Another Brick in the Wall

Of all the stupidities in the new Texas social studies curriculum, this is probably the most telling:

Rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop: Students will have to study a list of influential musical and cultural movements in America that includes rock ‘n’ roll, Tin Pan Alley, country music and the Beat generation. Social conservatives beat back an effort to include hip-hop music after some members complained that its often-crude lyrics are inappropriate for students.

It’s one level of power to slant history towards conservative icons like Joe McCarthy. It’s quite another to remove a touchstone like this from a history textbook.

Any kid with a decent bullshit detector is going to be appropriately skeptical about, and ultimately alienated by, a book that doesn’t include a mention of the music he or she hears every day. Though I’m sure that alienating minorities wasn’t the main goal of the Texas State Board of Education, it’s certainly a welcome additional benefit.






118 replies
  1. 1
    Ash Can says:

    I’m sure that alienating minorities wasn’t the main goal of the Texas State Board of Education

    “Alienating,” no. “Keeping them in their place,” well, that’s more like it.

  2. 2
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    More get off of my racist lawn. Because Nine Inch Nails is so much more refined than Sir Mix a Lot.

  3. 3
    chrome agnomen says:

    i blame that damn bill haley and the comets.

  4. 4
    Amy says:

    I am planning on contacting my local school board to ask them about their textbook adoption policies and to work to make sure that the new ones from Texas do not get into my district’s schools. I sure hope everyone else here will do the same thing.

  5. 5

    often-crude lyrics are inappropriate for students.

    Unless the “rock n’ roll” portion consists of Pat Boone and Donnie & Marie the fuckheads who insisted on that one are letting their white sheets show.

  6. 6
    Dannie22 says:

    I’m sure alienating minorities was a HUGE part of why the Texas school board wants to rewrite history. In fact, I would guess it would be the principal reason.

    Don’t call it whitewash for nothing.

  7. 7
    WereBear says:

    Once again, they show it really is all about the racism.

    I’m always taken aback by it; and yet it continues.

    I guess they gotta die off, and forgive me for sometimes wishing it can’t happen soon enough.

  8. 8
    JAHILL10 says:

    Pity the kids who are going to be suffering the cognitive dissonance created by these white blinders-on world views. Kids aren’t stupid, my guess is, it will just make more of them conclude that education has no relation to the “real world.”

    Besides, how are they going to whitewash rock ‘n’ roll? Hello? Anyone heard of Jimi Hendrix?

  9. 9
    bkny says:

    uh, does anyone realize that white suburban kids are a significant part of the market for rap music.

  10. 10
    greennotGreen says:

    Let’s not overreact. When have you ever been in a history class that actually made it all the way through the book? From my experience, I’m pretty sure that if they actually have time to discuss popular music, they’re going to end with the Big Bands.

  11. 11

    Those old white guys are stupid. [and women if they are involved]

    Don’t Try To Mess With The Music!

    Orthodox segments of the USSR and orthodox rulers of Islamic areas tried to keep jazz and rock-and-roll from contaminating their young people for a long time. It didn’t work. These guys won’t succeed in repressing hip-hop.

    And no, I am not a fan of hip-hop. Maybe I don’t understand it. But I do understand the passion the kids have for this music. And I am a fan of that passion.

  12. 12

    @bkny: But if adults don’t tell kids about things, they’ll never find out on their own!

  13. 13
    Cat Lady says:

    Will the University of Texas be able to admit any of these edumucated kids, or will they have to have a tracking system – one for the kids from out of state, and a retard track for their own. There are some interesting unintended consequences to watch with this. Popcorn plz!

  14. 14
    donnah says:

    And racism will never die. Because those who embrace an all-white Christianist society will continue their fight to keep segregating themselves and their offspring from other races/classes/religions. They will continue to spread like kudzu, sending out these little hateful messages through textbooks, through hate groups, through their churches. It’s always “Us” vs “Them” and it’s the whites against the browns, blacks, Muslims, Jews, “illegals”…it really doesn’t matter, they hate them all equally.

    They’ll continue to try to make their own history, rewrite what really happened to suit their own narrow, hateful agenda. We just have to fight back. Shine light on this insanity, make them call it what it is: racism. hatred. privilege.

    I wish it didn’t have to be an ongoing fight, but I suspect it will be.

  15. 15
    debbie says:

    It’s not a given anymore that every school district in the country will be using the same curriculum as Texas. There’s plenty of new technologies, like on-demand publishing, that will enable publishers to keep more than one type of book in stock. If faced with the prospect of serving only one curriculum and subsequently losing sales to school districts who don’t want that curriculum, I’m betting that publishers will adapt pretty quickly and offer a range of texts.

    All this really does is make Texas look stupid.

  16. 16
    Honus says:

    @debbie:”all this really does is make Texas look stupid.”

    If that had any mitigating effect…

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:

    For once, I applaud the textbook writers. Rap and hip-hop are 99.99998 percent unlistenable, amusical crap that won’t stand the test of time. I would go so far as to say that in the entire history of rap music, there have only been two songs worth listening to: “The Message” and “Fuck Tha Police.”

    Force-feed the little heathens Bach and Miles Davis until their ears bleed.

    And don’t even look at my lawn.

    RIP, Hank Jones, who died last week at the age of 91 and was still making great jazz right up to the end.

  18. 18
    Apsaras says:

    “Parents just don’t understand” – Crude filth that won’t be taught to MY kids, by gawd.

    “Start me up” – A fun song we can get the whole junior choir singing along to. Timmy’s especially got the “you make a dead man come” line down.

