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Posted by on Mar 13, 2010 in Education | 60 comments

Texas Board of Education: Making Their Own History

After months of wrangling, and highlighted by several days of acrimonious debate and political stupidity, the Texas State Board of Education passed a new set of curriculum standards yesterday.

There are… um… some problems.

The standard for studying the Age of Enlightenment, for example, will no longer include Thomas Jefferson. Lucky young Texans will instead include the philosophical contributions of Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. (Eh?) From a liveblog at Texas Freedom Network:

9:45 – Here’s the amendment Dunbar changed: “explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.” Here’s Dunbar’s replacement standard, which passed: “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.” Not only does Dunbar’s amendment completely change the thrust of the standard. It also appalling drops one of the most influential political philosophers in American history — Thomas Jefferson.

The Board also “rejected lessons about why the United States was founded on the principle of religious freedom”, while adding “references to “laws of nature and nature’s God” in lessons about major political ideas”. Students must study,

The strong Judeo-Christian influences on the nation’s Founding Fathers, but there will be no coverage of the Bill of Rights “Establishment Clause” that was used to outlaw school-sponsored prayer and affirm separation of church and state in the U.S.

There were heated debates (and walk-outs) on subjects as wide-ranging as memorizing who died at the Alamo based on ancestry, to whether standards should include the cultural influence of hip-hop (they already learn about the Beat Generation). And there were some real jaw-droppers as well:

References to Ralph Nader and Ross Perot are proposed to be removed, while Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate general, is to be listed as a role model for effective leadership, and the ideas in Jefferson Davis’s inaugural address are to be laid side by side with Abraham Lincoln’s speeches.

Also: did you know that capitalism is a bad word? Apparently it is here in Texas. I had no idea — but luckily the young folks here will be saved from any degradation; that dirty word will be replaced with “free enterprise”.

Sigh… Since my Adorable Child will be entering high school next year, our impending relocation out of Texas seems all the more timely.

Not everything, however, is necessarily incorrect. Here’s one change, for example, that strikes me as worth discussion. From USA Today:

• [The Board] Struck the word “democratic” in references to the form of U.S. government and replaced it with “constitutional republic.”

Here’s how Wikipedia defines Constitutional Republic:

A constitutional republic is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government‘s power over citizens.

In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power.

That sounds just like the US to me, but the nature of our government is often described somewhat differently — usually as a democracy — and that’s a tad misleading. Clarifying with “representative democracy” is better (but I rarely see that).

Myself, I think Texas’ new standard is correct. What say you?

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  • vey9

    Thomas Jefferson is being written out of history. It’s the Sally Hemmings thing.
    Recently, I visited a middle school that was named Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Their mascot is “The Statesmen”, but things have changed over the years. Take a look:

    • Seriously? You think it’s because of Sally Hemmings? How bizarre!!

    • superdestroyer

      I wonder what they teach about Thomas Jefferson at inner-city all black schools. Probably that Jefferson was a slave holder and that Jefferson father a child with Sally Hemmings.

      The left would have more credibility complaining about textbooks and fake history if they complained about the left as much as they complained about the right.

      • jeainnj

        Agreed. But he also wrote the Declaration of Independence and VA’s Constitution on which the US’s is based. So to exclude him is ridiculous.

        • vey9

          Don’t forget “All men are created equal.”

          So why do think school administrators would change the name of a school and use a Kentucky Colonel as a mascot? Jefferson Davis?

      • Ah, superdestroyer, it just wouldn’t be a TMV thread without your constant racism, would it?

  • vey9


  • merkin

    I think it is reasonable when teaching about Thomas Jefferson or any of the slave owning Founding Fathers to point out that they were the product of their times, of the 18th century thinking. Considering that they were amazingly progressive.

    When talking about the Texas State School Board it is not unreasonable to point out that they seem to want their children to also be a product of 18th century thinking without Jefferson’s progressive ideas. And that makes them sad. And not qualified to have anything to do with educating children.

  • $199537

    This is an example of the kind of stuff (among several other issues) that led me to leave the GOP several years ago – imposing religious and philosophical dogma where it has no place. I don’t see the problem with the term “constitutional republic” though, it seems pretty accurate.

    • superdestroyer

      How comes I never read one person say that they left the Democratic Party because of Ebonics, or multi-multiculturalism, or political correctness.

      You are reinforcing the problem that the Republicans have in that all Republicans are responsible for the action of any single Republicans but Democrats are never responsible for the actions of other Democrats. Sen. Larry Craig is constantly used as an example that Republicans are perverts but people have already forgotten that Massa (a serial sexual harassers is a Democrat.

      • $199537

        How comes I never read one person say that they left the Democratic Party because of Ebonics, or multi-multiculturalism, or political correctness.

        You’d have to ask a former Democrat I guess. I certainly have no interest in joining the Democrats.

  • I’m curious as to how many of the board members are actually qualified to teach, and/or have ever stepped foot into a classroom other than their time as children?

  • merkin

    I am sorry, I think it is impolite to respond to a thread without answering a direct question asked in it. It helps to get us out of the grinding personal axe problem where we try to bend every thread into what we want to talk about.

    “Myself, I think Texas’ new standard is correct. What say you?”

    I think it is wrong and potentially even a bit dangerous. One of the techniques of propaganda is to re-define words to make discussions involving that word automatically biased. You can see a successful use of that technique in these discussions with the derogatory use of the word ‘liberal’.

