More Work For History

Following up on my post about the Texas Board of Education, the Texas Freedom Network is live-blogging the board’s social studies debate.

9:27 – The board is taking up remaining amendments on the high school world history course.

9:30 – Board member Cynthia Dunbar wants to change a standard having students study the impact of Enlightenment ideas on political revolutions from 1750 to the present. She wants to drop the reference to Enlightenment ideas (replacing with “the writings of”) and to Thomas Jefferson. She adds Thomas Aquinas and others. Jefferson’s ideas, she argues, were based on other political philosophers listed in the standards. We don’t buy her argument at all. Board member Bob Craig of Lubbock points out that the curriculum writers clearly wanted to students to study Enlightenment ideas and Jefferson. Could Dunbar’s problem be that Jefferson was a Deist? The board approves the amendment, taking Thomas Jefferson OUT of the world history standards.

9:40 – We’re just picking ourselves up off the floor. The board’s far-right faction has spent months now proclaiming the importance of emphasizing America’s exceptionalism in social studies classrooms. But today they voted to remove one of the greatest of America’s Founders, Thomas Jefferson, from a standard about the influence of great political philosophers on political revolutions from 1750 to today.

9:45 – Here’s the amendment Dunbar changed: “explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson on political revolutions from 1750 to the present.” Here’s Dunbar’s replacement standard, which passed: “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone.” Not only does Dunbar’s amendment completely change the thrust of the standard. It also appalling drops one of the most influential political philosophers in American history — Thomas Jefferson.

9:51 – Dunbar’s amendment striking Jefferson passed with the votes of the board’s far-right members and board member Geraldine “Tincy” Miller of Dallas.

9:56 – Here is what the Library of Congress says about Jefferson’s influence: “Recognized in Europe as the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson quickly became a focal point or lightning rod for revolutionaries in Europe and the Americas.” The Library of Congress notes, in particular, Jefferson’s influence on revolutionaries in France (including on the Declaration of the Rights of Man), other European nations, South America and Haiti.

(Found via The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.)

More Evidence I’m a Twit

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  • Man oh man do I want a vacation tonight. #
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As I was getting my bag ready for work this morning, I pulled out some papers left from last week. They were work from my son’s school. Glancing through them while setting them aside, I found he had started doing more work for grammar. He is now identifying adjectives.
My son is 6. He is very much a six year old, oft found bouncing off the walls pretending to be inside a video game. He is the epitome of a six year old boy.

My son is six and knows what an adjective is.

This is added to the list of nouns, verbs, articles, and prepositions he already knows about.

I explained this to him last week: I didn’t start learning grammar until 8th Grade. Until I was 13. Over twice his age. And I didn’t even fully grasp it until 9th Grade when I had an awesome English teacher who kicked my butt. And I was one of the bright kids. Plenty of people I knew, even while in the midst of coursework, couldn’t point out a noun even if it bit them in the face.

My bouncing boy of six is learning grammar nearly ten years before I did and, as his teacher told me early last week, he just gets it.

Let this wash away any doubts about the self-directing, self-correcting Montessori method of education.

That, and my son is a genius.

That is all.

More Evidence I’m a Twit

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