  19. 19
    Mike Kay says:

    @burnspbesq: typical mets fan.

  20. 20
    beltane says:

    If hip-hop isn’t included, then neither should country music. It is the music of one particular and isolated ethnic group and it’s exclusively about people who can’t get their shit together despite the advantage of their white skin. Country music is just about the most relentlessly negative, soul deadening stuff you could ever want to hear and it has no place in a school curriculum. F–k Texas.

  21. 21
    jayackroyd says:

    It is just “social studies.” Nobody pays attention to that crap anyway. It’s not like telling kids that condoms don’t work, or that evolution is an open question.

  22. 22
    jb says:

    burnspbesq: I tend to agree with you (especially about Miles Davis), but as a former social studies teacher, I think there’s some value in teaching rap and hip-hop as a part of history–there’s a chance kids might actually be interested in it, for one thing. Alas, the most interesting way to teach it is within the broader picture of the co-opting/”sanitizing” of black musical styles by whites, which has gone on in various ways since Reconstruction.

    Which wouldn’t go over well in Texas, I grant you.

  23. 23
    MikeJ says:

    They seem to have forgotten what the name “rock ‘n roll” means: fucking. It’s music to fuck by. Fuck music, with strong beats to match the tempo of your fucking and lyrics about fucking.

    And they say Will Smith talking about how parents just don’t understand is inappropriate.

  24. 24
    jrg says:

    I love it how “social conservatives” stand in opposition to educational research and most historians on the basis of their political beliefs, then blame historians and educators of basing policy on left-wing bias.

    Hey morons – the truth is the truth. Just because you don’t see the point of learning the truth does not make those who want to teach it biased, it makes you a stupid fucking hick.

  25. 25
    Jennifer says:

    As I noted over at Steve Benen’s, there are some potentially positive things that may come out of this.

    Most people don’t realize how monopolistic the textbook market has become. Over the past 15 years we’ve gone from about 15 major textbook publishers to 4 gargantuan ones. It hasn’t been good for the schools or for the people who work for the publishers, and really hasn’t been all that great for the publishers themselves – several of them borrowed so heavily in order to swallow their competitors that the economic crash in fall 2008 almost put them under. Houghton-Harcourt alone laid off 700 employees, many of them on the sales end of the business, which has resulted in bigger territories and worse customer service for the schools they sell to. Keep in mind that before the merger Houghton Mifflin already had purchased McDougal-Littel and between those two divisions owned Steck-Vaughn, Rigby, and 4 or 5 other former smaller publishers; Harcourt owned Holt-Rhinehart and had bought up 4 or 5 smaller publishers themselves. And because producing 4 or 5 different versions of texts costs more money, what happened in most of these mergers is that most titles were dropped. So it had already gotten to the point where the market increasingly consisted of fewer choices at much higher prices, which the companies were charging not only to help pay off merger debt but also just because they could. Wages for employees went through a similar transformation – prior to 2000, there were quite a few independent sales reps; after the mergers most of these were forced to become company reps at 1/3 the pay and double the hours, or to get out of the business altogether. I know, because I was one of the ones who got out. In the 10 years since, every rep I knew who worked for a competitor has done the same. So like everything else, the last ten years in educational publishing has devolved into a model where the plebes work more for less, the customer pays more for less, and the bloated executives and shareholders skim an ever-increasing percentage of revenue off the top.

    So…I see the Texas situation having 4 possible outcomes, most of which are positive. The first possibility is that other states will refuse to buy what the publishers produce for Texas, which will require them to re-diversify their offerings if they hope to sell anywhere outside the state, at a cost of several hundred million per publisher. The second possibility is that the publishers will simply bow to Texas’ demands and expect the other states to go along with ahistorical bullshit in their $70 textbooks (yes, that’s about what they are charging now), with the result that many states may decide to continue using the books they’ve been using for the past several years, which will make the publishing conglomerates’ debt service untenable and hopefully require each of them to start selling off divisions. Lord knows they can’t make more by cutting staff or increasing prices, since they’ve already pushed each of those cost-cutting strategies to the limit. The third possibility, an outgrowth of the second, is that smaller publishing houses will step up to produce materials for the rest of the country and in doing so, introduce some choice and competition back into the market. The fourth, and least likely possibility as I see it is that every state in the country will just go along and buy whatever garbage Texas buys. This just isn’t going to happen; certainly places like Oklahoma might go along with it, but there’s going to be a major shitstorm in Northeastern and West Coast states over these texts, and they won’t get approved or adopted in any of these most-populous states.

    I for one am grateful to a certain degree that the issue has come up – no one has been paying attention to what has been going on in this sector of the economy over the past 15 years or so, but we’re all already paying for it, since public schools are essentially held hostage by these publishers who have been taking an ever-increasing bite of the pie from public school funding every year – a bite that has been coming out of all of our pockets and going into the pockets of a few publishing executives and company shareholders. Hopefully the situation in Texas will shine a light on all of this.

  26. 26
    beltane says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor: If white people say it, it’s not crude. Does this now mean that The Clash’s Sandinista album will be taught to the kids in its entirety? If so, I could be brought around to support this move.

  27. 27
    aimai says:

    @debbie:

    I really want someone to start a website called

    Texas, the Secret History or America: the Secret History which would essentially be a top flight middle school and high school curriculum: lectures, reading lists, etc…that includes everything kids get at, say, a good private prep school.

    High school kids could log on and essentially take a good high school curriculum for free. You could sell “seats” to schools with good curricula and let texas teens log on for free.

