March 18, 2010

Conservative Christians Set Texas Curriculum Standards

Texas Logo.jpgI have been doing most of my political posting at Red State Progressive, but I will continue to address a number of political subjects that are relevant to atheists here (e.g., separation of church and state). The recent conflict over educational requirements in Texas is just such an issue, reminding us all that politics matter.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the Texas State Board of Education has split along political lines in a way that seriously impacts public education in that state. Democrats on the board recently proposed requiring Texas students to learn about the rationale for separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution. The board's Republican majority rejected this proposal.
The contentious decision in curriculum standards for U.S. government classes appeared to signal the unhappiness of several board members with court rulings that have affirmed the separation of church and state – including a longtime ban on school-sponsored prayer.
It is one thing to turn one's back on reality when one doesn't like what one finds there; it is something else when one makes it more difficult for others to access reality-based information. And you better believe that it is even more egregious when those one deprives of reality-based information are students under one's charge!
The seven social conservatives on the panel – several of whom openly question the legal precedents affirming the separation of church and state – were joined by the three moderate Republicans in voting no.
It might be tempting to dismiss this as just what one would expect from the state that gave us George W. Bush. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of dismissing it as long as Texas has a disproportionally large impact on U.S. curriculum standards and textbooks.
The board agreed to strengthen nods to Christianity by adding references to "laws of nature and nature's God" to a section in U.S. history that requires students to explain major political ideas.
This is an important example of why politics is so important to those of us who value reality.

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