Monday, May 23, 2016

Unsurprisingly, A Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook Attempts to Whitewash History

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 10:49 AM

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The Texas State Board of Education is a magical place where facts have little meaning. Who needs 'em in a fantasy world dominated by conservative ideology and Christianity? Facts have no place in education in this world.

However, in the real world, where historians and academics have dutifully recorded history while refuting false narratives, those facts matter.

This has repeatedly been lost on Republican members of the State Board of Education.

The latest case involves Texas' first board-sanctioned Mexican-American studies textbook, which includes lines like this comparing Chicano activists to politicians:

It differed from the approach of civil rights leaders who organized Viva Kennedy clubs and mass registered Mexican-Americans to vote. The latter was led by Kennedy, Johnson, and others in order to help Latinos prosper within modern, democratic society. Chicanos, on the other hand, adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society. Two sets of Mexican-American activists, with similar hopes for their community, were pursuing two different approaches. 
The Civil Rights section of the textbook is full of subtle lines like the one bolded above that suggestively link activists working for equal rights and fighting racism to communists bent on destroying the American dream.

That's no surprise when you find out that the probable owner of Momentum Instruction, LLC, the company that published the textbook, and one of the tome's contributing authors, is none other than former board member Cynthia Dunbar, multiple media outlets have reported. 

"We are fighting for our children's education and our nation's future," Dunbar told The Guardian in 2010. "In Texas we have certain statutory obligations to promote patriotism and to promote the free enterprise system. There seems to have been a move away from a patriotic ideology. There seems to be a denial that this was a nation founded under God. We had to go back and make some corrections."

Ah, the ol' rewriting of history. There's those pesky facts again. So it's no surprise that Texas' Mexican-American studies textbook is already under fire.

As The Huffington Post points out, it's not just activists who are critical — scholars are also questioning the veracity of the book.

Emilio Zamora, a Univeristy of Texas at Austin professor of Mexican-American history, told the HuffPost that accuracy of the text matters more than the fact that Dunbar is a contributing author.

“In instances where it can be verified, I’ll applaud,” Zamora told HuffPost. “In instances where it cannot be verified, then I will be critical. Our children deserve historical writing that can be verified by the current scholarly literature.”

His initial impression was that the text has “serious flaws,” but he said he would review it more closely with a group of Mexican-American studies scholars and would present those recommendations to the state board.
The board may consider the textbook after public comment in November, according to The Huffington Post.

By then, a woman named Mary Lou Bruner may be on the board. She's in a runoff, but could win. And while Dunbar certainly doesn't have the integrity of education on her mind, Bruner takes ignoring facts to a different level.

She's suggested the President Barack Obama was once a gay prostitute, to feed his drug habit. She hasn't backed down on those claims, either.

People like Bruner and Dunbar should really leave education to the experts. Conservative agenda pushers, any agenda pushers, should have no place when it comes to making decisions affecting the education of Texas' children.

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