    I realize there would be problems with copywrite with published works but I really don’t see why you couldn’t get some good historians to essentially write a free textbook–its not like the Texas Textbooks are written by historians. They are written by hacks like the kind who write Tom Swift or Nancy Drew. Just get some specialist to agree to write each chapter for free and limit quotations and links to “fair use” and free.

    aimai

    I

  28. 28
    wlrube says:

    Hip hop lyrics are too inappropriate? Are these guys kidding? Have any of them ever sat down and seriously listened to early jazz? Songs like “Wild About That Thing,” “Take Me For A Buggy Ride” and “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl” mean exactly what you think they mean.

    All you guys who are trashing hip hop, you’re on the wrong side of history. But I’m sure you’re aware enough that deep down you already know that.

  29. 29
    jwb says:

    Might turn out to be a moot point, since Texas is facing a huge budget deficit.

    One option currently on the table is to save money by postponing buying textbooks for two years and supplementing the current text from web sources. Or so they say. There’s a fairly large group of Republicans who are not any happier with these new standards than we are, and they had some success in knocking out the crazies from the board in the recent primary. Moreover, as I understand it, the web sources are controlled by a different government entity than the textbooks, so they wouldn’t be bound by the dictates of the board.

    So one reading is that the very real budget deficit is being used as a way to postpone adoption of textbooks until a new board can be elected and hopefully reset the standards to something sensible.

  30. 30
    gbear says:

    Everything will be cool once the kids learn how very hip Pat Boone is. He made Little Richard’s music listenable, you know…

  31. 31
    aimai says:

    While my comment is in moderation I’ll say something different that hopefully won’t trigger the angry mod god.

    I think this may really be a tipping point. The Texas stranglehold on textbooks has been a scandal for more than twenty years–this is nothing new–but this time its so egregious, and California’s response is so dramatic–that it really may force school systems to reject these textbooks outright. The logic of the market was that as long as all other school systems went along with the bowlderized versions then: profit! But once enough other school systems start rejecting the texas version, given the new technologies that are fast making textbooks obsolete, I just don’t see how the textbook market continues to homogenize to the right instead of fracturing.

    aimai

  32. 32
    Bill H says:

    Any kid with a decent bullshit detector is going to be appropriately skeptical about, and ultimately alienated by, a book that doesn’t include a mention of the music he or she hears every day.

    Well, I can think of many criticisms about the Texas history, repeat history, curriculum, but what kind of bullshit is it to be expecting today’s music to be included in history books? It’s history, a study of the past, for heaven’s sake. Why should it include today’s music?

    Okay, I misread. The topic of Texas’ stupidity has been the history books to this point, and I overlooked the change of subject to social studies. I will just say that nothing after Buddy Holly is music anyway, so…

  33. 33
    mslarry says:

    @Dannie22:
    But the thing is… by not including hip-hop, they’re alienating white kids as well. What they fail to realize is that hip hop crosses all racial barriers and in fact, more white kids buy hip hop albums than minorities. I’d be hard pressed to find any kid btwn the ages of 10 and 18 who can’t quote a lyric or two from Jay-Z or Eminem.

    At one point, HIP HOP WAS THE ONLY THING keeping the music industry afloat. That wasn’t accomplished simply with black and brown folks dollars.

    This whole thing is freakin’ stupid. F-ck TEXAS!

  34. 34
    beltane says:

    @Jennifer: The price of textbooks has become completely unsustainable regardless of content. Another thing I have noticed with my older kids (grades 7 & 9) is that they are far less reliant on textbooks than we were back in the 80’s. They are using a lot more primary source material, with the textbook, if its used at all, taking a back seat.

    Perhaps as Texas has taken a bigger role in writing the textbooks, the textbooks themselves have become marginalized.

  35. 35
    MikeJ says:

    @aimai: If California explicitly states they won’t buy TX approved textbooks, by themselves they will have created a large enough market for better books.

    If other states have the choice I imagine most of them outside the stupid belt will go for the better books.

  36. 36
    Keith says:

    If barbershop quartets were good enough fer my Pa, then itsa good enuff fer my little ‘uns.

  37. 37
    MikeJ says:

    @Bill H: They didn’t say they were omitting it because it was too recent. They said they were omitting it because of content based censorship. How is that hard to understand?

  38. 38
    mai naem says:

    Was jazz left out too? The story just talks about hip hop. I would be interested to see if jazz got left out too since there’s so many of dem colored folks in jazz.

  39. 39
    Jennifer says:

    I have to add a note, since aimai’s raised the “textbooks are obsolete” point: they aren’t, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, for the simple reason that teachers don’t have the 96 hours in a day needed to design their own curriculum. Keep in mind that many teachers teach different subjects and/or different grade levels, and you’re talking about spending several weeks on designing curricula for each day of instruction. As long as we continue down the path of “standards-based” education, which I haven’t seen anyone making a move to change, textbooks will be a necessary component of education.

    For one thing, just putting together a lesson plan for one class can take several hours; if the teacher is expected to go out and find ALL of the materials needed to teach that lesson you can multiply that by a factor of at least 5. Many, perhaps most, teachers are not the Renaissance types who can be expected to do a good job of writing their own curricula – never mind that they don’t have the time and they already are underpaid. Standards-based education adds a huge burden on top of that – not only do you have to find the materials, you have to make sure you find ones that address every standard you’re supposed to teach. The teachers’ unions aren’t going to stand for increasing their members’ workload by a factor of 5 without a commensurate increase in pay, nor should they. Beyond that there’s the issue that while computer and internet based source material is available, it’s not available at home to a lot of kids who attend public schools – either because the family doesn’t own a computer or can’t afford internet access.

