As I'm sure was the case with many of you, I was up in arms when I found out about this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-app_...

Seriously? How do you remove Thomas Jefferson from history? How can anyone justify misrepresenting history in order to push their own agenda?

Thankfully, a friend sent me this NPR interview which helped put things in better perspective.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124737756

Thanks to modern digital publishing techniques, any changes the Texas Board of Education manages to push through after losing some of their big hitters will not have the influence they once did. It is still a serious issue, but not quite as alarming as I thought at first.

The NPR interview really got me thinking, though. Especially the phone calls from individuals who had experienced first-hand the subtle rewording and skewed representation of history. This is not a new controversy. To me, this has really emphasized the need to question everything. Just because something is written in a textbook does not mean it is fact. Real Historians interpret primary documents to develop a good picture of the past, but they are as subject to bias as anyone else and their work is subject to editing.

Unfortunately, the people who need to learn this lesson the most are the children sitting in those History classes right now. Take advantage of any opportunity you have to encourage children to find things out for themselves, rather then taking them at face value from a textbook. While you're at it, encourage yourself to do so as well.


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Tags: Board, Education, Huffington, NPR, Post, Texas, of

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Comment by BacteriaWrangler on March 26, 2010 at 3:31pm
It's disturbingly easy to get caught up in a subject like this. I'm glad I have friends who can help me calm the fervor and get a better perspective. History is embarrassingly my weakest subject, but I still place a high value on it. I have often heard adages along the lines of 'The victor writes the history', but never really considered the impact of the subtle (and not-so-subtle) textbook changes described by the people that actually saw it happen.

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