Condemning the new state of Texas textbooks

The conservatives have won another battle in Texas concerning student textbooks: On an 11-4 vote, a new standard for textbook drafts were released recently, and it has caused quite a stir. Among other things, the new draft standards include the teaching of “alternative” economic theories, a required section on political conservatism in American history, and the replacement of the teaching of Enlightenment ideals with such great theologians as Calvin and Aquinas. At the same time, Thomas Jefferson is no longer required learning for today’s Texan students.

Quite frankly, the level of politicism in students’ textbooks is unnerving, especially given the influence of school systems on developing minds. While it is up to the discretion of Texas to govern its own state’s textbooks, given that Texan textbooks are often used as the standard for American textbooks, we sincerely hope that these changes do not affect students across the U.S.

What are your thoughts on the textbook changes?

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The extent to which ideological textbooks damage the education system reaches far beyond Texas, and so we have an ethical obligation to condemn these textbooks and discourage their sales as a matter of principle. Far from merely being annoyed neighbors, the actions of Texas affect the entire United States in a profound manner, insofar as their actions directly impact the content and distribution of textbooks across the nation.

Especially given the lack of textbook standards coming out of California, with no counterbalancing standard, the duty falls on us as citizens to resist these blatant acts of spinning textbook content in whatever manner we can. As a University, we can not only collectively disparage the existence of these textbook standards, but we also have the power to influence the St. Louis community and its schools on the problems that these new textbook standards raise.

To under-educate, or to intentionally miseducate, is a moral problem that needs to be addressed on a national scale. By creating textbook standards within a state-based framework that affects people on a national level, these standards conflict with education standards in other states. Consequently, it’s up to us to make sure that these textbook reforms are made public knowledge and are ardently fought against.

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