    In short, textbooks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

  40. 40
    gbear says:

    Don’t Mess With Textes.

  41. 41

    I haven’t listened to country music regularly since I was old enough to have my own radio, but the classic stuff my Dad played in the car (and his baby brother has been Willie Nelson’s bassist for the last 40 years, so he’s got a history with this stuff) was all about cheating, running around, getting drunk and getting into barroom brawls. If that’s significantly more moral than rapping about bitches and blunts and forties, I don’t see how. And when it comes to violence, gangster rap has nothing on Ozark murder ballads.

  42. 42
    WereBear says:

    I can see how textbooks themselves are historical relics of the past. Useful for keeping everyone, literally, on the same page in a lesson plan, but a teacher could assign a good webpage for a day’s discussion, and it would be cheaper, far cheaper.

    If textbook publishers were smart, they would be doing online content behind a firewall, with the discussion questions and tests that are their true reason for being, charge less, and make a bundle.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    MikeJ says:

    @WereBear: With supplimental stuff behind a firewall, they’d have demographic info to target each of their users down to age, neighborhood, and quite likely name. A captive target for advertiser, people that couldn’t run away, and since it would be behind a firewall parents couldn’t see it to object.

    I’m shocked that nobody’s done it yet.

  45. 45
    Jennifer says:

    WereBear – they already have a lot of that stuff, but they can’t charge $70 per student for it, and as I noted, it’s not accessible to large numbers of public school students who either don’t have computers or internet access at home. Typically the way it works now is that if a school buys the books, they have free access to the web content.

    It could happen, but not until schools start providing computers to kids who can’t afford them otherwise and some type of free internet access becomes available. We may reach the point in just a few years where the cost of a computer is equal to that of a textbook, but I don’t expect the communications behemoths to go along with any plan that allows free internet access to anyone, and the simple fact is with the poverty index in many schools being what it is, a lot of kids will not be able to access that material from home.

  46. 46
    Emma says:

    IIRC correctly, Texas is the second largest textbook market. The first is California. And they’re forming a commission to make sure “Texas’s version of history” doesn’t get into their textbooks. I think Textbook publishers have landed themselves in a massive ditch with this one.

  47. 47
    bkny says:

    ya know, when you factor in those occasional news reports about how clueless american high schoolers are about history, i really wonder if this will have that much impact afterall.

  48. 48
    ts says:

    It’s amusing that the kids won’t be exposed to hip-hop, but will read about the Beats. Clearly, the Texas school board hasn’t read a lot of Allen Ginsberg…

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    Texas SBOE: “Here when you say “what I got, you gotta get, and put it in you”, how bout just, What i’d like is I’d like to hug and kiss you.”

  50. 50
    El Cid says:

    I hope California, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois etc. students and teachers enjoy their new Lone-Star of the 12th Century textbooks.

  51. 51
    gbear says:

    What they fail to realize is that hip hop crosses all racial barriers and in fact, more white kids buy hip hop albums than minorities.

    I’m sure they’re aware of it and that it’s driving their desperation to ban it. They see it as a force that is wrecking their white children. This cannot abide.

  52. 52
    Dannie22 says:

    @ Jennifer

    I agree with your post. I don’t understand this new trend to get rid of textbooks.

  53. 53
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    They’d probably get it wrong anyway. “Flip-Flop: A novelty urban music style from the North, some of the more well-known acts included “L.L. Bean”, “J. Crew”, …

  54. 54
    aimai says:

    @Jennifer:

    Jennifer,
    Agreed, textbooks aren’t going anywhere for a while. But I’m not so sure about single style bowlderized textbooks for non texas highschools.

    But this goes to the central issue in the Texas standards:

    a) they don’t care about kids n’ their hip hop. Why should they? They don’t want most kids to be engaged with social history. Real social history is gritty and filled with conflict. Texas jingo, culture war history is full of a golden past in which good people all agreed on stuff and bad people were put down by Rangers and God.

    b) they don’t care about making their kids compete with non texans, get into good non texan schools, etc…

    They never have. In “Learning to Labor” Paul Willis explores the way working class kids learn to reject school and learning and end up having no other way to earn their livlihoods than by recapitulating their parents’ working class jobs. A similar book was written about Texas schools themselves–but I can’t remember the name and I can’t find it on my shelves–demonstrating the way class, race, and social caste were replicated through the schooling process.

    In other words: if kids who like hip hop are disappointed by the schools’ textbooks, if the teaching of history and culture deviate very far from the reality of kids’ lives that’s not a bug, that’s a feature of the system. Whatever discourages children from learning, or from imagining that their teachers are well educated or care about their futures or know stuff their parents don’t know is all to the good.

    To want a school to be a place of excellence in learning, connecting children to a wide world of opportunity and growth is, definitionally, anti authoritarian and anti conservative and thus anti-Texas. Because things like multiculturalism, excellence, science, internationalism, and historicity lead ineluctably to the conclusion that what is (poor working conditions, mindless toil, right wing politics, jingoism, nationalism, nativism, religious bigotry) aren’t the be all and end all of the child’s life. It makes the kids dissatisfied with Texas as it is. And you can’t have that. A closed, highly stratified, oligarchic system can’t survive if you bust it open with a good education for all.

    aimai

  55. 55
    El Cid says:

    It’s well known that jazz is a gateway drug to evolution.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    @gbear:

    They see it as a force that is wrecking their white children. This cannot abide.

