Texas likely is removing Helen Keller from the curriculum

Here is the story, note that Hillary Clinton was removed as well and Billy Graham was added, at least on a preliminary vote.  Various historical figures were assessed for their relevance, and Helen Keller did not receive a high enough score.  Barbara Jordan, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Henry B. González — all figures from Texas history — made it through easily.  Dolores Huerta was added.

On Keller, here is some additional background:

In 1929 and again in 1938 she published books that both contained extended sections defending the Soviet Union—which she maintained was still a more or less democratic workers’ state—and praised the late Vladimir Lenin, whose great legacy rested on how he had helped to sow in Russia “the unshatterable seed of a new life for mankind.”

There is some chance the Texas decision will influence textbooks on a nationwide basis, because Texas is such a large market and publishers wish to market the same book nationally.

Keller should be kept because she is an impressive, focal, and easy to explain example of an individual who overcame disabilities and became prominent and influential.  At the margin, her radicalism is a reason to include her, not to exclude her.  Students should be encouraged to think of America as having had a diverse intellectual history, including radicalism.  That said, the same should hold for a variety of now-disgraced figures on the Right, provided of course that they have meritorious achievements worthy of note, and no this is not by definition impossible.

The first linked article claims that cutting Keller from the curriculum will save forty minutes.  Even if you don’t think Keller is worth exactly forty minutes, surely she is worth more than zero minutes, and besides the teacher simply can talk faster if need be (don’t most teachers talk too slowly?).

I don’t mind keeping the relatively obscure Texas figures in the social studies course of study.  If nothing else, it encourages young Texans to think of themselves as special and to resist assimilation into broader America, again to the benefit of diversity.

Addendum: Keller is a very good choice if you are playing Twenty Questions.  It is unlikely if someone will ask whether you are a famous person connected to the idea of disabilities.  And that reflects exactly why she should be kept in the curriculum.

Second addendum: Here are some other changes:

The board also voted to add back into the curriculum a reference to the “heroism” of the defenders of the Alamo, which had been recommended for elimination, as well as Moses’ influence on the writing of the founding documents, multiple references to “Judeo-Christian” values and a requirement that students explain how the “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” in the Middle East.

Barry Goldwater was removed as well, with Moses replacing Thomas Hobbes.  There will be a chance to overturn these decisions by a final vote in November.



Helen Keller may be deaf, dumb, and blind, but she's still smarter than that moron Trump. As am I.

"There is some chance the Texas decision will influence textbooks on a nationwide basis, because Texas is such a large market and publishers wish to market the same book nationally."

Let's just hope that publishers don't try to market the same textbooks in China as in the US....

Texas is very popular with Third Worlders. I have three examples, independent, where the person specifically mentioned Texas as the state they would most want to live in the USA. Texas is popular with former USSR people, as well as Filipinos. In fact, one such Filipino, whenever I would see him, would smile and only say one word: "Texas".

Most teachers in the US in fact talk way too fast, especially when they speak a register of English their students don't use outside of school. That's an extremely common situation in public schools where many faculties are overwhelmingly white, but the student body has substantial African American and/or ELL populations. This seems especially likely in Texas, given its demographics.

Lecture should also not be the primary mode of learning at any level of education, so the teacher's rate of speech ought not to be the limiting factor in how quickly material can be learned anyway.

Our kids with enormously disparate abilities, interests and potentials are plopped into the same classroom and served the same pablum. Talk about dysfunctional.

Right you are. In high school I was bored out of my mind and just did enough to graduate. I college I strove for a B- in all my courses, and finished in the top one-third, but never tried for straight A's, though I made the honor roll a few times. The grade B minus maximizes work/energy. Since education is signaling it's the best strategy.

Good comments, definitely different kids have different learning styles, and the way that primary and secondary education is usually structured for the small percentage of kids that will have an academic career is also very wasteful. This is why I support vouchers and then parents, kids and schools can decide for themselves what is best for them.

Agreed on all points.

Will just keeping score, that's hate speech and now today, treason.

Billy Graham. Hahahaaaaaahaha!

As someone who probably disagrees with you on most things....

