Earlier in the week I wrote about State Rep. Cynthia Davis’ diatribe about the Department of Education’s Race to the Top grant program. Two events today, however, have helped me to better understand the source of Davis’, and, I think, general conservative hysteria about public education.
The first of these events was the decision of the The Texas State Board of Education to revise American history text books in order to better indoctrinate children in right-wing dogma. The second event was the news of the President’s proposed reform of Bush’s odious No Child Left Behind legislation in order to better address desired skill sets and insure that they are taught effectively.
The contrast couldn’t have been any sharper. On the one hand, the Texas board conceives of educational standards as a propaganda tool; on the other, educational standards are meant to insure that individuals have basic skills, as wide a frame of reference as possible, and the critical skills to use it properly.
Which brings me back to Davis, a politician who exudes the paranoid world-view of the far right. She, along with the majority of the members of the Texas State Board of Education, seem to believe that the goal of education is to teach belief systems, not objective facts and critical reasoning skills. Since her conception of appropriate educational goals is so debased, she, of course reacts with panic when she thinks that her perceived adversaries in the great cultural war might be able to do to her children the very thing she would gladly to do the rest of our children.
Which then brings me to the obvious question – how could we have ever permitted someone with such a warped approach to education as Davis to occupy a position where she regularly attempts to influence educational policy for Missouri?