    Well, I do have to admit that when I see how kids are wearing their baseball caps these days…

  57. 57
    Cerberus says:

    @burnspbesq: Hip-hop and rap are jazz or rather are the spiritual successors of jazz and many of the traditions it upheld. Black expressionism including political commentary ala “Fable for Faustus”? Check. Remixes, sampling being just an extension of the bebop philosophy of doing the exact same thing in the creation of their tracks? Check. Moving the idea of flowing and intelligent on-the-fly solo creationism and soloing from the realm of the instrumental to the notion of the vocalist themselves? That’d be what they did.

    Combine where jazz was heading in the 80s as a means of black expression with black poetry and you’ve pretty much got rap.

    And I don’t believe it’s an coincidence that rap started becoming the de facto means of black expression right around that 1980s time period when jazz started being taken over by white artists wanting to turn it into uninspired and insipid “easy listening”.

    Techno is the extension of fusion jazz to greater and greater instruments, but hip-hop is the real inheritor of jazz’s heart and soul.

    Now the question becomes now that whites have completely taken over commercial rap, what’s the new means of self-expression for blacks. Right now it seems to be “underground rap” and hip-hop, but we could be expecting a new form of black expression in music in the next ten years.

    And as to the OP, of course racial alienation is the point. Blacks tend to be unfocused in school because none of the lessons ever correspond with anything to do with their lives. It’s all about white people and the textbooks tend to conveniently skip over large parts of history dealing with people like them because it tends to make white people look bad.

    The texas books only hope to make it worse and add anyone with any liberal appreciation for what actually happened to the list of people alienated by the “history” lessons in schools.

    On a positive note, no one actually gets their history lessons anymore from textbooks, especially with regards to modern history. As long as the internet and wikipedia exist, they’ll be far less effective than they hope, but it’s worth fighting these nutjobs anyways.

  58. 58
    aimai says:

    @El Cid:

    Well, remember that Southern Baptists won’t have sex because it might lead to dancing. Or something.

    aimai

  59. 59
    QuaintIrene says:

    “Sorry, Class. We’re going to have to discontinue our study of the civil right’s movement and concentrate on the history of the N.R.A. Oh, and next week’s paper will be on Phyllis Shlafy’s heroic crusade against the ERA.”

  60. 60
    El Cid says:

    @aimai: There’s no dancing what can’t be cured by a good session of a dildo and two wetsuits.

  61. 61
    Bostondreams says:

    @Bill H:

    With all due respect, history includes what happened yesterday, so yes, students in a history class should study what is happening NOW because what happens now is affected by what happened before and impacts what happens later. If we were to go with your perspective, then students would not learn about anything that happened in their lifetimes. You approach this from a very narrow definition of ‘history’; most teachers and historians take a broader view.
    And, I am not saying that this is the same attitude, but I am reminded what one of those genius board members said:

    “I am very reluctant to include persons who are still alive. By definition of “history,” you must be dead, because you never know when you might embarrass us later.”–David Bradley, moronic member of the Texas BoE standards committee.

  62. 62
    WereBear says:

    @Jennifer: Thanks, Jennifer, it’s very sad that kids can’t have computers; I rank them as an appliance even more important than a dishwasher… which I don’t have.

  63. 63
    gbear says:

    More conservative school insanity via C&L. This time it’s in VA:

    Oakwood Elementary’s principal was placed on administrative leave Friday as school officials investigated why life like, 4-inch-long plastic fetus dolls were given to dozens of third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students. On Thursday, the school staffer thought to be responsible for handing out the dolls was placed on leave.

  64. 64
    beltane says:

    @gbear: They’re all into the sadistic psychological abuse of children. If Rand Paul gets his way and discrimination becomes legal, the first thing I’d like to do is ban fundamentalist Christians from working in schools or anyplace else they might come into contact with children.

  65. 65
    Felonious Wench says:

    Husband teaches Political Science and Economics in Texas, AP, to seniors. He uses Krugman’s textbook for Economics (it’s brilliant and actually good to teach from). He does it by buying a class set of textbooks (his school will do that) and the kids take home whatever he copies for them for homework….or he has them do a lot of writing and projects on current events. He teaches from his own materials for political science.

    Teachers have a choice as to what they put into their classrooms. They have a choice as to what they teach. No one has to take textbooks by rote and read from them, though some do, and I challenge whether or not that’s a good teacher. If a teachers wants to teach hip hop, no one is going to stop them or tell them not to. Textbooks are an antiquated way to teach now; technology makes much better materials available, much cheaper, that are much more current and relevant.

    This is not to excuse the idiocy of these standards coming out of Texas, but any hand-wringing over the curriculum the students are taught is not understanding how teachers teach now. I’m much more concerned about the economics of this and the number of trees killed to perpetuate a business model that is more about cronyism than educating kids. And, of course, it’s embarrassing for Texans, but that’s not new.

    If you want to be pissed about something, be pissed at this ridiculous industry that is a bloated dinosaur today. Get laptops or e-readers in the classrooms. THAT would help our teachers and students, be much more economical; it would actually SAVE schools money. Racist idiots are everywhere (read: Rand Paul). As I’ve said many times, not all Texans are backwards, and you do those of us who are not a disservice by bashing us here. This state is turning blue. We could use some support in the effort.

  66. 66
    Josh says:

    QuaintIrene, we learned about the NRA and the AAA and the WPA in a little pamphlet our U.S. History teacher handed out in our Ohio high school. It was clearly anti-FDR and depicted the NRA as annoying business and the WPA as putting people into make-work jobs that were completely inappropriate for them. But it wasn’t Pat Buchanan level–it acknowledged the necessity of the war and gave FDR some credit for having helped lead the fight against Hitler.