    There was an attempt to do the same with the word ‘democracy’. Not to give it a derogatory meaning but to reduce its scope. But Americans have been taught the meaning of democracy and even if they can’t quote a definition they feel they know what it means and it is something good. And in our brave new world feelings are more important than facts or logic.

    Failing to re-define the word the new thrust seems to be to disassociate it from the American form of government and more importantly from the United States federal government itself. Which as we all have been told repeatedly is evil and bad and not to be trusted. So we are given these terms like ‘constitutional republic’ which are procedural or organizational in nature to disassociate the more idealistic democracy with its messy equal rights for all and power vested in the people from being a goal of the government. Once this is accomplished it is a simple matter to redefine the organization in any way you want.

    And who would want to do this you might ask? Anyone who fears democracy.

    “Democracy — government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” —

    • LSullyR


      You really think that is what is going on in DC, merkin? Really. they only listen to the annoying people if they are up for election in a few months. You think that they derive their power from the people, yet, they threaten to change the rules to enact health care reform that the majority of the people do not want.

      This country has never been a full, true or direct democracy. A Representative Democracy is much closer, but I don’t have a problem with the new term either. I also don’t have a problem adding Calvin, but I do not like taking Jefferson out. There is nothing wrong with the kids being presented with all sides and points of view and allow them to make up their own minds. However, politicians, teachers and boards of education gave up on that principle a long time ago–as did our media. No one in public presents facts and multiple sides of the argument anymore. They only present distortions that support their own personal agenda. This is not a GOP problem, it is a human problem and has been for some time now. Neither side of the aisle is immune to it!

  • Leonidas

    Was reading about this and there was at leat one good decisions as well, not having rap included on a ” list of influential musical and cultural movements” that democratic members of the board were supporting.

    • kathykattenburg

      I don’t know if it was rap. Polimom said it was hip-hop. The two are not the same. Not that rap hasn’t also been very influential on contemporary American culture, but I think it’s telling that rap and hip-hop — two completely different musical styles within the larger genre of African-American-influenced music — are the same thing to you.

  • Leonidas

    Fox news, not unexpectedly took a diferent tone on the School Board.

    An unelected review panel, not the elected members of Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), attempted to push through a number of highly questionable changes to the standards – removing Independence Day, Neil Armstrong, Daniel Boone, and Christopher Columbus – from them. They even dumped Christmas and replaced it with Diwali. You can’t make this stuff up! After a huge outcry from citizens and strong leadership by conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education, each of these changes was reversed.

    Sadly, the attacks didn’t stop there. Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were removed from World History, yet Mary Kay and Wallace Amos (of Famous Amos Cookies) were added, it appears, for more “diversity.” That’s unbelievable. Edison is the greatest inventor in American history with over 1,000 patents; oh, and by the way, that Einstein guy was pretty successful too!

    I agree with the school board on the above, but Thomas Jefferson should be left in, if he actually is not required. I wonder if he is required but under a different section than the Age of Enlightenment. Anyone got a link to the whole list of requirements? I would guess he can actually be found in there and that this drop isn’t so much an issue as its being blown up into. I could of course be wrong in my guess, but lets see a list.

    • LSullyR

      “I agree with the school board on the above, but Thomas Jefferson should be left in, if he actually is not required. I wonder if he is required but under a different section than the Age of Enlightenment. Anyone got a link to the whole list of requirements? I would guess he can actually be found in there and that this drop isn’t so much an issue as its being blown up into. I could of course be wrong in my guess, but lets see a list.”

      I believe we have a winner. People are concentrating on the section that he was removed from, thinking they are no longer going to teach Jefferson. Again, an example of our media trying to lead the flock down the wrong wrong by only selecting the parts that support their agenda!

  • tomcj

    superdestroyer & leonidas are GOP/conservative stalwarts.

    These actions in Texas show that when Fascism comes to America, it will be the religious right and conservative Republicans who bring it to us. This is the ultimate dumbing down of standards and it is brought to us in one of the largest states in the union by their Republican School Board.

    Leonidas is well known here for converting conversations into GOP Talking Points. Superdestroyer asks why proponents of Ebonics are not criticized.

    Ebonics was the proposal of the Oakland School Board, a very radical place and a stupid proposal. Ebonics was criticized by so many Democrats that I would be tempted to say the scorn for ebonics is universal. I am a liberal, and I will say ebonics is juts teaching slavery by a mis-places pride.

    However, Texas has somewhere around 24 million people and the Texas School Board represents the official GOP in Texas.

    Republicans have a strategy of switching the topic when their side is wrong. “Mao and Stalin were worse, they say,” which they were. I would not argue that congressman Jefferson should be freed and championed because “Enron was worse.” A Murderer cannot use as his or her defense, “oh, yeah, what about Hitler?”

    Texas has enshrined its ignorance and its shame in a text book that is the nextlogical step from calling Fox News “Fair and Balanced”. It is the GOP that is the home of Creationists, anti-evolutionists, and others who enforce conformity in thought because they are frightened of anything which does not come from a pre-decided hierarchy of opinions.

    Memorize this, Texas students are being told, because this is what we Republicans believe and we will not take lightly anyone who thinks for herself/himself.

    To answer Superdestroyer’s question, asking about Ebonics is a change of topic, but if a Democratic dominated Legislature ever allowed a panel of idiots to consciously shape a curriculum to conform to their personal beliefs–which is what happened in Texas–we liberals would not change the subject and ask “Why doesn’t anyone ever criticize the abominable Thiesson and Cheneys and all those other pro-torture Conservatives.”