I agree. I don’t see how Billy Graham is remotely important enough to be on the curriculum. Hillary Clinton is an important enough figure to include at least for the next 30 years. First woman major presidential nominee. She deserves a mention.

Then again our history textbook in high school was Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the US.” We skipped the world wars and focused on the labor movement. I vaguely recall spending a few months also on US imperialism, colonialism, and gunboat diplomacy.

Billy Graham was one of the three principle architects of post-ww2 neo-evangelicalism (along with Ockenga and Henry). They took conservative protestantism from the fringe and made it the mainstream religious faith of America. By making evangelicalism mainstream (something no one would have guessed while we Machen was being kicked out of Princeton and Mencken was lampooning Bryan), Graham et. al paved the way for the rise of the religious right. Graham's ecumenism also created the space for historical religious adversaries to work together on policy goals. No Billy Graham, no moral majority, compassionate conservatism, large prolife movement, prison fellowship, etc...

It is impossible to understand the anomalous political path of the US without understanding the role Graham and neo-evangelicalism played in facilitating that path.

Whether you like his influence or not, it is not hard to make the case that he is one of the most important Americans in the second half of the 20th century.

tl;dr he was a lot more than televised crusades

Billy Graham was "remotely important" enough, like Jonathan Edwards in the Great Awakening, but probably not "important" enough. Helen Keller and Hilary Clinton are jokes. Helen Keller is, as Cowen said, an inspiring and interesting figure--- but that's not history, and there are plenty of such people who *did* change the course of the world. As for Clinton, she no more deserves inclusion than Dukakis (first Greek-American nominee!) or Geraldine Ferraro, or any other minor loser.

>First woman major presidential nominee.

Meh. Way back in 1972, an admitted woman was breaking US political glass ceilings long before Hillary. This woman ran for the US Presidential nomination of a major political party, and won several states. And she didn't even have Hillary's white privilege, nor did she debase herself into a sham marriage for the sole purpose of political power.

And you have no idea who she is, do you? That's ok, I'm sure no one reading this does. Wikipedia is your friend.

I remember Shirley Chisholm.

I grew up in Connecticut, and we learned about Helen Keller in the state history of fourth grade, I believe. It never mentioned his radicalism, only that she overcame her disabilities. There was a picture of her as an older woman reading a book.

"Hillary Clinton is an important enough figure to include at least for the next 30 years."

Well then that's not history. We will start to understand Hillary's place in history in about 20-30 years and, at that point, she can either be included or not included in history texts for the next 100 years.

Billy Graham is a cuck who teaches the mind disease known as Cucktianity teaching young men to behave like naive, gullible cucks. Texas is now a cuck state.

I have read this blog since at least 2003. Comments are garbage now.

Second isn't this a reason to expand the number of people included? History is richer than our limited minds.

There's limited classroom time, you're given the choice between completely superficial mentions of a lot of people, or mostly superficial mentions of a slightly fewer people.

Personally, I'd be in favour of more in-depth coverage of fewer figures, analytical skills and deeper knowledge in a few areas are more important than a wide range of trivia memorization.

It should be noted the teachers are allowed to teach things that aren't in the curriculum, this is just the mandatory stuff. That being said the Texas school board seems to be approaching this as a method of partisan indoctrination.

"That being said the Texas school board seems to be approaching this as a method of partisan indoctrination."

If only they objectively selected the people you thought they should pick, Aaron!

Being completely neutral is obvious impossible, but TRYING to be neutral is completely doable.

Treating the school boards as a way to enforce your particular political beliefs is the worst kind of nihilism, those people shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a classroom, much less a curriculum.

Please note that my use of "you" is an ambiguity of the English language. I mean "Whomever is doing this" and not "You the individual". And substituting "one" for "you" seems unnecessarily prissy.

"but TRYING to be neutral is completely doable."

As is accusing people of being partisan or subjective when their attempt at neutrality doesn't meet your standards or agree with your prejudices. Also far more common. And has the side benefit of shifting burden of proof on the other side. YOU don't have to believe in their attempt. THEY have to prove it to you.

> That being said the Texas school board seems to be approaching this as a method of partisan indoctrination.

Yep, and it's deplorable. But something like it is close to inevitable.

