In our coverage of the controversy over a proposed Jefferson County Schools history curriculum committee tasked with emphasizing patriotism and downplaying civil disorder, we shared school board member Julie Williams's press release citing the Texas State Board of Education's actions along similar lines. This suggestion didn't thrill a number of our readers, including this one.
While we can laugh about the hashtag #JeffCoBoardHistory, board member Julie Williams' letter is frightening in that it suggests that Jefferson County should follow the lead of the Texas State Board of Education in revising JeffCo's history curriculum and assigned texts.
As Newsweek has recently done a superb job pointing out, what's happened in Texas is nothing short of a travesty against historical scholarship: " Yes, a history book is teaching as fact that God wrote the Ten Commandments and gave them to Moses -- something that some religious academics who have dedicated their lives to the study of the Bible believe is not a true story. This is not history. It is not even biblical scholarship. It is puerile, gee-whiz religiosity propounded by biblical illiterates to indoctrinate young people while undermining any chance they have of learning how to think like historians."
An approved Texas history book states that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments - and even if Jews and Christians (like me) believe that to be true, the State has absolutely no business claiming that to be fact than it has in imposing, say, Sharia Law.
And then the Texas-approved book goes on to say that Moses' Ten Commandments were incorporated into the U.S. Constitution as a "code of behavior," which is not only totally inaccurate historically but is shockingly unpatriotic. Such a view totally subverts what the Constitution really is: not a "code of behavior" for servile citizens (and schoolkids) to follow, but a document establishing sacred FREEDOMS FROM state-imposed "codes of behavior"!
Ms. Williams claims that she is not seeking to "censor" anything, but it is well documented that her allies are eager to stack this new committee with "conservative Christians" who will rewrite history to suit their very narrow agenda. Here's hoping that the board quickly kills the motion, the kids get back to class, and sanity is restored on the Jefferson County Board of Education.
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