As it continues to distinguish itself by the holes it’s bored into educational standards in the state, the wingnut faction on the TX BOE refused even to agree to adjourn last night. Boring holes in something of value should bring back bad memories to this state, where boll weevils destroyed many a cotton crop and many a good program, and became an anathema that is enjoined whenever the word is applied to destructive factions.
In addition to weeviling into the education system, in deciding whether to teach about the President presently residing in the White House, right wing Board member Bradley insisted that like previous president, the whole name would be featured so that "Hussein" could be interjected into history studies for our state’s striving student body. Of course, the Board member was showing his usual disregard for facts, there was no such precedent; other presidents have been named as they themselves have chosen to be.
The bitter stew the radical right is creating in Texas education brewed through the night and continues toward a vote today that is expected to destroy the value of a history education in the state. Three moderate members are Republicans, and one of them is expected to put the nail in that makes Texas the laughing stock of a civilized world.
Some other members were dumbfounded: The Arabic sounding name has been widely used as an epithet in conservative circles and is closely tied to the contention that Obama isn’t an American citizen. “I think it’s pretty obvious what you’re trying to do,” said Bob Craig, a moderate Republican from Lubbock. “And I don’t think it’s correct that we’ve used the middle names for other presidents.” (That was true, Lowe confirmed shortly later; the board follows whatever style a particular president prefers for his name.)
“There has been so much fun made of that middle name," snapped board member Mavis Knight, D-Dallas. "That’s not what we’re about, since we’re one nation and we’re supposed to live in this utopia,” she said, poking fun at board conservatives’ ardently rosy few of America’s past.
But the order of the day was politics and the culture war, not education. And the Civil War provided the ideal battleground. When Allen sought to add causes of the Civil War to one standard — in his view, slavery and states’ rights — it kicked off a racially charged debate that stretched well into the night. Bradley insisted the board had already worked it out and “prioritized” the reasons: sectionalism, states rights, and slavery — in that order.
At least the BOE is providing a civics lesson in taking an interest in local politics to keep it from being dominated by those who mean harm to the government and its functions. There could be no better teaching experience than watching radicals attempt to ruin the future of our students as they compete in a highly educated world. They don’t have a chance if the curriculum of the far right is imposed on them.
This school board action is impossible to caricature.