And in that context, the US is well served by having 50 states with different tilts, and that in some states individual districts get to play their own game. This is far better than other counties which have as much or more indoctrination, but of a uniform kind.

The comments have always been garbage.

Readers like you make it garbage. Good riddance.

Agree on the comments getting worse over time.

The selection of what to include is one of those characteristics of a majoritarian political system running anything. Instead of individuals getting to decide what is included or what they want to pay to be included, the majority of a geographic area makes one decision for everyone in the area who participates in their "public" result, such as a school system, etc...

When people happen to agree with that decision, the are happy with the process. When they disagree, you get things like TDS sometimes.

'a variety of now-disgraced figures on the Right, provided of course that they have meritorious achievements worthy of note'

Never to early to bring back Nixon as a defense of what real Republicans are able to achieve - the EPA, price controls, and a widening of America's involvement in a long running war, leading to a peace treaty that saw America finally achieve a long lasting peace that has held to this day.

"to early" ?

I decided noting that it should be 'too' was too trivial to be worth commenting on, having seen the mistake right after posting.

This is the internet. You're grammar opinions are never to trivial 2 effect a comment.

Nixon was the one who got us OUT of Vietnam.

Funny how the lefties always mis-remember that, isn't it?

It's also good to query them on which party opposed all the Voting Rights bills in the 60s.

See below about Vietnam, and I'm curious to know when President Johnson became a Republican, as he signed the original Voting Rights bill in the 60s.

However, I think you mean civil rights, as voting rights was just a part of what Johnson signed into law. Apparently when he was a Republican.

Unless someone is mis-remembering their American civil rights legislative history, of course.

Nixon got us out of Vietnam like Hitler got Germany out of WWII.

Yes, was this too obscure? '... leading to a peace treaty that saw America finally achieve a long lasting peace that has held to this day.'

Kissinger got a Nobel Peace Prize after all, even if his Vietnamese counterpart declined his.

OK, apologies to Prior, I misread the comment.

Nixon didn't just "get out" he LOST the damn war and abandoned our allies to leave the country in the hands of a murderous regime. Only a commie traitor like you would talk that.

'And that reflects exactly why she should be kept in the curriculum'

So those who play 20 Questions share a common public figure to figure out?

Sometimes, the amusement provided at MR goes so far beyond trolling or Poe's Law that it is impossible to resist reading to discover a new example. It has been a while where this applies, but truly this is the bast satire site on the web.

With this as an added bonus - 'it encourages young Texans to think of themselves as special and to resist assimilation into broader America.' Is there an entire teenager on the entire planet who needs the help of their elders to feel 'special?'

If the goal is to teach that the disabled (differently abled?) can reach great heights, try Ray Charles. You don't have to be able to see the keys to play piano if you already know where they are. Learning to play, much less learning to play like he did, when completely blind?
Keller managed to reach the level of pandering. Ray Charles wrote "Hit the Road, Jack".

There are two kinds of unpersoning: intentional and attrition. The latter can be that as time goes by, some prominent figures get deleted from history textbooks simply because there are new prominent figures to include and something has gotta go.

If Helen Keller is in danger of intentional unpersoning in the near future it will be because she supported eugenics:


Recently, Terman Middle School in Palo Alto, which was named for the father and son Stanford professors Louis Terman, who introduced IQ testing to America with the Stanford-Binet test, and Fred Terman, who probably has the best claim to be Father of Silicon Valley, was expensively renamed because of Louis Terman's support for eugenics. (Ironically, Terman Middle School's claim to fame is that it has the highest test scores of any public middle school in California on the kind of standardized test that Terman Sr. helped introduce.

Moderates suggested dropping Louis Terman's name from Terman Middle School and keeping it named just after Fred Terman, but apparently Fred's blood was too dysgenically tainted or something.

You think moderates are people who somewhat, but not entirely, believe in whites' genetic supremacy over blacks.