  • Don Quijote

    Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson… Treachery in the defense of slavery

    When can we grant Texas, it’s well deserved status of independent Nation? The Republic of Texas…

    Secede damn it… Secede!

  • Leonidas

    conservative stalwarts.

    LOL, Conservative stawart = RINO in the opinion of many of my Conservative friends. They hate me for my defense of most party crossing and unpure Republicans like Olympia Snow and Susan Collinsand my advocation of bipartisanship during the Bush era. I just look more conservative when responding to those who are on the left and far left here. It really just depends on where you look from.

    I do consider myself Conservative, however, not in the neo-con, Rush limbaugh, or GOP sense of the word, but in the purer Burkean sense undiluted by pundit blowhards. I’m very much for personal responsibility, fiscal conservatism, and a well reasoned pace of change drawing on experience rather than some quick often ill concieved need for knee jerk reactions. In my view, the moderates are more likely to be true to the Burkean ideal, as they act to counterbalance the radical changes proposed by both the left and the right.

    But label me as you wish, your entitled to your own opinion, it doesn’t really bother me too much.

    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

  • Leonidas

    I think the actual argument put forward about Jefferson’s exclusion from the age of Enlightenment requirement is that he was largely a borrower of the ideas of others before him. While that is somewhat true, I think he does deserve a passing mention, although i don’t really care if its in the age of enlightenment section or another section such as that of the American revolution where it could be said something like “Thomas Jefferson who had been influnced by the thinking of Age of Englightenment figures such as John Locke, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton….”

  • NotFullyBaked

    Interesting that when reading the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEK) themselves, they do not seem all that radical–this coming from someone whose politics have described as “somewhere to the left of Mao. See:

    To fully understand the changes, I think one would need to compare and contrast the Old TEKS with the New TEKS. But with just the New TEKS to scan, I have two comments:

    1. I never knew that Ronald Reagan was such an important HISTORICAL figure, and

    2. What is Celebrate Freedom Week, anyway, and why does it occupy such an important place in Texas Schools’ History curriculum? (Or, did I miss the establishment of Celebrate Freedom Week as the most important event of the school year?)


    • Don Quijote

      1. I never knew that Ronald Reagan was such an important HISTORICAL figure,

      Let me explain Texas history to you…

      In 1776 an unimportant Virginian wrote the Declaration of independence, George Washington with the help of a few good Texans went out and defeated the British, all was good. In the 1830’s Sam Houston and a brave bunch of Patriots defeated Santa Ana so that we could keep our property. Then a few years later in 1860, a bunch of commie trash who were ruled by some evil dictator named Lincoln invaded the South, took our property and ravaged our women despite the best efforts of our great leader Jefferson Davis and his brave generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. To add insult to injury those occupiers stayed for a century forcing us in the 1950’s and 1960’s to treat our former property better than we treat our cattle… In the 1970’s a great leader rose in the land, his name was Ronald Reagan, while he was not as successful as we would have wanted him to be, his goals were noble: the return of our lost property, failing that the ability to treat our former property the way we treat our cattle…

      • LSullyR

        Dear God, Don Quijote, I hope you were speaking in cheek and are not actually ignorant enough to believe that Reagan wanted to bring back slavery? some people just don’t need to have access to a keyboard.

        If you do truly believe that, please provide evidence of such an accusation, or you can continue to insight the uneducated masses by spewing such fabrications and lies to get them to go along with your agenda.

      • JeffersonDavis

        Now have, say, the Massachusetts version of the same text:

        “In 1776 a group of captialist pig slave owners got together to secede from their graceous benefactor, King George of Great Britain. Although they correctly accepted the help of mother France, the extremists gathered their foul weapons, and instead of burning them, used them to commit acts of treason. In 1861, the scum of the new nation had finally fallen below the Mason-Dixon line and were in hand; until a crack-addict named John Brown attacked at Harper’s Ferry. President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, but did not pay them all $25,000 for reparations. He left that to future progressive politicians to keep “blacky” in a perpetual circle of poverty – through entitlements and the elimination of the need to work……”

        You get the picture.

  • Leonidas

    Strangely a touch of truth in your mockery DQ. While Lincoln wasn’t really a full dictator he did commit a few pretty blatant Constitutional violations. like suspending habeas corpus. As for Jefferson Davis, the man didn’t impress, but Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson certainly were very successful generals who despite large disadvantages in men and resources proved quite capable. Even if you don’t agree with their cause, there is little doubt of their skill and bravery in the face of the odds they were dealt.

  • What a sadly predictable set of actions by our dear history-rewriters the Texans, and what a sadly predictable thread.

    Anyway, I think it should be fairly obvious why this particular group of people would want to change the wording of the description of our nation. Gets the word “democrat” right out of there, doesn’t it? The Texas school board hates the modern Democratic party, so let’s just erase the idea of democracy from history, just so we don’t have to hear that awful word. See how easy that is?

  • Budjob

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from a state governed by screwballs and inhabited by whackos,neanderthals,and right wing christian cuckoos.The next time governor digbat suggests secession,I say good riddance!The rest of this country probably would have been better off if the rednecks had won the civil war.

    • LSullyR

      Wow…just wow. I think this post defines ignorance of the issues at hand!

  • tomcj

    Moderates need to understand who the GOP is and what the GOP represents. The Texas School Board sets the textbook for students in a state of over 24 million.

