?

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