I am confident that if socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had brought his campaign entourage to Texas’ larger college campuses, he would have drawn 10,000 enthusiastic supporters at each rally. How could this happen in the reddest of red states? Where does this sympathy for a socialist, anti-American mindset originate?
The only possible conclusion is that it originates in Texas’ public schools. Townhall columnist Jonah Goldberg has observed, “Schools have been force-feeding left-wing propaganda to kids like it was feed for geese in a foie gras factory”.
A recent Pew Research Center study reveals that today’s millennials are the only American demographic group that favors socialism over capitalism.
How does this happen?
In 2010, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted revised standards for the U.S. history and U.S. government (civics) courses. The standards focus on patriotism as required by Texas Education Code 28.002(h), and emphasize America’s heritage: the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and American exceptionalism.
During the subsequent process of translating the SBOE standards into local school district curriculum, the American heritage aspects were often ignored. The approximately 900 small districts that lack the resource to develop their own curriculum adopted the CSCOPE curriculum, developed by the Texas Education Agency’s Regional Service Centers. CSCOPE portrayed America in a negative light, depicting, as one example, the Boston Tea Party as terrorism.
Large districts developed their own curriculum. In my district, Richardson ISD (RISD), curriculum developers initially ignored the standards mandate for our founding principles and American exceptionalism. Having been involved in the SBOE standards development, I was able to negotiate the required items into the ultimate RISD curriculum. It took nearly a year of contentious meetings with reluctant curriculum developers, and escalation to the superintendent, to accomplish this.
Bottom line, there is no formal oversight of public school curriculum development at the district level. Districts are free teach their own versions of U. S. history, based upon the ideology of the school board, superintendents, curriculum developers, administrators and teachers.
Further, during the summer of 2014, the College Board released a new version of its Advanced Placement U.S. history framework. The framework was a relentlessly negative view of American history, emphasizing every problem and failing of our history while ignoring or minimizing America’s achievements. The framework even omitted significant figures in American history, from George Washington to Ben Franklin to Martin Luther King Jr.
While many Texas education leaders are conservative, the overwhelming majority are liberal. Thus, thousands of students across Texas are indoctrinated with negative versions of history and civics that are non-compliant with the Texas standards.
Students carry these misconceptions forward to Texas’ colleges and universities, where the negativism is magnified.
Frequently televised interviews with college students on major university campuses highlight the outcome: Students have little or no knowledge of America’s heritage and history; and they do not accept that America is exceptional. That may be why they enthusiastically welcome Bernie Sanders and his socialist agenda.
Texas high schools graduate some 300,000 seniors into Texas society each year. If the legislature continues to allow the majority of these students to graduate with the Texas education establishment’s generally “contempt-for-America” mindset, it will take only a few years for the left to turn Texas blue.
- Require increased emphasis on Texas Education Code requirements for U.S. history
and civics courses at high school level.
- Create a TEA department of curriculum monitors to conduct random audits of district
- Utilize A through F ratings to impose penalties for districts whose students fail to
demonstrate proficiency in civics and history.
- Require mandatory Western Civilization courses at Texas colleges and universities.