    Our history class tried to cover U.S. history up until about fifteen years prior to the year we were living in; so if a class covers U.S. culture now and goes up to 1995, hip-hop’s a legitimate medium to address. As with country, I’d hope teachers would introduce the good stuff and not the commercial crap you can count on kids already knowing.

    I wonder whether Latin genres of music made the list.

  67. 67
    ruemara says:

    I must have missed the uplifting lyrical messages of “Did It All For The Nookie” and “Cherry Pie”. Fuck Texas. Any more GOP gains in this country and I’m leaving before I get transferred to my right wing neighbor and renamed Kizzy. Fucking idiot americans.

  68. 68
    RSA says:

    Students will have to study a list of influential musical and cultural movements in America that includes rock ‘n’ roll, Tin Pan Alley, country music and the Beat generation.

    Yeah, today’s kids are going to find that “Howl” and “On the Road” and “Naked Lunch” give them so much more insight than hip-hop…

  69. 69
    bob h says:

    You’re a top scientist with offers from Texas Instruments, Rice University, or whatever. Do you move to Texas (or anywhere else in the South) knowing that your children will be educated to be dolts?
    Texas and all of American boobland will just fall farther and farther behind the rest of the country thanks to crap like this.

  70. 70
    Cerberus says:

    I’m also wondering if this isn’t going to backfire on them in another huge way.

    Okay, let’s assume they get their wish, Texas’s all conservatives all the time books including the brave fight against civil rights against the terrorists of the 60s with their “end segregation” and their “women’s liberation” and “gay rights” gets the national attention it deserves and becomes the standard textbooks.

    Okay, now kids are reading this in modern times. How exactly are they going to keep their heroes from looking like monsters? I mean, my high school textbook had a section on McCarthy that was, I’m sure, trying to be neutral, but it was pretty obvious just by the descriptions of his actions that he was a horrible monster and reading his direct quotes seemed horribly George Orwell and evil from my early 2000s perspective of having been around 4 or so at the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Phyllis Schaffley and the war against the ERA is also one of those battles that conservatives hope most women forget about entirely because the fight was horrendous. The ERA looks incredibly innocuous and common-sense by modern kid-like sensibilities and finding out about all the nasty tricks and horrible statements that Schaffley used to battle against it really made her out to be the devil woman she is. Her statements on the “right place for a woman” and against the “scourges of lesbianism” are just the sort of thing that was great for selling to housewives in their 50s during the 80s, but to kids today would sound like someone defending slavery.

    How are they going to honor the segregationists? Those who tried to prevent any and all aid to AIDS victims?

    And in the latter, how will they teach the kids about their heroes against the “gay agenda” at that time without reminding them that the same people trying to sell them a bunch of hogswallop about sex education seem to be the same people who denied AIDS and led to it becoming the sexual crisis it is.

    I think this is especially important because the right has been relying on its ability to whitewash their fighters as “brand-new” once the last fight is good and lost. Oh, no, we never supported segregation, we’re libertarians who are obsessed with private property rights, totally different thing. Oh no, we’re just new against the gays, no connection to the AIDS denialism or ERA fights of old.

    By “honoring” their heroes, though, they can’t help but remind kids of who they’re enemies are and I’m not sure it’d be possible to spin the message hard enough to make these “heroes” look good in the eyes of increasingly more distanced and evolved young people who have seen and grown to assume the timelessness of the benefits gained by the lefties winning those old fights.

    And I’m not sure that right-wingers have enough self-awareness to write their delusional version of history without openly celebrating aspects that will look openly monstrous to the next generation.

    I’m wondering if the current model of ignoring them completely wasn’t much safer for modern conservatism than trying to celebrate their “victories” and battles against liberalism kids have taken for granted.

    I mean we still need to fight against this, but I wonder if them winning wouldn’t promote a much larger backlash against conservatism among youth than them losing.

  71. 71
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @El Cid:

    It’s well known that jazz is a gateway drug to evolution.

    No one who actually knows any jazz musicians would believe that.

    I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Some of my best friends are jazz musicians, including me. There are definitely glimmers beyond the reptilian mind now and then.

  72. 72
    aimai says:

    @Cerberus:

    Cerberus,
    You are two for two on great comments today. Your comment on the movement from jazz to hip hop was fantastic, just spot on. And this one on the bizareness of the right trying to use textbook accounts of old battles is also right on. Some things just don’t age well. Interestingly enough, racism, sexism, and oppression don’t age well for large swathes of the population.

    Even if we imagine the Texas school child market to be segmented racially and in terms of class a bunch of even the white kids are going to come from

    a) divorced families
    b) families in which both parents work or worked
    c) families with someone gay

    These are all categories that Schlafley and Anita Bryant and etc… didn’t really acknowledge the existence of, or scorned outright. And many of those movements have themselves moved on–there’s plenty of “love the sinner” and “love wins out” groups that are trying to recast their anti gay fervor as merely helpful, like a kind of sexual weight watchers. They are doing that because they have to–because hatred all the time ends up splitting your base into those who are pure and those who are impure.

    Some small fraction of the student body is always going to be gullible, easily led, intimidated, and subject to authoritarian mind control but on balance a huge percentage of kids are going to see right through this shit.

    aimai

  73. 73
    New Yorker says:

    Let’s have them learn about wholesome, all-American country music instead of hip hop. We can start with these lyrics:

    “Early one morning while making the rounds, I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down.”

    Doing drugs and killing your wife/girlfriend are the values of Real ‘Murika.

