Far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education continue to protest that they aren’t trying to politicize the revision of social studies curriculum standards for public schools. But their actions don’t match their denials.
We told you two weeks ago that those board members were pitching a hissy about criticism of the unqualified ideologues they have appointed to a panel of so-called “experts” helping guide the social studies revision. Now we have a troubling e-mail exchange between one state board member and a university staffer who wanted to be placed on a team actually drafting the new curriculum standards.
In the e-mail exchange, which we obtained through a Texas Public Information Act request, state board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, out-of-the-blue asks the applicant:
“Would you consider yourself a conservative when it comes to patriotism, the constitution, the heritage of our forefathers, etc.?”
The applicant, an education coordinator at Stephen F. Austin State University, replied carefully:
“Although I do not entirely understand the use of the word conservative in this context, I do believe that civic virtue, or responsible citizenship, cannot occur without knowledge of the structure and responsibilities of the government, and the exploration of the ideas that led to the development of our government, including those incorporated into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, that have had a central place in every class that I have taught. . . . I believe that citizens cannot be truly patriotic without being fully informed about the history of their country — its background, its development, its achievements, and its mitakes. . . . I also think that patriotism in the 21st cnetury requires an understanding of the political and economic choices made by citzens of other countries, allies and enemies, including an exploration of why these cohices are made and what their results have been.”
For what it’s worth, we fully agree with that response. Ms. Cargill seems to have been satsified because the applicant obtained a spot on one of the writing teams. But we wonder why Ms. Cargill felt it necessary to ask about the political beliefs of someone who simply wanted to help revise the social studies curriculum standards.
Perhaps one reason is the contempt Ms. Cargill apparently has for anyone whose politics are different from hers, as indicated in a recent e-mail newsletter in which she sneeringly attacked the so-called “education establishment” for supposedly trying “to hijack the social studies curriculum and replace the Founding Fathers and American values with freedom-bashing Multiculturalism 101.”
Of course, no one has done any such thing. But we now know that Ms. Cargill doesn’t have a problem with hijacking the curriculum revision process to promote her own political beliefs over the education of our kids.