10 Reasons The New Texas Textbooks Are Dangerous For Students

Jul 21, 2015

by Judy Molland

Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that are replete with omissions and distortions. The textbooks were created based on standards adopted by the Board of Education in 2010 after a fierce battle.

When it came to social studies standards, conservatives championing causes from a focus on the biblical underpinnings of our legal system to a whitewashed picture of race in the United States won out.

Here are 10 reasons why these books are dangerous for all American students:

1.  A Glaring Confederate Omission: In the new textbooks, students get to read the inaugural address by Confederate President Jeff Davis, in which he vaguely alludes to slavery, without mentioning the word. They will not, however, read the speech given by his vice president, Alexander Stephens, which states: “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

2.  The Civil War was not about slavery: Continuing on the same theme, students are informed that the Civil War was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order. Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.” 

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19 comments on “10 Reasons The New Texas Textbooks Are Dangerous For Students

  • I have to admit it is discouraging to see such outright distortions of history and religion. Let’s all hope one day the internet will reach all the way to Texas. Oh wait…it does!

    Man, those are gonna be a bunch of pissed off kids when they realize what their government did to them!

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  • To do that to the very textbooks that children need to understand the world they live in is unforgivable! That is poisoning our most vulnerable minds with false representations of history, I too am glad the internet reaches Texas, however to put the burden of action on young students to educate themselves because of right and left wing biases that have polarized the U.S. is a travesty of educational failure!

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  • With regard to reason 2 in the list:

    Although he considered it an abomination, – “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” – the principal reason for the American civil war was indeed not slavery; Lincoln’s aim was to save the Union.

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  • Geoff
    Jul 22, 2015 at 3:26 am

    To do that to the very textbooks that children need to understand the world they live in is unforgivable! That is poisoning our most vulnerable minds with false representations of history,

    As the evidence of “the Bible” and religious relics show, religious leaders have throughout history, been falsifying historical records in the name of faith-wish-thinking, to con those trusting them !

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  • I am a firm believer in teaching our children to think, but not what to think.
    Perhaps it is time that our history and social studies curriculum need to be updated…

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  • With all due respect to other people’s opinions on this post the civil war – more properly a war between states over the right to self-governance – was indeed not about slavery but about economic and political issues. The issue of slavery was, at best, peripheral to the real, proximate reasons such as federal tariffs/duties imposed on the South by the North.

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  • The problem with that line of reasoning is when you read the states’ declarations of independence, slavery is the predominant reason they give for seceding. It was about self-governance: the right to continue the Peculiar Institution.

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  • It was very much about slavery. The majority of the secession text by each state outline hostility towards the institution of slavery as the driving force for leaving the Union. I live in SC and you can go to our Civil War museum and read it for yourself. I understand that Texas put in some other ‘reasons’ that filled up a paragraph or so, but the main drive that took up far more written area, concerned slavery. Texas even blamed Indian attacks… clearly throwing everything but the kitchen sink into its excuse. The level of detail in the slavery portion is the telling fact.
    Then… let’s move to the Confederate Constitution. Maintaining the institution of slavery was the defining aspect.
    The south never had a problem with Federal overreach when it went in their favor: see the SCOTUS case of Dredd Scott v. Sanford 1857 or the 3/5ths Compromise.
    Boo Hoo…. tariffs/duties on things related to the owning of people. For some reason, the south seemed to think slavery could last forever without issue and decided to throw a tantrum when it became an issue.
    Slavery is a corrupt institution. The U.S. involvement in slavery was wrong. We don’t spell it out loudly enough in history texts as it is.

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  • What is it about conservatives that they want to re-write history.

    In Australia, the conservative equivalent of the Texas republicans denies the massacre of the indigenous Australian Aborigines, the dispossession of their land, the rape of their women, the poisoning of flour and water, and the removal of their children to missionary care to make good little christians out of them. The conservatives called this the “Black Arm Band” view of Australia’s beginnings adhered to by communists. There is ample evidence that all of these things occurred and it makes our conservatives look just as stupid as the Texas conservatives when they try to deny it.

    Are conservatives embarrassed about what their forebears did, and try to graffiti over the facts. What is it in the conservative mind that fears history. Yep. The south had slaves. Slavery is bad. There is no differentiation between races. Maybe the conservative brain has some evolutionary blind spot that means they cannot tolerate the point of a factually loaded finger.

    Makes them dangerous though, and so the need for them to be called to account for this kind of rubbish.

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  • 13
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    History is always written by the victors?…. Not always it seems. Or at least not anymore. Nowadays, writing history or re-writing history can be attempted by pretty much anyone who can write, owns a computer with an Internet connection and has an agenda.

    Incidentally, whoever came up with this truism failed to mention that sometimes the victors are telling the truth.

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  • I have to admit it is discouraging to see such outright distortions of history and religion. Let’s all hope one day the internet will reach all the way to Texas. Oh wait…it does!

    Inadvertently, Vicki makes a great point. The textbook throw-backs embody the last gasp of conservative propaganda about American history in an unpalatable obsolete medium. Once effective in insulated societies where the distribution of single-version conventional wisdom in print could be controlled by authorities, the textbooks will wind up mouldering on desks and bookshelves while students seek out diverse information online that affirm the narrative of revisionist history dominating progressive media, popular films and documentaries for the last 40 to 50 years. The creaky old lies of these dry-as-dust textbooks will stagger and stumble into oblivion.

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  • With respect, but you are dead wrong about this. It was indeed about economic and political issues. That by itself means absolutely nothing as that is so general as to describe just about every reason for conflicts between two or more groups of people throughout the entire history of human kind.

    The primary reason that caused the economic and political issues, repeatedly stated by the various respresentatives of the Confederate states, was slavery. Claiming states rights, economic and political issues, and that slavery was just a minor issue, is sophistry plain and simple. It is spin, marketing. Slavery was the issue. The right of the Confederate states to continue their institutions of slavery, because slavery was the basis of their economy and if they were compelled to give it up then they would be at an economic disadvantage with respect to the Union states.

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