Saturday, February 13, 2010

How Christian Were the Founders?

Montage by Carin Goldberg
Original Image: “‘Declaration of Independence,” by John Trumbull/The Bridgeman Art Library

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EXCERPT: LAST MONTH, A WEEK before the Senate seat of the liberal icon Edward M. Kennedy fell into Republican hands, his legacy suffered another blow that was perhaps just as damaging, if less noticed. It happened during what has become an annual spectacle in the culture wars.


Finally, the board considered an amendment to require students to evaluate the contributions of significant Americans. The names proposed included Thurgood Marshall, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy. All passed muster except Kennedy, who was voted down.

This is how history is made — or rather, how the hue and cry of the present and near past gets lodged into the long-term cultural memory or else is allowed to quietly fade into an inaudible whisper. Public education has always been a battleground between cultural forces; one reason that Texas’ school-board members find themselves at the very center of the battlefield is, not surprisingly, money. The state’s $22 billion education fund is among the largest educational endowments in the country. Texas uses some of that money to buy or distribute a staggering 48 million textbooks annually — which rather strongly inclines educational publishers to tailor their products to fit the standards dictated by the Lone Star State. California is the largest textbook market, but besides being bankrupt, it tends to be so specific about what kinds of information its students should learn that few other states follow its lead. Texas, on the other hand, was one of the first states to adopt statewide curriculum guidelines, back in 1998, and the guidelines it came up with (which are referred to as TEKS — pronounced “teaks” — for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) were clear, broad and inclusive enough that many other states used them as a model in devising their own. And while technology is changing things, textbooks — printed or online —are still the backbone of education.

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1 comment:

  1. article.aspx?subjectid=61&articleid= 20100213_61_A22_HueBlw909811 or

    Bible class

    by: World's Editorial Writers
    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    EXCERPT: But care must be taken in the study of the Bible. There are legitimate courses such as the Bible Literacy Project that offer a study guide and sets standards for such study. The Legislature must be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in choosing the right course of study. It also must ensure that the separation of church and state remains intact. Instructors must leave their religion at the door.


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