Posts like this are wrong on multiple levels and are a demonstration of why people should read more intellectual history and then try to display cross-temporal empathy. First, the science of the time suggested that Anglo-Saxons specifically, not simply "whites", were more intelligent than blacks, Irish, Italians, Slavs, Jews, Chinese, and just about every other race in the world. IQ was a brand new mechanism, and it appeared to line up well with Darwinian evolution and, on an empirical basis, how the world order was at the time, so anyone who was smart and bourgeios would agree: science tells us Anglo-Saxons are superior to other races. Of course, many of these "permanent" effects went away with time due to the limited understandings of IQ during the Edwardian era, along with the cultural biases of many of the researchers. Plus, there were a lot of hacks, much as there are now, who drew conclusions from research, or did bad research, that they shouldn't have.

Second, "holding people to account" for believing what at the time appeared to be an indisputable scientific fact, the latest cutting-edge research, would be like punishing the people of today who believe in Darwinian evolution when, 80 years from now, it turns out there was something very wrong with theory. If "blacks are inferior to whites" was the only thing of note Terman ever did, then I can see removing him from memorials, the same way we don't memorialize Aryan race theorists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who built their careers solely on that and worked on nothing else, and whose work relied mostly on prejudiced speculation the way many "critical" or "theoretical" academics do today. But IQ has endured for over 120 years at this point, and Terman did much work in psychometrics and had many other, more acceptable beliefs beyond simply being an advocate of eugenics.

I doubt it, Steve. Margaret Sanger is the High Queen of Eugenics, and you can't go a week during election season without some Dem praising her to the heavens.

Support for eugenics is not a deal-breaker in lefty circles.

Well sure not when it's offset by other things cared about is it a problem in lefty circles. With Terman I think he's still in trouble.

Terman's name is on several buildings and places on the Stanford campus. I wonder if Stanford might follow Palo Alto's example and replace his name too.

Palo Alto also dropped David Starr Jordan's name from one of its other middle schools. He was Stanford University's first president - for over 20 years - and literally built that university from the ground up. So two of three Palo Alto middle schools had their names changed this past year. And the third middle school, JLS (Jane Leland Stanford), was originally named after Ray Wilbur, and the name change occurred about 30 years.

Palo Alto has a lot of smart people and kids but can be very dumb at the same time.

I wrote up Fred Terman's claim to be the Father of Silicon Valley in 2012:


When you look at real estate prices and school test scores in Palo Alto today, it's almost as if Louis Terman was on to something 100 years ago when he suggested America should use standardized tests to find smart people and put them in proximity to each other.

Of course, we all know that can't possibly be true...


I don't know if you are aware that the city of Palo Alto has a local ordinance (for many years now) that requires its schools to enroll a certain percentage of kids from East Palo Alto. This obviously reduces the overall average test scores for Palo Alto schools, so imagine how much higher Terman's (other PA schools) scores would be if they didn't have to accept the kids from East PA.

Nearby Cupertino and Saratoga schools, which are predominately Chinese and Indian, do not have the handicap that Palo Alto schools have of accepting East Palo Alto kids. So I'm surprised that Terman in Palo Alto has higher test scores than these other districts.

One more thing, Steve. Palo Alto still has one advantage Cupertino and Saratoga. A greater percentage of Jewish kids. Even though the number of Jewish kids in Palo Alto has declined over the years, their higher IQs at least compensate for the lower IQ East Palo Alto kids.

Seems like Harry Laughlin's blood was too dysgenically tainted or something for this comment section, though one assumes that this was a case of intentional unpersoning.

Which considering his role in Virginia's history is fascinating.

Being educated in how Helen Keller communicated is just signalling.

A number of Texans on the state board of ed have tried to challenge evolution and include creationism in their curriculum and textbooks for a while. They seem to have mostly lost that fight last year but not without making some inane tweaks.


I read that and your comment is simply false. The alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy of random Darwinian evolution is not creationism, but rather intelligent design (ID). ID theory does not tell you who the designer is but only that living beings were designed.

Random Darwinian evolution theory has many holes, such as no plausible theory as to the origin of life itself. Darwin believed that it could have occurred in some "warm little pond". RDE also has no explanation of the sudden emergence of many new life forms and body plans in the Cambrian period. Those two points only scratch the surface.

Fred Hoyle, though an atheist, believed that the development of proteins, and thus life, was so far beyond random processes, that he supported the theory of panspermia. A little contemplation of the vastness of protein space compared to actual proteins will illustrate the inadequacy of random processes to create one protein, let alone the many required by living beings.

