by Kate Monteiro
Two of the most popular bromides about history: “History is written by the victors” and “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it” came crashing together for me this morning when I read the Texas Tribune’s article “Hijacking History” about the Texas State Board of Education’s “hammering out” the version of American history that will be taught to high school students across the country for the next 10 or 20 years.
For those of you who don’t know much about the textbook markets, the centralized curriculum decisions of the Texas State Board of Education – a market of 4.7 million textbooks – is in essence the tail that wags the dog. Your textbook has to fit the Texas curriculum or it doesn’t get published for use anywhere else. Texas determines what gets put in your child’s textbook.
So why’s that a problem? Whatever your political bent, and I’m not delusional enough to think that my Dartmouth classmates have changed all that much in the last 25 years, as an educated American you should be very worried about this process. Among the details of the process? Appointees to the committees writing curriculum (not just in History, but in 16 other areas as well) need not have any expertise in either the subject area or education. All recommendations of the committees are reviewed by panels of six “expert reviewers”. In the case of the history panel, 2 of the 6 were evangelists with no training in history or education.
Why post something here? Because it’s our responsibility. Our Dartmouth education comes with strings you know. We can not abandon the education of our children and the future of our republic to the misinformation, the intentional denigration of knowledge and learning and the imposition of particular sectarian religious viewpoints.
Just because you don’t live in Texas, doesn’t mean you can ignore what happens there.