Thought police: As a proud libtard, Buzz is appalled by anything the Texas State Board of Education does (including breathing). So, we shook our libtard head last month when the conservative-dominated SBOE passed its revised social studies curriculum. It took a last-minute reprieve to keep Thomas Jefferson on the list of important political philosophers, where he's now joined by Phyllis Schlafly.
Right. Because everyone knows in the pantheon of American thinkers, you got your Hamilton, your Jefferson...your Schlafly.
Still, we've lived in Texas nearly 28 years, and we've started to pick up some of the natives' habits, among them a jingoistic pride that's pricked when out-of-staters talk about Texas as though it's some Central Asian republic. Texasistan, say. That explains why Buzz was put off when we learned the California Senate passed a bill last week meant to ensure that the Lone Star's SBOE standards don't pollute the Golden State's public schools. Listen, California, we can call our dog ugly...
State Board of Education
So, we called the bill's author, Senator Leland Yee—a San Francisco Democrat—to find out about his SB1451, which requires the California Board of Education to send up a flare if it finds that textbook publishers are altering their books in ways that meet Texas' standards but violate California's, which tend to emphasize the crazy notion that people who weren't WASP males played some role in the nation's creation.
California's own review of social studies and history materials has been delayed by budget problems (in your face!), Yee told us, and "the reality is, Texas has the only updated curricula of the large states," which gives it great influence on what publishers include in their texts. Yee doesn't buy publishers' claims that they can tailor their books to meet different standards (California is the largest market for textbooks. Texas is No. 2.), and he's not happy at all with Texas' new guidelines. For instance, he doesn't like the fact that we play down the role of racism in the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
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"You can't deny there is racism in this country," says Yee, who emigrated from China at age 3. "You can't deny that it's important to separate church and state."
Obviously, he's never met a member of the Texas SBOE.
Still, being almost a Texan, we can't help think of the line from the movie Men in Black: "Human thought is so primitive it's looked upon as an infectious disease in some of the better galaxies. That kind of makes you proud, doesn't it?"
Substitute "Texas" for "human" and yeah, it kinda does.