    The GOP is a radical party. Americans tend to give latitude to their neighbors, and so the fact that the people who are imposing their political will on the children of Texas and elsewhere that their point of view BE MEMORIZED and REPEATED BACK or the students will fail seems to evade them.

    Moderates need to wake up. Dan Riehl, who is a mainstream blogger who is linked to every day in Memorandum, called foe Senator Reid to “euthanize” his wife who is fighting for her life after a car accident.

    The GOP faithful are saying, a. Dan Riehl is unheard of, and b, Democrats do worse. Dan Riehl is not unheard of. Check Memeorandum’s Stream, Memeorandum is one of the most powerful drivers of internet conversation. When Joe G. makes Memeorandum, Moderate Voice gets many, many new readers and hits.

    And the all purpose alibi to GOP extremism, that “Democrats do worse” is not a valid defense. It is a classic maneuver where you change the attention from you to someone else when you get caught.

    America could have a Fascist Government and it seems to me clear that it will be Right Wing suburban evangelical Christians who will enforce it. They are nice people. They are our neighbors. They want everyone to come to their church, they want everyone to believe everything they believe, they want the interpretation they give to what they believe is God’s Literal Word in the Bible to take precedence over science, history and all subjects, despite the fact that there is no original Bible and all of our Bibles are the result of translation and scholars assembling a text from fragments of other texts.

    The GOP is dangerous and one hopes that the Moderates will see how dangerous. The GOP has taken “The Enlightenment” away and thrown Thomas Jefferson out of the Halls of Great Thinkers.

    This, like their belief in Creation Science, is only the beginning. They only seem reasonable and when they make cruel classless jokes about Senator Reid’s wife, the non-radical GOP voices say, “oh, yeah! Somebody made a joke about Tony Snow and Democrats did nothing!”

    Yes, we did, when someone pointed it out to us. And whatever jokes were made they were not made by elected GOP officials and the GOP establishment small town Convention Promoters like the endless succession of Republicans who call Michelle Obama an Ape, all defended by people who say Democrats did worse.

  • kathykattenburg

    Excellent post, Polimom. Thank you for highlighting this news. It’s frightening, really.

  • Budjob

    It appears that the inmates have truly gained control of the asylum.The asylum being the screwed up state of TEXASSSSSES!!!

  • pacatrue

    I remember reading about this as well. There are many issues involved, but the main one I kept coming back to was: why is the School Board involved in this sort of minutiae in the first place? They should be setting some sort of general guidelines and getting out of the way. If anything, shouldn’t a group of historians set standards for history? Biologists for biology, etc? I’d want to keep all politicians out of the individual descriptions as much as possible. If you don’t think you can trust historians to write history, the next move should be to demonstrate bias and fire the board. Not get involved in writing the content of text books when you aren’t an expert on the subject matter. It’s like the President saying, “I don’t agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, so I’m just going to write their decisions for them.”

    The topic of Ebonics also came up. I am fairly sure SuperDestroyer won’t care, but Da Goat might, as there are actual linguistic facts relevant here. Anyway, Ebonics is one term for a dialect of American English that has existed for over 200 years. It is not the “language of the streets” or the ignorant or stupid or anything else it’s been called. It is simply a dialect of English like any other — Mainstream American English, New York English, Boston, Texan, Great Lakes English, etc.

    All these dialects are learned in the same way. Kids acquire the dialect spoken in their home and neighborhood. For instance, I learned a Southern accent because I grew up in Louisiana. Learning that particular dialect of English had nothing to do with my intelligence or work habits. It’s just what I heard. All these dialects have tons of grammatical and phonetic rules, and so does Ebonics. One can easily speak each of these dialects incorrectly and ungrammatically. So that’s what it is. A dialect of English with its own set of rules like any other.

    In 1996, the Oakland School Board made a proposal to use knowledge of the grammar of the dialect called Ebonics, since many students had that knowledge, to teach Mainstream American English grammar, because there is some evidence that using one dialect as a bridge to another dialect can be very helpful for many students. It’s the exact same thing your French teacher did (or whatever foreign language you may have studied in high school or college) when they tried to teach you a rule of French grammar using your knowledge of a rule of English grammar.

    The nation went ballistic.

    Some of this is worth debating. For instance, some French teachers think you should not use English grammar to teach French, but should do French immersion instead. In the same way, reasonable arguments can be made that one should not use the grammar of Ebonics to teach Mainstream American English. There are many studies on this issue of the best educational techniques and I am not an expert there. However, the proposal to use Ebonics as a bridge to standard English should be no more controversial than it is when a French teacher uses English.

    When’s the last time you heard anyone outside a foreign language department get mad because their French teacher told them that “que” in French is kind of like “that” in English. It should be no more controversial if a teacher tells a student that a double negative construction in Ebonics has a parallel in a different negation construction in standard English. That’s what the proposal was about.

    Rant over. (Yes, studying language is actually my job.)

    • superdestroyer

      You missed the stupidest point abotu Ebonics. It was the claim that Ebonics was derived from African languages and with the implication that language and thus intelligence is genetic and that blacks, because they have genes from AFrican, would adapt the syntax of AFrican languages. I found this stupid as the first item in a google search on Ebonics and Africa (

      Yet, I never heard a single person say that they were going to leave the Democratic Party because the Congressional Black Caucus support the nonsense of Ebonics. And to believe that is had gone away is naive. School systems control by blacks still support it but the media has learn to ignore it.

