Tarballs and Tainted History

Crossposted on HuffPo and DailyKos.

BP’s wells aren’t the only things failing around Texas these days.

Education is quickly draining out of Texas classrooms, and as the oil spill made its way onto Texas beaches this weekend, word of the brain-drain that is our State Board of Education has most certainly gotten out. The spoof public relations Twitter account for BP, BPGlobalPR, tweeted a Texas-sized zinger that quickly zoomed to the top of Twitter today, garnering over 100+ retweets in less than two hours. It read: “Our oil hit Texas beaches yesterday. Fortunately, in 20 years their school books will say nothing happened. #bpcares

Texas State Board of EducationTarballs and tainted history. Lucky us.

The Texas State Board of Education has been caught in the national spotlight of mainstream news sources (see How Christian Were the Founders?) ever since, like a smelly oil well in the wind, reporters picked up the scent of how completely whacked-out the current SBOE members are--or, as the New York Times more politely put, when the SBOE approved a curriculum that “put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks.” Now, thanks to the SBOE’s it’d-be-funny-if-it-weren’t-so-sad antics, BPGlobalPR’s tweet today pushed the long-term risks of a state board rewriting history to perhaps a larger--and younger--following with a taste for schadenfreude.

As far as I can see, the only thing worse than George W. Bush being back in Texas is the state of education here. Bill Hobby, former Lt. Governor of Texas, recently called Texas the “Laughing Stock State” as a result of the SBOE’s desire to remove from the pages of textbooks notable Hispanics like Lorenzo de Zavala, who helped draft the constitution of the Republic of Texas. As if erasing history wasn’t enough, Republican SBOE members like incumbent Ken Mercer want to actually rewrite history by replacing them with ultra-conservatives like Sean Hannity, who once said, “I'll tell you who should be tortured and killed at Guantanamo: every filthy Democrat in the U.S. Congress.” Where do you think they’ll tuck that quote in the margins of a second grader’s social studies text? In the “Washed Up TV Hosts Who Historically Have Incited Violence” chapter?

Without a change of board members, as Governor Rick Perry continues to inexcusably refer to the BP oil disaster an “act of God,” Texas’s textbooks will soon reflect the same type of Republican ideology that Mercer’s opponent, Democrat Rebecca Bell-Metereau, correctly called “a butchered curriculum...riddled with inaccuracy.”

And with teachers like Rick Perry and Ken Mercer at the helm, why even bother with standardized tests?

4 Response to "Tarballs and Tainted History"

  • Jon Says:

    You think Tarballs are bad? Watch the movie Gasland. If it doesn't make you mad, you're not alive...

  • Mean Rachel Says:

    Oh that is on my to-do list! I got invited to a watch party but couldn't make it. I don't have a TV so I'll have to catch it online or at someone's house some time.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Texas A&M is leading the pack in novelty approaches to discouraging excellence and rigor in teaching while simultaneously encouraging students to take the easy road to a degree. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/deep-in-the-heart-of-texas/

  • Mean Rachel Says:

    Interesting article, anon. I doubt it's any coincidence that our esteemed Governor is the leader of the A&M pack!