South Carolina avoids Texas-style textbook dilemma

by William Moultrie

Columbia – South Carolina’s textbook task force claims to have found a way to avoid all of the controversy plaguing the Texas School Board and save money at the same time.

In South Carolina, everything old is new again.

In South Carolina, everything old is new again.

“It was easy,” said task force chairperson Bridget Keeney. “We did a little research and discovered that we have hundreds of boxes of already-approved history textbooks from the 1940s through the 1960s lying around in the basement of the State Museum. They’re a little old, but they’ve been well-preserved and should serve our students well. Best of all, we already own them, so they’re free.”

“Since all of these books have already gone through the required processes to be approved for student use, we’ll be able to skip that step and at the same time avoid a lot of the ‘hot-potato’ topics such as the civil rights movement and the Reagan Revolution, as they were printed before those took place. Of course it’s true that the books aren’t very current, but the subject is history, not current events, so we think they’ll be fine.”

Texas has been making national headlines as their state school board has been attempting to add what many deem to be right-leaning content to their history textbooks while eliminating some more left-leaning events and people.

Governor Mark Sanford appointed the task force last year.

“I am so proud of the job Bridget and her team have done,” Sanford said. “It’s remarkable what you can accomplish when you have the foresight to establish a task force.”

Historians were less enthusiastic about the news.

“I’m somewhat horrified,” said Tyler Clark, professor of American History at the University of South Carolina. “I haven’t seen the textbooks yet, but having grown up here in South Carolina in the 50s, we can expect to see a lot of Civil War history, a lot of emphasis on colonists over Native Americans, and not much at all about non-Caucasians. On the other hand, at least they won’t be adding their own crazy right-wing spin to the last forty years of American history, so that’s some solace.”

An addendum to the original announcement was sent out to the press later in the day that stated: “In deference to concerns that the past several decades of American history would be omitted from our schools’ educational agenda, we have found donors who are willing to provide an addendum in pamphlet form. The pamphlet will cover the historic events of the 1960s through today. Donors include Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Heritage Foundation.

Pamphlets from the state government are not required to be reviewed before being distributed to students.

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Posted in Education, Features, Politics
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  15. nowayymoron says:

    no, i’m pretty sure the founding fathers hated religion and thought the religious the all gullible morons, why should we care what a bunch of 200 year old dead guys think anyway, they’d be pretty mad at us allowing blacks and women the same civil liberties as white men and letting all those non-white folks into the country.

  16. Mark Taylor says:

    Despite not being a fan, I think Chuck Norris’s double-length exclusive column at World Net Daily (“Don’t mess with Texas…textbooks”) on the issue actually has some very valid points, especially in pointing out America’s Founders’ intent for religion in education.

    Here’s a sample from his column at
    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=127935

    “…conservatives argue that most American history in textbooks basically avoids religion – and thus changes and misrepresents history – and prominent religious scholars are apt to agree with them on that point. Martin Marty, emeritus professor at the University of Chicago, former president of the American Academy of Religion and the American Society of Church History and recognized as one of the country’s foremost American religious historians, explained, ‘In American history, religion is all over the place, and wherever it appears, you should tell the story and do it appropriately.’

    “The founders’ educational philosophy even included teaching the Bible. As
    Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote, “To the citizens of Philadelphia: A Plan for Free Schools,” on March 28, 1787: ‘Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read and write and above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.’

    “Noah Webster, the ‘Father of American Scholarship and Education,’ stated, ‘In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.’

    “In 1789, during the same time when the First Amendment was written, then-President George Washington signed into law the Northwest Ordinance, which states, ‘Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.’ Does anyone not know what the term ‘forever’ means? Can any member of the SBOE or any other state board of education be penalized for agreeing with the founders of America?

    “Even Thomas Jefferson, while protecting the University of Virginia (chartered in 1819) from the single sectarianism typically connected to other higher academic institutions of his day, wrote about his vision for the university on Dec. 27, 1820: ‘This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error as long as reason is left free to combat it.’”

    Seems to me Jefferson would have tolerated both extreme points of view and that our polarizing over issues like religion wouldn’ t have been a threat to him IN EDUCATIONAL CIRCLES.

  17. Alastair says:

    Having gone to elementary school in the early 80s, my 3rd grade textbook was pretty much as described above.

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