      The ebonics fad occurred at the same time that black controlled school district started taking names like George Washington off of public schoolsl. I doubt if anyone left the Democratic Party because black politicians in urban areas decide to remove the name of whies off of schools.

      I will take the outrage about Texas standards seriously when the left takes the PC insanity of the left seriously.

    • $199537

      Paca, thanks for the history on Ebonics. It looks like the popular understanding of the issue was mostly wrong. I guess the question is how much utility formally recognizing Ebonics in order to teach mainstream English really offers. Using your examples of other American dialects, has it been helpful to formally recognize Bostonian, Brooklynese, Deep South, etc in order to teach mainstream English? It seems to me that bridging local dialects is one of those things that goes without saying, and that a good teacher would intuitively use without the School Board becoming involved.

  • DLS

    The Texas history-standards wrangling is months old. (I described this back then when someone on here was engaging in typical Texas steroeotyping.) Most in the news (butt of liberal media jokes) were the righties who were upset that the previous standards weren’t “godly enough.” Neglected but obviously still in the contest, and scoring in the end, were the lefties who wanted PC and revisionist changes to the standards.

  • DLS

    “Ebonics was the proposal of the Oakland School Board, a very radical place and a stupid proposal.”

    This and other extremist “multiculturalism” and related PC idiocy reached the point where a serious liberal Democrat (with untarnishable liberal and Democratic credentials) decried it:

    Related (ironically, given the secessionist expressions you sometimes hear from Texas):

  • JeffersonDavis

    Wow, Polimom….. I’m speechless.

    This is ridiculous. I’ve got no problem with those studies mandated, but the ones excluded are astounding. Thomas Jefferson (as well as Madison, Thomas Paine, even Washington) had such an impact on our Constitution; and deserve study. Half of the problems in our society can be traced to total lack of understanding of the Constitution by our citizens.

    Don’t get me wrong. Just about anything is better than the liberal drivel presently in the school curriculum; but this ain’t gonna cut it.

    • kathykattenburg

      Here is some “liberal drivel” you will not see in most school curricula, despite the truth of it: Slave and immigrant labor built this nation and was instrumental in making the United States a world power. Rich white men could never and would never have been able to do it on their own.

      • JeffersonDavis

        “Rich white men could never and would never have been able to do it on their own.”

        You have been promoted to Captain Obvious.
        What in the world does this have to do with anything.

        No one (especially me) has said that immigrants and slave labor (even my ancestors who were WHITE indentured slaves) had no hand in the building of this nation. They absolutely did.

        What is your point, Kat?

  • DLS

    Poor Don.

    It’s not good enough that during our nation’s imperial era, the people in power made war on a part of the country that wanted to secede. (That would never be tolerated during our Manifest Destiny imperial era.)

    The “Radical Republicans” (the only kind he’s ever liked) never got to finish what they had planned for the South. Somehow I wonder if Reconstruction (by radical Dems now) is what Don is dreaming of every day.

    (if not the use of herbicidal, incendiary, poison, and nuclear bombs, for example)

    Big Problem: Bringing South back into union

    • Don Quijote

      The “Radical Republicans” (the only kind he’s ever liked) never got to finish what they had planned for the South. Somehow I wonder if Reconstruction (by radical Dems now) is what Don is dreaming of every day.

      You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink…

      Next time they start talking secession, the rest of the States should give them a hand and shove them out the door to fend in the big wide world on their own…

      If there is an idiotic reactionary movement in the US, you can expect the South to be leading it…

      • DLS

        “Next time they start talking secession, the rest of the States should give them a hand and shove them out the door to fend in the big wide world on their own…”

        Oh, yes.  That was true for the (brief) wailing from liberals after the 2004 election, moved from horror that Americans not only elected, but relelected, George W. Bush.  (Lesson missed: Next time, run some serious opposition, nothing so far left it’s an act bet on losing an election.)  They were so lightweight not one of them expressed interest in the obvious real-world option, seceding in New England, the upper Great Lakes area, and the heart of the Cascadian region (coastal Oregon and Washington, west of the Pacific Crest, the populous West Coast wet side of the mountains, the part of the West where water is abundant and excessive rather than scarce like the rest of the West) and seek to join Canada.

        Anyone really leaving has to really leave — not “divorce with bedroom privileges” sillier Quebec stuff where any question is a “clear question on secession” in a referendum and any result valid, even if highly error-ridden or fradulent; these people want Quebec to be “separate” but retain the use of Canadian currency (even having a Quebecois presence on the Canadian central bank!) as well as Canadian citizenship(! — no doubt Canadian entitlements as well!).

        You’re one of the better (in fact, one of the best) people who has competence and interest in major reforms and “re-designs” of all kinds (constitutional, other governmental or systemic, economic) and you probably would know — secession wouldn’t mean guaranteed retention of current territories and boundaries, and another of the many issues requiring negotation and settlement would be assumption by Texas or other Red Nation secessionists (just as if Blue Nation departed in large part after 2004) of the federal debt.  Most debt and misspending is due to entitlements, and this would heavily place the burden on Blue Nation.  But — as you know, fully well, Mr. Don Q — there is the issue of where all federal money has been spent, and compensation for not only federal money spent but on federal assets (actually a separate issue, but related to spending).  What is the value of all the Western water projects?  The water consumed by agriculture as well
        as the booming cities’ residential and industrial users?  What is the value, not only of the physical assets but of all the hydropower to come from Glen Canyon, Hoover, Grand Coulee Dam, and so on? Repayment to the USA would be due upon secession from these.  Do they really want to go — and think they can get away with it without paying?

