Sunday, October 3, 2010

Words Matter

Have you seen the 300 revisions in the Texas Social Studies Textbooks?
I was curious enough to search them out. Yes, I did this on my free time of my own free will, don't judge me.
There are some interesting points... just food for thought.
I placed a link to the site where you can look over them all on your own and see what sticks with you.
I'm going to read through them right now and post my reflections as I go along... little things that I notice as I read through the revisions, some that bother me, some that seem fine to me, some will surely strike the funny bone, to be sure.
I want to hear what do you think?
Okay, let's start in Kinder and work our way up through the revisions.

*Ordinary citizens have been replaced by patriots and good citizens. I usually like ordinary people but we didn't make the cut.
*This one I like: Capitalism is taught in Kindergarten (trust me, it's being taught in my house at Preschool age - my 4 year old runs a hard bargain.
*Veterans Day was added, which I thought I'd learned anyhow but John Smith was erradicated and I really can't tell you off hand who he is - wait - I think he was in a Disney cartoon with Pocahantos?
*The environment was deleted from Geography and isn't that like using a double negative?
*Modern technology was added in kinder, we'll have the kids show the teacher how to reboot their iphone for this one.
*The word "VALID" was added to several sentences as before, they must have been teaching invalid things. "?"
In Grade one revisions, 'ordinary people' have once again been deleted and I think this could somehow be turned into a drinking game, have a shot whenever you see the deletion of "ordinary people" - but that's why I'm still in this category.
*Free Enterprise was added again in first grade - and I think that Texas will have the most aggressive Lemonaide stands in the nation!
*Just noticing the "constitution" is added in several times already - I like the constitution, I learned about it, but why do I get the feeling that the Tea Party is going to pop out any moment now?
*Whoa - they just took away MLK day... gotta wonder about that one... and put in San Jacinto day - I'll have to google that one, but it's gotta be a local thing - I'll have to ask my Texas neighbors.
(OH HA HA - Big Laugh - I just googled it - it's when Texas won independence from Mexico... Yes, I'm California educated.)
*Take a shot, 'ordinary people' have been deleted again!
*MLK is back! He's like Jesus. Richard Allen was added, and damn, I'm going to have to google again. This is a first grade standard, Texas first graders are smart. (Oh, he's a bishop, hmmm, that's an interesting addition)
*Some things look to be taken out but when you read through, they pop up elsewhere, so no one panic when you see they've deleted the calendar.
*The 'environment' has been deleted from Geography again - and I'm thinking it's all Al Gore's fault. But maybe I'm reading into it - like all the adults that thought Kati Perry was sexing up Elmo when it really was platonic.
*I'm serious. Grade 1, standard 7 - Economics has replaced Culture. Ha ha ha. Of course it has! This is America silly.
*YES! 'Ordinary people' deleted again, take another shot.
*A definition has been added to "good citizenship" because as ordinary people, we obviously can't define this on our own.
*Clara Barton has been deleted. Apparently beginning the American Red Cross didn't make her anything more than an "ordinary person" and they've been deleted (take a shot)
*Nathan Hale is gone, sorry dude, I have to google you so I can't say as I'll miss em.
*Benjamin Franklin was added, but I find his initial absense suspicious.
*Take a shot (that means another 'ordinary people' has been deleted)
*I'm seeing a thread of patriotism and constitution running through here as added revisions... I can see Walmart stocking shelves with more red, white and blue right now. (I'm being sassy. That was not in my core curriculum, it just came as an extracurricular in High School).
*GRADE 2 is looking similar to the last two, more constitution, which is great,in my opinion, but then there's this addition where it focuses on how we've failed or upheld that document and that makes my nose itch.
*Oh! Another 'ordinary people' bites the dust, take a shot.
*Henrietta King was deleted and I just have to say, there aren't enough women in the books already people. This is the first one that actually bothers me, this accumulating hacking away at women's place in history. But they do teach in Iran that we are second class citizens, maybe this is just a bit more sublte.
*Irma Rangel was added, maybe I just got my panties in a wad. Don't mess with the girls!
*W.E.B. DuBois was added, and I think that's good. But how interesting that we get to pick and choose, a bit like gods. If God existed, but I haven't found it in the curriculum yet. I'll keep reading.
*Mining coal has been replaced by drilling of oil and for some reason, Texas, this also makes me giggle.
*identify functions of governments such as establishing order, providing security, and managing conflict; (I had to copy and paste that one... did it make anyone else think of Haliburton?)
*Yay - I like Grade 1 12-D - they added in volunteering and citizen participation... maybe I should try one of those out.
*Take a shot (yes, Ordinary People has been found deleted again) - this is fun but I'm getting a buzz.
*Culture has been added back... phew.
*GRADE 3 and it looks about the same as the previous grades...
*Take a shot.
*Grade 4 - my favorite because I taught it for so long in California...
*The Western Hemisphere has been replaced by North America - shh, don't tell Mexico, we already took Texas from them!
*Celebrate Freedom Week is the longest addition I've seen so far, and I like to celebrate it daily with a glass of Pinot Noir personally.
*Native Americans have turned into American Indians, keep up!
*Mexico's independence from Spain has been deleted. I wonder why?
*How cute, they've added in the impact of oil on Texas and it makes me think they'll make little oil well models, like California 4th graders make little Mission models. BP will be sponsoring this.
*Miriam Ferguson has been replaced by Bessie Coleman... ?
*The Western Hemisphere is about as popular as ordinary people... we should take a pity shot for it.
*5th Grade and I'm getting bored.
*Yankee Doodle has been deleted and I just want to say that song is annoying anyhow.
*Capitolism and Free market pop up throughout all of the grades as an added revision. This seems to be the biggest change thus far, and it doesn't scare me.
*Cesar Chavez was deleted along with Ben Franklin so I'm thinking maybe Cesar will pop up later. Like Ben has previously. It will bother me if he disappears altogether.
*Yankee Doodle is back. Damn.
*environmental changes have been deleted. It's so nice of Texas to take care of all our silly global problems like that, how thoughtful.

OKAY - I'm not going into Junior High or High School, I only teach Elementary grades and I'm tired from taking so many shots by now.

Final thoughts:
*** REALLY, by deleting people, they just taught the world more about those who are gone, because we all have to google them to figure their importance in order to be righteously angered over their absence. It's like censorship and burning books, it just makes me want to see it or read it more. And I'm "ordinary people".

Have any of you looked over the changes? Thus far, I'm thinkig the nation will survive this curriculum revision and I can rest well. I was ready to go on a soapbox but I'm not finding one here - just a shake of the head and a scratch of the chin on some.

Good Night Clara Barton. (you remember who she is?)

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