We told you last week that Texas State Board of Education members and their appointees helping revise social studies curriculum standards have embarked on a campaign of blanket smears and unhinged rants against just about everyone else involved in the process. One of those appointees, Bill Ames, has yet another column up on the conservative Web site Texas Insider in which he attacks as “leftists” teachers who are associated with one of the largest and most respected social studies educator groups in the country. He then manufactures a vast, left-wing conspiracy, with the Texas Freedom Network at the center of a web of “leftists” at the Texas Council for the Social Studies (TCSS), various teacher organizations and even professional staff at the Texas Education Agency:
“(T)he ideological, political, and even some financial links among TFN-TCSS-teachers’ unions-TEA staff-review panels-and SBOE liberals seem unmistakable.”
Oh please. He must have forgotten to throw in “communists” and “fellow travelers” to the conspiracy mix.
But seriously, Mr. Ames is doing all he can to make the John Birchers of the 1950s and 1960s look almost moderate in comparison with his own political extremism. (And we can thank board member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, for appointing this guy to a curriculum writing panel.)
In his column, Mr. Ames presumes to know the personal politics of most of the 100+ members of the writing teams (pretty much all leftists, he suggests). He then complains that there are few appointees of the board’s conservative members. Really? Republicans board members Bob Craig, Pat Hardy and Geraldine “Tincy” Miller nominated more than a third of the 100 writing team members. When you add the nominees that came from far-right board members — McLeroy, Gail Lowe and Barbara Cargill — conservatives ended up naming about two-thirds of the writing team members. (The panels are formally called “Review Committees,” and lists of their members can be found here.)
Perhaps Mr. Ames should direct his criticism to three far-right board members — Terri Leo, Cynthia Dunbar and Ken Mercer — who didn’t nominate anyone to the writing panels. Those three couldn’t be bothered to spend the time to talk to and then recommend teachers, academics and other community members who wanted to serve on the panels.
In any case, it’s important to remember: the board’s far-right members and their appointees (like Mr. Ames, David Barton and Peter Marshall) were the ones to suggest that students shouldn’t learn about important civil rights leaders like Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez. They are the ones who have alleged that there is an “over-representation of minorities” in the standards. They want students to learn that Joseph McCarthy was a “hero” instead of the deceitful and discredited smear artist he was. They are demanding that social studies classes undermine religious freedom by teaching students that the Founders wanted our nation’s laws to be based on a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. And they are the ones who have suggested that anyone who opposes them — including classroom teachers — are anti-Christian “leftists” and “educrats.”
Yet Mr. Ames charges:
“The politicizing is coming from these left-leaning, history-rewriting groups that attempt to invent negative, revisionist history, while conducting aggressive smear campaigns and personal attacks on any Texas conservative whose views of a positive America or Texas stands in their way.”
The vast, left-wing conspiracy is alive and well — but only in the narrow-minded perspectives of people like Mr. Ames.