Category Archives: Book
This was written by Paul Krugman in the New York Times.
Oh, boy. Paul Samuelson famously declared, “I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws — or crafts its advanced treatises — if I can write its economics textbooks.” But guess who’s going to be writing our textbooks?
The conservative bloc on the Texas State Board of Education won a string of victories Friday, obtaining approval for an amendment requiring high school U.S. history students to know about Phyllis Schlafly and the Contract with America as well as inserting a clause that aims to justify McCarthyism.
Outspoken conservative board member Don McLeroy, who reportedly spent over three hours personally proposing changes to the textbook standards, even wanted to cut “hip-hop” in favor of “country” in a section about the impact of cultural movements. That amendment failed.
Actually, Samuelson’s remark had more resonance than most readers imagined. After World War II, there was actually a concerted attempt to prevent the teaching of Keynesian economics at American universities, as described by Collender and Landreth (pdf). This campaign killed the first US Keynesian text, by Lorie Tarshis, but Samuelson’s book — which he said he “wrote carefully and lawyer-like” — managed to make it through the hazing.
I do have some personal interest here, of course: I’m the co-author of two college textbooks, and royalties from the intro book are a large part of our family income. But the high-school level is really where you want to worry about politicization.
The title had me at “hello!”
How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.”
What I read made me want to cry and cuss.
Two quotes from the article, just to wet your appetite, are:
“…but we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”
“This critical-thinking stuff is gobbledygook.”
The preceding nuggets of intellectual wisdom were from a man who actually selects textbooks for the state of Texas and a man who represents the “think tank” that influences the people who select the text books for the state of Texas. (I don’t feel an additional comment is needed due to the weight of that sentence.)
Go and read it for yourself.
Be sure to comment on this, dear readers. I can’t wait to read how you feel about this one.