New Social Studies Textbooks In Texas Do Not Mention KKK Or Jim Crow Laws

We saw it coming. We knew it was nearly inevitable. First, it was creationism in Biology textbooks. Then, it was the battle for Moses in the Social Studies textbooks, which included teaching right-wing political views as history. And finally, they’ve successfully done the impossible. The Washington Post is reporting that this fall, over five million public school students will be taught using  social studies textbooks that do not so much as mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws. In fact, it is reported that the new Texas guidelines for American history “barely address racial segregation.”

And how is the history of the Civil War being taught? Well, it was states’ rights of course!

Pat Hardy, a Republican who sat on the state board of education in 2010, when these new standards were adopted, says:

“There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”

According to Hardy, the issue of slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War” and now that is exactly how it will be taught in public schools in Texas. Children will be learning that the war was driven because of “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” – deliberately documented in that order in the new books.

Amazingly enough, Rod Paige, who is a Republican who served under George W. Bush as education secretary, met this change with criticism:

“I’m of the view that the history of slavery and civil rights are dominant elements of our history and have shaped who we are today. We may not like our history, but it’s history.”

While the fury surrounding the confederate flag continues, we are reminded just why there is so much “pride” on behalf of the southern states – revisionist history. And now, that history is coming to Texas school kids this fall. Pew Research Center conducted a survey in 2011 which showed that nearly half (48 percent) of those asked believe the Civil War was about states’ rights while 38 percent said it was mainly about slavery. Just like Texas’ textbooks, those that argue states’ rights seem to omit the right the south was fighting for: keeping human beings as property.

The civil rights era was an extremely historic time for our country. Yet, kids in Texas won’t be learning the history of Jim Crow laws, the role the KKK played in the oppressive nature of the south, or the impacts of racial segregation. Because apparently knowledge is an extremely dangerous thing when attempting to mold the future base of the grand old party.

How many racism deniers will be created when their public schools omit the important lessons that our history teaches us? Will future generations understand the tragedy that existed in the south that was not only the act of owning and selling human beings, but then also using that as a compelling reason to rally for “states’ rights” TO continue to own and sell human beings as property – so strongly that they were willing to divide the country?

Texas’ schools ranked 39 in the nation – certainly not a stellar grade for the Lone Star State.

Featured image via Wikipedia