Richard Dawkins stated that: "Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist". RDE is the linchpin of the modern atheistic worldview and as thus it it typically defended by straw man attacks such as yours. ID does not tell us "who", but the question it poses makes atheists uncomfortable.

Creationism: God created man out of some clay and stuff he found lying around about 4,000 years ago.

Science: ahem

Intelligent design: um actually we meant single cell creatures

Evolutionary theory is a description of how life has changed. It is not an account of life's origins. It is like criticizing plate tectonics for failing to explain how the earth formed.

Hoyle was a brilliant and creative scientist who trailblazed humanity's understanding of nucleosynthesis. His creativity also produced a lot of wrong ideas. But besides that, there has been a huge amount of work on how life may have gotten its start. We are not there yet, but the progress is fascinating. The ngVLA and SKA will provide immensely helpful data on chemical evolution in planet forming disks, and our chemical networks are growing in sophistication so that we can model environments Hoyle never dreamed of.

This is the type of curriculum I hated back in the 50s and 60s. Fortunately, almost all my teachers did as well.

Helen Keller is a figure in disability rights which is civil rights and today we try to include everyone in all parts of society, not lock them away someplace hidden. Most kids in school encounter kids with disabilities. Before "mainstreaming" my generation had kids with polio, clanking around on crutches. In Indiana, a farm kid or two with pincher hand. Today the diversity of disabilities is greater. It's not so important who, in my view, but that many civil rights activists included them, notably in Special Olympics.

Fortunately, Jill Lepore has written a book that covers it all (American history, that is). It's all there, the great achievements and the horrors. Here is Andrew Sullivan's review: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/books/review/jill-lepore-these-truths.html As for school curriculum, I have commented before about my state's required high school class in the 1960s called Problems in American Democracy (PAD). Of course, the title misleads: the class was actually about the Communist menace; indeed, our instructor could find no problems in American democracy. And this was the 1960s when all one had to do was open one's eyes to see.

The disappearance of Ms. Keller can't match the disappearance of China's most famous actress: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/world/asia/china-fan-bingbing.html

Such is life in Trump's America.

"Winston did not know why Withers had been disgraced. Perhaps it was for corruption or incompetence. Perhaps Big Brother was merely getting rid of a too-popular subordinate. Perhaps Withers or someone close to him had been suspected of heretical tendencies. Or perhaps -- what was likeliest of all -- the thing had simply happened because purges and vaporizations were a necessary part of the mechanics of government. The only real clue lay in the words 'refs unpersons', which indicated that Withers was already dead. You could not invariably assume this to be the case when people were arrested. Sometimes they were released and allowed to remain at liberty for as much as a year or two years before being executed. Very occasionally some person whom you had believed dead long since would make a ghostly reappearance at some public trial where he would implicate hundreds of others by his testimony before vanishing, this time for ever. Withers, however, was already an unperson. He did not exist: he had never existed. Winston decided that it would not be enough simply to reverse the tendency of Big Brother's speech. It was better to make it deal with something totally unconnected with its original subject.

He might turn the speech into the usual denunciation of traitors and thought-criminals, but that was a little too obvious, while to invent a victory at the front, or some triumph of over-production in the Ninth Three-Year Plan, might complicate the records too much. What was needed was a piece of pure fantasy. Suddenly there sprang into his mind, ready made as it were, the image of a certain Comrade Ogilvy, who had recently died in battle, in heroic circumstances. There were occasions when Big Brother devoted his Order for the Day to commemorating some humble, rank-and-file Party member whose life and death he held up as an example worthy to be followed. To-day he should commemorate Comrade Ogilvy. It was true that there was no such person as Comrade Ogilvy, but a few lines of print and a couple of faked photographs would soon bring him into existence." 1984 by George Orwell

Read all these and tell me if you notice any updates from year to year beyond headline making news.


Not likely.

I would submit that we do not need Ms. Keller to discuss overcoming disability. After all FDR was disabled by polio and Santa Anna was an amputee. There are many others in history who both overcame disability and much more visibly impacted the course of history (Bob Dole, John McCain, Stephen Hawking, George Wallace, or Adolph Hitler).