  • DLS

    “the Massachusetts version”

    The Hartford Convention (included Massachusetts)

    [for the curious]

  • No, this is not okay.

    I’m very relieved that I moved out of Texas — and this just reaffirms my choice. They are blatantly attempting to PROGRAM children to believe that separation of church and state is not really one of the founding principles of our nation and Reagan is the most important figure in American history.

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

    A church is an “establishment of religion.”

    There is nothing unclear or confusing about this statement and it’s the FOUNDING principle of our nation. Just ask the Pilgrims who fled to the New World to avoid religious persecution. That cultural memory is the reason for out FIRST (not 2nd or 3rd or 10th) amendment.

    This is clearly an attempt to raise a generation of children who will believe is it acceptable to pass discriminating laws against non-christians. The irony is . . . this principle was put in place to protect Christians and any other religion.

    This is what makes us DIFFERENT from Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    By destroying this principle in hopes of advancing a religious and political agenda, the very writers of these new standards are putting their very freedoms at risk. But it’s no wonder that they don’t seem to understand this, since not one of them (to my knowledge) has any expertise in history at all.

    History class is not about promoting one contemporary and often short-lived political movement over another. It’s about presenting the events of the past and explaining how they have shaped our present. It is that kind of critical thinking that we should be encouraging in our kids. How are Texas children supposed to compete with children from other states that actually learn how our government works. I foresee many mortifying first college semesters for these poor kids. How embarrassing!

    To deliberately lie and misinform children about the nature of our government seems criminal to me in the worst sort of Orwellian way. What are they going to do next? Remove the word “liberal,” “atheist,” “homosexual,” and “cultured” from the English vocabulary lists? — In hopes that if there is no word for it, it doesn’t exist.

    Leave teaching to teachers. Leave Preaching to Preachers. And leave politics to politicians.

  • DLS

    “Here is some ‘liberal drivel’ you will not see in most school curricula, despite the truth of it”

    Other than this (history written by more than just the victors),

    I suggest, Kathy, that you might find the following of interest as well. (Where did Western man go wrong?)

    Thom Hartmann is the host of a successful lefty talk radio show.

  • DLS

    It could be worse in eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, and selected parts of the Southern Crescent all the way from Mis’sippi to Virginia.

    • Don Quijote

      Non-compulsory education once gave our
      nation its highest literacy rates, as documented not only by
      Alexis de Tocqueville, but also by the study Thomas Jefferson
      commissioned DuPont to conduct in 1800, which showed
      national literacy standing at 99.7% (compared to today’s 80%
      figure for high school graduates, which doesn’t even include
      the one million dropouts produced every year).

      Gee, I wonder if they counted the millions of Slaves who were not allowed to learn how to read under penalty of death?

      Educational decline
      The long downward slide of SAT scores began in 1965. By
      1966 the average SAT score had fallen 11 points to 467. By
      1970 it fell to 460, and by 1977 it was down to 429. The
      Boston Globe (8/29/1976) called it “a prolonged and broad-
      scale decline unequaled in US history” and said, “The
      downward spiral … shows no sign of bottoming out … Edu-
      cators … have tried to ignore or discount the significance of
      the decline.

      If our educational system was so superior, why were the builder of the US Atomic Bomb Europeans, and why were the architects of the US Space program Germans?

      • DLS

        Have fun, Don, dealing with one of the modern phenemonena in this country, which has been no surprise to the observant at all, that involves the South you dislike so much.

        It’s about one piece of news from the modern auto industry in this country, which is in the South and often features Asian and European automakers’ assembly plants.  (The Europeans in part put their plants here to save on bloated at-home excess labor costs!)  Our auto headquarters is in Nashville, not Detroit.  (Design should belong in our natinons’ cultural capital and capital above all others easily for auto culture, southern California.  Detroit’s automakers have been stupid not to have housed design there since at least 1980.  This should have been an evolutionary step undertaken in the 1970s.)

        “To hear the rhetoric wafting down from Capitol Hill of late, you’d think that Toyota, Hyundai, BMW and the rest are as all-American as Mom and apple pie. And, in many ways, they now are.”

        [someone possibly “discovering” this decades late — We Americans, particularly those of us in California, the auto culture capital, knew this in the 1980s.]

        “Today’s Southern solons have watched their local economies blossom thanks to a younger, more-vibrant auto industry unencumbered by the Big Three’s legacy costs and union work rules—a sort of anti-Detroit that has the flexibility and ability to turn profits by making the types of cars that Americans actually want to buy.”

        “[T]he states in the Southeast had plenty to offer—large tracts of undeveloped land with road, rail, air and sea access, fewer snow days[,] and federally subsidized power from the Tennessee Valley Authority.”

        “Above all, these states had longstanding cultures that made it difficult for unions to organize.”

        [something that hasn’t gone unnoticed in Michigan]

        [If we have a carbon, energy, or motor vehicle fuel tax, increasing transportation costs, what will that do?  During the brief run-up of oil prices near the start of our recent and current slump, at least one Michigan company closed one of its facilities in Nebraska because of higher transportation costs.  What will that do for the relocation of industry — not limited to the auto industry — to the South?]

