One of the right’s most often used scaremongering tactics is to warn of “liberal indoctrination” and to claim progressives are using schools to push their own agenda.
Fox News has been fanning the flames of this conspiracy theory in recent weeks with paranoid reporting about the Texas State Board of Education’s deliberations over how to alter its social studies curriculum. In a series of reports it is calling the “Texas Textbook Wars,” Fox has openly speculated that founding fathers such as George Washington are going to be removed from textbooks, Independence Day will be deleted, Christmas will be removed, and that the Texas Board of Education has reccomended starting the teaching of history at 1877.
ThinkProgress has compiled a montage of some of Fox’s outlandish and inaccurate claims. Watch it:
Now, the Texas Education Agency is firing back. It has put out a press release slamming Fox for “repeatedly [broadcasting] highly inaccurate information” and has done a point-by-point debunking of Fox’s fearmongering. Some of the debunks:
Fox: Independence Day and Veteran’s Day are being deleted from the textbooks.
The truth: Again, the new history textbooks have not been written yet but they will be based on the curriculum standards adopted by the board. The standards currently under consideration cover Independence Day in kindergarten, second and fifth grades. Veteran’s Day is included in kindergarten, first, second and fifth grades.
Fox: References to Christmas have been deleted.
The truth: A TEKS review committee briefly recommended removing Christmas from a list that mentioned one major holiday for each of the world’s religions. The committee recommended leaving Easter in the document. The State Board immediately rejected this idea and a reference to Christmas was restored in the standards months ago and can be found in sixth grade in standard 19(b).
The truth is, the Republican-dominated Texas Board of Education has been doing anything but deciding to use textbooks to indoctrinate students with liberal propoganda. After a heated debate this past January, the Board voted to have textbooks cover the Moral Majority and the Heritage Foundation, voted against requring the coverage of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and the country’s first hispanic Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, and decided to require textbooks to teach students the difference between legal and illegal immigration.