Do something, please!

There has to be a better way. In fact, there probably are several better ways to write public school curricula than the slapstick routine performed (once again) this week by that preposterously misnamed creature, the State Board of Education. Trying to rewrite history to fit your own narrow, ideological view of the world is not education, my friends.

Some of the current board members could have taught Larry, Moe and Curly a few things about the finer points of piethrowing. But Larry, Moe and Curly were supposed to be ridiculous. The board is charged, unfortunately, with setting curriculum standards for 5 million Texas schoolchildren.

Last year, it was science. This year, it is social studies being forced under the theologytinted review of a bloc of rightwing, selfprofessed academic experts. And one day, Democrats can hope, it may be a clique of leftwingers seeking to rewrite our kids’ history books. But that wouldn’t be the way to set educational standards for kids either.

It is past time for the Legislature to step in and impose some academic discipline on Texas’ curriculum development and textbook selection processes. Several bills to rein in the board were proposed last year, but they went nowhere, mainly because Gov. Rick Perry and many Republican legislators are playing politically to the same conservative voters who elected the board’s conservative bloc.

This week’s shenanigans all but guarantee the same bills, maybe more, will be filed during the 2011 session. But their fate, in all likelihood, will be largely affected by the outcome of this November’s legislative and gubernatorial races.

One of the bills that died last year was SB2275 by Sen. Kel Seliger, RAmarillo. It would have transferred the responsibility for curriculum development from the State Board of Education to the state education commissioner and required the commissioner to seek guidance from teachers and parents, among others. That bill may not be the only solution to an increasingly embarrassing problem, but it is certainly worth a serious look.

There has to be a better way.


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