What Ms. Keller used to offer was a story without ethical qualms or political entanglements. As her views on Leninism and eugenics become more well known she serves this function less. Harriet Tubman or Jim Abbott might fit the bill these days.

Frankly, I expect Tubman is a much better fit for Texas. She was radically pro-firearms, heavily religious, had a strong military background.

"Frankly, I expect Tubman is a much better fit for Texas. She was radically pro-firearms, heavily religious, had a strong military background."

You mean, you could erect statues of her besides Lee and Stonewall Jackson's?

Well, why not?

Lots of intellectuals were pro-Commie back in the mid-20th century. It was the fad after eugenics went out of fashion. We shouldn't hide this from our history books.

High school in Texas:

oh ffs why dont they just secede already and get it over with

Hard to see that this is much of a loss for the kids of Texas.I doubt many kids today would have heard of her and it is hard to explain why they should have heard of her. In my generation she was primarily a butt of jokes, .e.g., why did Helen Keller do X? and I doubt even then any of us knew what she had accomplished.

Some kids who weren't completely side-tracked by the jokes found her story eye-opening to the existence of other life experiences and ways of being.

Moses? Is this for a course on fiction?

Yup, talk about your buried lede

Goldwater was recommended for removal, along with Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation and the NRA.

One way to read this is that the Texas State Board of Education is an organization that likes to see its name in media reports every, year good or bad.

They are elected officials, and I wonder how often on the campaign trail these incumbents are asked why they seem to take positions every year which run against the curriculum of the State's own public university systems.

"a requirement that students explain how the “Arab rejection of the State of Israel has led to ongoing conflict” in the Middle East."

That's quite a neocon perspective on the problem. How about a requirement that students explain how "Nelson Mandela and his movement's rejection of Apartheid led to ongoing conflict in South Africa."

Blacks being against slavery also helped cause the Civil War.

As I see it, the main problem here is the this "land of freedom" decides textbooks at the state level.

.. speaking from a state which allows textbooks to be chosen at the district level. More freedom, in this case.

Did everyone on this libertarian page miss this?

".. speaking from a state which allows textbooks to be chosen at the district level. More freedom, in this case.

Did everyone on this libertarian page miss this?"

Would the most libertarian method be having each student pick their own textbook? Actually, "textbook" is a little limiting, maybe they could pick their own Youtube series to watch.

I'm sure they support free choice by charter schools, but I would hope they also support small public districts and local control through school boards and the PTA.

It's really funny when you think about it, all the usual haters on "government schools" give it a pass because it's Texas.

More precisely, they give it a pass because it conforms to a right wing, anti-left agenda

Who gave it a pass here ? You live in your own alternate reality. Obviously removing Keller is stupid, as is the reference to the non-historical character of Moses in an History curriculum (they could have said "influenced by the bible" or "by the ten commandments" rather than "by Moses") and several other things decided by this board.

"Who gave it a pass here ?"

When I made my comment no one here, including Tyler in his original post, suggested that a state-level bureaucracy should not be choosing text books for the whole population.

the non-historical character of Moses

You've stolen a base there.

No clue why you fancy removing Keller is 'stupid'. She's a curio, a human interest story. Not much more.

This article covers what I'm talking about, the architecture that gives the State of Texas control over all textbooks, and the part you are talking about, the individual decisions they make:


I'm saying the big fat mistake is the one that concentrates the decision at the state level, and not the small details, paragraph by paragraph, in the books themselves.

Just have the Texas history teachers play the Ballad of the Alamo and leave it at that.

The place keeps falling to foreign attack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCxnx_OEPuY

Moses’ influences the founding documents???

Pray tell.

You'll notice that unicorns do not appear anywhere in the Declaration of Independence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4bc9UwZsYs

Oh wait, that was Noah. My bad.

A lot of western law is based on the ten commandments. For many times, the Church was the only law in the past 2000 years. You really need to etison a lot of history to not acknowledge that.