    P.S. before anyone jumps down my throat, I love Johnny Cash and I love “Cocaine Blues”. Plus, Johnny’s politics were too complex for him to be considered a Real ‘Murkan these days.

  74. 74
    Alex S. says:

    I wonder if they’ll include Chuck Berry, Little Richard and/or Jimi Hendrix.

  75. 75
    Rafterman says:

    I feel the need to jump in because I took a high school American history class less than 2 years ago.

    We almost never used the textbook. We might have occasionally done readings from the book but most of our reading was from other sources.

    We only spent one day talking about music in American history. What we discussed was protest music of the 60’s and 70’s. The Music of Vietnam war led into a project comparing Iraq and Vietnam.

    We had almost no time for history after 1980, because of the Maine’s “Learning Benchmarks” So post 1980 history was taught with a Dave Barry packet that the teacher discussed with us.

  76. 76
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @burnspbesq:

    What?? Not even “Fight the Power”?

    Well then, what you say to me is just paper thin. In one ear and right out the other. Heard as mumbo-jumbo…

  77. 77
    PeakVT says:

    The farce at the Board of Education is a sign of desperation. Look at the demographics.

  78. 78
    Cain says:

    @Jennifer:

    For one thing, just putting together a lesson plan for one class can take several hours; if the teacher is expected to go out and find ALL of the materials needed to teach that lesson you can multiply that by a factor of at least 5. Many, perhaps most, teachers are not the Renaissance types who can be expected to do a good job of writing their own curricula – never mind that they don’t have the time and

    Why not an “open source” curriculum? They sort of do this in colleges already. I know that in my recent class, they were trying to teach linux kernel programming and were negotiating with other classes that wrote curriculum on the class. In the end we got of winged it but it’s totally possible to do that. Of course you have to adjust it to your local school area but that’s way better than starting from scratch.

    cain

  79. 79
    NobodySpecial says:

    Anyone who starts off an argument about music declaring any genre of it to be 99%+ ‘unlistenable’ either doesn’t get out much or is a deliberate troll.

    And you can have my copy of Scarface’s ‘The Diary’ when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

  80. 80
    Jay C says:

    @Jennifer:

    Isn’t there a fifth alternative scenario possible? That Big Textbook will take a look at Texas’ demand for history texts rewritten to stress biased ahistorical bullshit, and simply say “No”? I.e, put the onus on the State of Texas to find, buy and distribute their own “correct” textbooks?

    Or, sadly, a more likely alternative is that one or more of the biggies will simply set up a new subsidiary, BABS Publishing, staffed with ex-Regnery hacks, and churn out wingtard nonsense for the hapless schoolkids out there in Jesusland…

  81. 81
    Cain says:

    @WereBear:

    @Jennifer: Thanks, Jennifer, it’s very sad that kids can’t have computers; I rank them as an appliance even more important than a dishwasher… which I don’t have.

    Every company should be donated their old equipment to schools and children. We have a lot of it.. being in a tech company myself I know our company does. There is no reason why anybody can’t have a computer, even for free. Just go to any of those tech recycling places. You don’t need the latest tech to read webpages and educate yourself. (you do need a fast internet connection though.. damn flash)

    cain

  82. 82
    Mayken says:

    @Cain: You also need someone to support them which is a major sticking point. At my former company we tried to donate a mess of our old computers (OS installed and everything) and the school district turned us down because we wouldn’t provide on-going support. Mind you this is in a well-off school district for the most part too. But they couldn’t afford an IT person for what they had (the computer science teachers were supporting the existing systems in their “copious spare time”) so they couldn’t take on more.
    Once again, past time we re-prioritize our schools. But No Child Left Behind being the law of the land will continue to make that impossible. This BS needs repealing as of yesterday.

  83. 83
    WereBear says:

    @Cain: I am constantly trying to find homes for old computers.

    But few will take them; and school districts cite differing operating systems, incompatibility issues, and fears of viruses as their reasons.

  84. 84

    @gbear: Oh man, the first time I heard that song it blew my tiny little mind. Many (many, many) years later it remains 100% of its awesomeness.

    “But mostly B.S.!”

  85. 85
    Martin says:

    @MikeJ: California *is* a larger market than Texas, but it’s one that California doesn’t work as hard to ‘shape’.

    It’s largely a moot point, however, long-term. A 2nd thing I have to give Arnold credit for (damnit) is the open textbook initiative here in CA. Textbooks are a sufficiently large cost to the state that we’ve set up an effort to establish electronic textbooks under a creative commons license. Textbook content is submitted and then rated and certified by the state. The goal is for the state, if they need printed textbooks, can do so without a publisher but even more that students can access the electronic textbooks at home and that at some point a Kindle/iPad kind of device could be used as a foundation to eliminate the printed textbooks altogether. The state already has a number of 9-12 textbooks being reviewed, so it’s actually going somewhere.

    The printing cost to print a textbook is between $3 and $4 in volume, so even if CA just wanted to print their own rather than buy from a publisher, it’d save a fuckton of money. Going electronic is just icing on the cake.

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    Of all the stupidities in the new Texas social studies curriculum, this is probably the most telling:

    I don’t know about that. I kinda think that, as Joe Biden might say, their revisionism with respect to slavery is a big f^cking deal.

    The slave trade would be renamed the “Atlantic triangular trade,” American “imperialism” changed to “expansionism,” and all references to “capitalism” have been replaced with “free enterprise.”

    It’s both sad and hilarious that Republican board members left the room when Democratic board members voiced objections to the changes. Good to know that education requirements are devised in a context of fear and ignorance.

    @PeakVT:

    The farce at the Board of Education is a sign of desperation. Look at the demographics.

