15 March 2010

That Texas BOE clusterf everyone is talking about

Popehat | Ken | Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Thomas Jefferson Has Got To Go

What happened before the Texas State Board of Education is appalling. But to the lefties of academia who are particularly incensed, I must paraphrase the pothead kid from the anti-drug advertisements: they learned it by watching you, okay? They learned it by watching you. The academic left has contributed at least equally to the crass politicization of education, knowledge, and epistemology. The scorn you see on the Texas board towards wrong-thinkers like Jefferson is just the Left’s sneer of “dead white males” repackaged and re-spun for modern conservative tastes. The lefty tropes of the sixties through the eighties — that a biased educational system has suppressed the truth about the groups we sympathize with in favor of the groups we don’t like — have been adroitly scooped up and brought to bear from the right.

So, go ahead and condemn the Texas State Board of Education. I do. But if you pretend that it’s a problem of the Right, as opposed to a universal problem when the self-important and politically inclined are let lose on curricula, then you’re part of the problem.
As Matt Johnson has repeatedly pointed out, curricula are political documents, not educational ones. So attention to people of all stripes who use political power to influence curricula: sooner or later The Other Guys will be in power. Then they're going to use that same influence to reverse whatever you just imposed. Maybe you should both consider stepping away from the control panel and not steering the school district on the specific path you find appealing.

PS I like Coyote Blog's observation that perhaps the best way to get the Left to embrace school choice to have the Religious Right go hog wild with imposing silly curriculum standards. It brings to mind this Alex Tabarrok quote:
"Isn't the real reason the First Amendment has any force not that people agree on the value of freedom of speech but rather that they disagree on who they want to shut up? Is religious freedom a product of agreement on the value of religious freedom or is it a product of disagreement on who is going to hell?"
Maybe we will get freedom of education when we can't agree on who ought to be stricken from the textbooks?

No comments:

Post a Comment