        “As discussed in the paper, ‘The Market Renewal of Major Automotive Manufacturing Facilities in Traditional Automotive Communities’, most of a firm’s recurring costs fall into one of three categories: freight, labor, and utility costs.”
        “Automobile manufacturers prefer to build vehicles close to their primary markets, to 
        reduce the cost of shipping finished vehicles to their customers.”
        “The six southern states’ population increased by 19.7 percent, while the northern states increased by only 7.7 percent in the same decade.”
        “With the cost of moving freight into and out of a manufacturing facility one of the main factors contributing to the cost of a finished vehicle, the transplants wanted to build vehicles close to their customers in order to reduce those costs. Due to this period of expanding market share, and rapid population growth of the southern half of the U.S., it only made sense to build more motor vehicles in this region of the country.”
        “In his book, Rubenstein explains that the Japanese owned manufacturers strived to find communities that are far away from the nearest auto plant, where residents are likely to hold non-union attitudes, and the local workforce is well-educated.” “There appears to be scant evidence that auto companies are locating facilities in the south based chiefly on the size of incentive packages. In fact, incentives don’t seem to enter the equation until the site selection has been reduced to choosing between two or three communities, which are almost always in the same region. Instead, there are fundamental changes occurring in the auto industry and the population growth patterns of the country that are affecting the location of new manufacturing facilities. States, provinces, and communities have little control over these changes that are affecting the core business model of the industry.
        Evidence indicates that the industry is going through a ‘right-sizing’ of its regional and North American capacity, with traditional domestic automakers firmly entrenched in north central U.S., and southern Ontario—a region that is growing slowly at the same time the domestic automakers are collectively losing market share. Meanwhile, the transplant companies are predominantly locating in the southern regions of the country, at the same time their aggregate market share continues to grow. As long as the transplant companies continue to take market share market share away from the traditional domestic manufacturers, and the population of the southern part of the country keeps on growing, the movement of high-paying automotive jobs south is likely to continue.”

        • elrod

          On my drive today from Atlanta to Gulf Shores, AL I passed numerous Asian automotive suppliers and assembly plants, including Hyundai in Montgomery, Kia in West Point, GA and some other Korean companies in very rural areas. The same phenomenon is true in East TN where I live – Denso is a major employer.

          The worry in the South is that these employers will act as neo-colonialists – use us for the cheap land and labor and then leave for Honduras when the inevitable rise in land and labor costs in the South makes the initial investment look less profitable (or, ironically, a return to Midwestern brownfield sites with the old unions gone). The smarter people here recognize that what the Asian auto suppliers have done is give us an infusion of capital to invest in education so that when Kia inevitably flees for cheaper shores we will at least have a top notch education system that will produce workers prepared for high-tech work. It’s basically the Research Triangle model. With RTP it was the universities that made the big investment in the 1950s but today it’s the foreign auto suppliers.

          If we can leverage, say, the money from Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga plant toward improving Tennessee’s abysmal public schools (we’re ranked 49th) then it will be a very good thing.

          As for the Texas thing I have very strong feelings about this issue as a whole – I’m a historian by profession – but I haven’t read enough detail regarding the specific changes to really comment.

          • DLS

            Hey, there, Elrod — enjoy those Southern Highlands and the gateway to them.  (Knoxville into Kentucky by itself is a fabulous route, with multiple-razorback-ridge views from one section.)

            “The worry in the South is that these employers will act as neo-colonialists – use us for the cheap land and labor and then leave for Honduras when the inevitable rise in land and labor costs in the South makes the initial investment look less profitable (or, ironically, a return to Midwestern brownfield sites with the old unions gone).”

            Well, even prior to that there was the realization that money made from those companies (profits) would probably find their way back to Japan (now other countries as well, China next, of course).

            At least so long as transport costs are substantial, there might be a chance for retention. That’s especially so as the likely relocation is to China in theory, not to Latin America (losses of jobs there to China is probably one of the major reasons Latins are coming here to find work!).

            If higher oil prices force transport costs higher (or a fuel or energy or carbon tax does here), it might keep things actually safer here for now.  (That or much higher tariffs on vehicles produced elsewhere.)

            * * *

            “As for the Texas thing I have very strong feelings about this issue as a whole – I’m a historian by profession”

            East Texas (the core of the state) is humid, Eastern — Southern on steroids, in a way, like New York is for New England-Mid Atlantic less so; that part of Texas is big-time Bible Belt country like other parts of the South (including eastern Oklahoma) and the front range.  Note that retiring easterners who don’t go to Florida will probably go to Georgia, South Carolina, or (lesser extent until it’s discovered by more) Alabama rather than go to Texas, even where winters are obviously milder than the mainland north of the Florida Peninsula.

          • elrod

            Funny enough, we have a term for Northerners who retire to Florida and then come “halfway back” to East Tennessee – we call them “half backers.” Most are from the Midwest – Michigan, Ohio and Illinois in particular. I always identify them with their incredible disappearing Southern accent. Living in East TN they’ve naturally picked up a subtle twang. But when they encounter another non-East TN native the twang immediately disappears.

            Good ole’ FDR and his TVA did more than anything else to encourage these recreation-minded retirees to the region. We are the #3 boating city in America after San Diego and Ft. Lauderdale.

          • DLS


            “Half-backers” made the news some time ago.  Let me see if I can dig up the news story about them.

            Nope, but here’s an up-to-date article.


            I’ll keep your note in mind when considering how many will ultimately reside in the Blister Belt and on the Florida peninsula.

