A Texas shootout took place last week and the conservatives on the state’s Board of Education won, according to news media like CNN. Is it another skirmish in the Culture War? Or a local tempest in a teapot?
Here are a couple of the hundreds of revisions the state board made, many at the last minute, to the curricula in history and social studies. Tell me: Do you think these are big deals or not?
One has to do with the hallowed principle of the separation of church and state. Students will be compelled to read the First Amendment and compare its language with judicial writings on the topic. To me, this seems like a sound pedagogical idea. But the intention of the comparison, critics say, is to show that judicial activists have toyed with the Constitution and deviated from original intent. They fear it dilutes the rationale behind church-state separation. Do you agree?
Here’s another one: BC and AD will be used to date eras, retaining the traditional acronyms for “Before Christ” and “Anno Domini.” The state board rejected the use of BCE and CE as too secular. BCE means “Before the Common Era” but it can also mean “Before the Christian Era” or “Before the Current Era.” CE, then, is the Common or Current Era, but can also be read as Christian Era. Is this how many angels dance on the head of a pin? Or, something of real merit?
This week, we’ll discuss changes like these made by politicians rewriting history and social studies. What do you think of the changes so far in Texas?
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(Originally posted in www.OurValues.org)