I dare you find three Texas high school seniors who can trace a line from the Old Testament and the Greek philosophers through the Roman Empire and and the Renaissance to the Magna Carta, Martin Luther, the Enlightenment and the American Constitution and France's Rights of Man.

Sounds great, but get real.

Umm, I don't agree with the idea of having Moses in the curriculum, but that's an outstandingly weak rebuttal.

I suspect it wouldn't be too hard to find 3 Texas high school seniors that would note that:

First, you can trace a line from the Old Testament directly to the Roman Empire, so adding the Greek philosophers is a wild card. Secondly, the Magna Carta predates the Renaissance by centuries.

"The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

Ratified by the Senate and signed in 1797 by President John Adams. Wow even those Founding Fathers were a bunch of social justice warriors that hate baby Jesus.

I'd be surprised if most classes get much further than about 1900 anyway.

Agree. Modern history is hurriedly crammed into the last weeks of school because time has run out.

"In 1929 and again in 1938 she published books that both contained extended sections defending the Soviet Union"

In her defense, at the time she wasn't the only one who couldn't see the obvious.

Why this Niagara of attention to the yahoos of Texas while there is a complete blackout on the Howard Zinning of the rest of American education?

Maybe because it isn't happening...


It’s only used as a textbook in AP US history. Only 400,000 students take the exam every year out of 15 something million students.

The Howard Zinn’ing, as it were, only occurs among the students attempting to get into good universities.

Yes, we need more people praising the Soviet Union and socialism. Throw Solzhenitzyn in the garbage can.

Actually, other than Stephen Austin and Billy Graham, none of those people belong in secondary school history surveys, in Texas or anywhere else. Neither Graham nor Austin merit much ink and in Graham's case, it would be material at the very end of the course that teachers commonly do not reach.

What's in the first half of the book is more important than the last half. Many American History classes will dwell on the civil war and then skim the remainder before running out of time.

"That said, the same should hold for a variety of now-disgraced figures on the Right, provided of course that they have meritorious achievements worthy of note." I'm curious who is on this list? Only some poets and sci-fi authors come mind--maybe I'm not very up to date on this issue.

As for HK's defense of the Soviet Union in 1929 and 1939... How thoroughly disgraceful is this support? It seems clearly wrong now that we have Gulag Archipelago (1973), for example, but wasn't there a sense in the 1930s that if one opposed Nazi Germany and the spread of fascism, one might also have sympathy for the Soviets as a counter force? Isn't this what motivated Oppenheimer, for example, to research communist ideas? And wouldn't it be understandable in the midst of the Great Depression to hope that communism might offer a way out? I further note from her Wikipedia page that she supported eugenics. As I read more about her, it occurs to me that her advocacy for the physically disabled is not necessarily the most interesting thing about her.

Franky, the whole idea of removing someone of note because of whatever views they might have developed or written later in life is misguided. If she's worth studying, she's worth studying.

Next they'll try and get rid of Martin Luther King because he evolved from civil rights to class. Oh wait.

Interesting point.

We study Erich van Manstein regardless of his Nazi affiliation because he was a brilliant tactician and strategic genius. To students of military theory and practice the political end is irrelevant, he still has much to teach. But we don’t celebrate him or his victories. We take his accomplishments and learn from them.

What does HK teach us that is so special and brilliant that it overcomes her support for mass genocide, intentional starvation, and murder?

Or is only the lesson important and the politics irrelevant?

In that case the lesson is overcoming adversity and disability. A serial killer overcoming a disability is just as laudable?

What principle do we use in evaluating lessons imparted versus horrible ends, advocated or realized?

I think a fair treatment would say that HK advocated for mass genocide, starvation, and murder. But she overcame her disability to advocate for her horrible beliefs.

It might be educational to expose students to people who held ideas that seemed right at the time for good reasons but later turned out to be wrong. Or to put it another way, acceptable ideas that later became unacceptable

And vice-versa.

Trying to brainwash kids by dosing them on "rah-rah, we're No. 1, America is the Best" heroes is likely to backfire (when they realize the heroes were raping their slaves, for example---albeit it is unacceptable these days to have and rape slaves because it makes other people feel uncomfortable, unsafe, marginalized, and unequal).

As a college professor, it astonishes me that a state board decides these things.

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