            Me, in the East, I’d actually prefer to be up in the mainland, rather than Florida, up (north) enough so that I was in the deciduous forest (of course!) rather than in the southern pines (lowlands, not mountain peak spruce-fir).  However, if I ended up unable to tolerate the cold in winter I’d consider Florida — I like the Gulf side of the peninsula: Tampa-St. Pete for major metro, Sarasota for something smaller.

            By the way, I know Tennessee is a top retirement spot and I enjoyed going through there and Kentucky on typical (!) day trips from Atlanta.  North Carolina (including the mountains) still is overlooked, too, probably, especially here in the West (not only the West Coast).

            Also, related to this: Those parts of the declining Blue Nation Snow Belt that have winters people are going to be fleeing but also good scenery — may turn out to be good part-time summer vacation homes.  Can you imagine more summer homes someday near the Finger Lakes, or in New Hampshire and Vermont (as well as Maine)?  And in Michigan (who thinks of itself as the nation’s boating capital, even though it’s only seasonal)?  Wisconsin (which is gorgeous)?  I can.

            For an interesting pair of Eastern homes, I’d have a summer home in west Cleveland (Lakewood) enjoying the Lake breezes, and in winter I’d be on a boat in Sarasota Bay or in a condo overlooking it (much cheaper than Longboat Key across the bay).

            * * *

            “Good ole’ FDR and his TVA did more than anything else to encourage these recreation-minded retirees to the region. We are the #3 boating city in America after San Diego and Ft. Lauderdale.”

            I’m back in the West, and most of it (notably the rest of it other than the West Coast) resents being still treated as a colony of the federal government, but the West owes its modern existence (being able to attain “critical mass” in some metros) to the federal government, for settlement and transportation and yes, for water.  Oh, and hydropower.  TVA is indeed the model (and some wish Washington hadn’t stopped with TVA but done the same for at least the Missouri River area) and even really conservative Linda Smith, who became known after 1994’s elections for being hard-core anti-federal-overreach, was strangely silent about doing away with BPA and its dirt-cheap hydropower.  Roll, Columbia…

            (Not that environmentalists don’t detest the loss of freely-flowing rivers there or in, say, the Ozarks.  But at least the hydropower did give people in the Tennessee Valley a kick-start toward modernity, even if later on TVA went to coal and nuclear when it ran out of hydropower sites.  Imagine a modern TVA and rural electrification for a Congo River project to kick-start in-decline Sub-Saharan Africa.)

            Grand Inga alone would help transform that continent.


  • DLS

    (and along the Colorado Front Range)

  • Sorry I disappeared yesterday, everybody. Had to post and run (so to speak).

    Thanks for all your comments. I want to add to the discussion that, although the very conservative faction of the board held sway over the final standards, the outcome would also have been problematic to me if the liberal faction had had its way on some things as well.

    For instance: Among other things, they were pushing for adding the names of the Tejano fighters who died at the Alamo to the list of names students must know — not because these particular fighters were especially stand-out in comparison to others who were there, but simply because of their ethnicity.

  • Budjob

    Hey there LSullyR,Talk about defining ignorance.Trying to defend Ron “the rat” Reagan after what he did to this country epitomizes the word ignorance.Two examples of his stupidity are as follows:(1)He didn’t WIN the cold war with the Soviet Union,he simply outspent them and in the process almost singlehandedly bankrupted America.(2)What the average american felt trickling down over them with his trickle down philosophy of economics certainly wasn’t money!!Remember,he once maintained that mustard and catsup were food,and that trees were the cause of pollution.

  • WagglebutII

    My gawd, Dubya & Turd Blossom go home and the next thing you know Texas is wanting to secede, kick ole Tom Jefferson out of the history books and teach Adam n Eve lived in San Antonio. I guess next they’ll be running off the families of Texas’ founders.

  • DLS

    “white men”

    Discriminatory behavior toward and hatred (not merely bigotry) toward this group is PC approved and promoted. The worst sewage on far-left radio talk shows includes angry mention of them when the person talking is especially upset or otherwise in a position to be so revealing.

  • elrod

    Interesting…and I thought “half-backer” was some clever local invention.

    One of the big problems with TVA-style projects is how easily they lend themselves to corruption. There are some great pictures of Nehru at Norris Dam before he brought the TVA idea home to India. African nations have tried major dam projects for years. The Chinese just dammed up the Yangtze. They often end up as boondoggles for some while dispossessing millions of others. And I run into people all the time whose families lost land because of TVA. “They wrote it all down to the progress of man…” I think it was right in the end, despite the costs. Note that East TN Whigs were pushing for something like TVA since the 1820s when they discovered how hard it was to navigate the Tennessee River past Chattanooga.

    Michigan and Upstate NY have marketed themselves as summer vacation destinations for years. The problem is that tourism doesn’t employ the same number of people as rust belt industry. But I see it as historically inevitable that Michigan’s population drop closer to its 19th century total – the big automotive age is over. Even where it has taken hold in the South it will never employ the levels of people it did back in the 1950s-60s.

    One of my biggest beefs with small-government conservatism as a whole is the failure among many of its proponents to recognize how much of their own wealth is directly tied to some massive Federal government spending project of one sort or another. That’s not an excuse to spend willy-nillly. But it certainly takes some of the ideological bite out. But hey, the first small government conservatives in the Early Republic – Jeffersonian/Jacksonian Democrats – may have hated Henry Clay-style big government but they sure loved a US-army led war for more land in the West.

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