Texas Board of Education cuts Thomas Jefferson out of its textbooks.

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"Texas Board of Education cuts Thomas Jefferson out of its textbooks."

thomas-jefferson-big copy The Texas Board of Education has been meeting this week to revise its social studies curriculum. During the past three days, “the board’s far-right faction wielded their power to shape lessons on the civil rights movement, the U.S. free enterprise system and hundreds of other topics”:

– To avoid exposing students to “transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else,” the Board struck the curriculum’s reference to “sex and gender as social constructs.”

— The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

— The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”

— The Board struck the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.”

As the nation’s second-largest textbook market, Texas has enormous leverage over publishers, who often “craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers.” Indeed, as The Washington Monthly has reported, “when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas.”

-DJ Carella

Update

Following repeated failed attempts to add figures in Hispanic history to the textbooks, one board member, Mary Helen Berlanga, stormed “out of the meeting late Thursday night, saying, ‘They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.'”

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