    Demographics didn’t stop them. Didn’t even slow them down. There’s a lesson in this for you. You can’t passively expect demographics to eliminate the need for activism if you want to oppose this dim tide of stupidity that is rising on the land.

  87. 87
    Kerr Lockhart says:

    First song I ever heard in my first visit to Texas was called “She Ran Off With A Nigger.” Maybe it should be made the state song.

    I say, let ’em secede, blockade them, starve ’em out, make them a protectorate under military rule and sterilize the crackers and rednecks. (Also disallow voting in US elections, of course.)

  88. 88
    PonB says:

    From the Pleasantville Code of Conduct:

    4. The only permissible recorded music shall be the following: Pat Boone, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Jack Jones, marches of John Phillips Souza or the Star Spangled Banner. In no event shall any music be tolerated that is not of a temperate or “pleasant” nature.

    Texas looks more like Pleasantville every day…

    – PonB

  89. 89
    Brachiator says:

    @Kerr Lockhart:

    I say, let ‘em secede, blockade them, starve ‘em out, make them a protectorate under military rule and sterilize the crackers and rednecks. (Also disallow voting in US elections, of course.)

    And what becomes of the nonwhite residents of Texas in your little doomsday scenario?

    I’m always amused when otherwise liberal people write or say stuff that assumes that the only people who exist (or matter) are white people.

  90. 90
    scarshapedstar says:

    Well, I can think of many criticisms about the Texas history, repeat history, curriculum, but what kind of bullshit is it to be expecting today’s music to be included in history books? It’s history, a study of the past, for heaven’s sake. Why should it include today’s music?

    “Rapper’s Delight” was released during the Carter administration. By your logic, Ronald Reagan is the current president — and yet I suspect the Texas schoolbooks have at least a paragraph dedicated to his glorious reign.

  91. 91
    Jennifer says:

    @Jay C: Unfortunately, there’s little chance that will happen.

    For years, the publishers have taken their cues from only two states: Texas and California. All of the other states are more loosey-goosey about textbooks selections; here in our state, they have a review board that looks over all the latest books and determines whether they meet state standards or not; if they do, they go on the approved list and any public school in the state can use state funding to purchase that book. They usually have 4 to pick from. I’m not sure if Texas picks only ONE book that gets purchased statewide or if they’re more like our state and allow districts to make up their own minds; either way, Texas is one of the two biggest prizes in textbook sales so all of the publishers are going to try to compete for their business, even if they have to spend a lot of money writing shit to win it. They were actively cutting their own throats the entire time I was in the business – every year, one or another of the publishers would promise another truckload of “free” stuff to convince teachers to select their product; this “free” stuff usually consisted of videos, audios, etc etc etc most of which never make it out of the classroom storage closet, and so is a worthless addition to the main product they’re pushing and serves only to drive up the cost of that core product, since nothing is ever really “free.” This has gone so far as to make the “one textbook per child” model impossible for many schools – and when fewer books are sold, the publishers just raise the prices. There’s also a lot of dirty business that goes on in the whole process – companies will bribe teachers to select their book by promising free personal stuff like computers, which is illegal under the state guidelines but goes on all the time nonetheless.

    The schools are complicit in all of this, of course; if they teachers who select the books weren’t so distracted by shiny objects they could get what they need at a much lower cost. In fact, that’s how I used to beat all my competitors – I had the good fortune of having a line of books that could be purchased, teacher material included, for around $17 per kid while the others were charging $45 to cover the costs of all the “free” stuff that never gets used. My pitch would be “buy this book and you can also afford this one for only another $7 per kid, and you’ll still be spending less and getting what you really need.” Unfortunately, what I had to deal with all the time was those schools who would buy ONE of those $7 books and think it was fine to just photocopy it for all the kids. I can’t tell you how many conversations along the lines of “Copyright – do you understand it, motherfucker?” I’d be on the phone with superintendents all the time telling them their district was violating the law. Not to mention that it doesn’t make sense from a manpower and resource cost to copy all 150 pages of a $7 book to get out of just paying the very reasonable cost to buy one for each kid. It actually cost them MORE in most cases to steal the stuff than it would have to just buy it. So the problem is at least partially of the schools’ making, too.

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kerr Lockhart:

    First song I ever heard in my first visit to Texas was called “She Ran Off With A Nigger.” Maybe it should be made the state song.

    WTF are you talking about?

  93. 93
    Bostondreams says:

    @Felonious Wench:

    Teachers have a choice as to what they put into their classrooms. They have a choice as to what they teach.

    Actually, no they don’t. If a district buys texts, they expect you to use them. Teachers also have little flexibility in what and how they can teach if the district chooses to make it an issue. See, for example, Mailloux v Kiley (1971) and Murray v. Pittsburgh Board of Public Education (1996).
    And of course, if you are not teaching the standards in the way they want you to teach them, you can lose your job. It is a different content area, but the state and the district where I teach told one of our English teachers to stop teaching literature and grammar and stick to the lesson plans she was given for remedial FCAT prep and instruction. If she refused, she would be fired for insubordination.
    So its not as simple as a teacher making a choice.

  94. 94
    SectarianSofa says:

    @gbear:

    Wow — I remembering seeing a video of that on ‘community television’ when I was in Austin way back when. Thanks.

  95. 95
    SectarianSofa says:

    @PonB:

    Well, it’s a really big state.
    Imagine if you were talking to your buddies from the Netherlands or Belgium a few years ago, and because of some people like George Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc., they decided the entire US of A was uniformly populated by savagely tribalist anti-intellectual cavemen.
    There’s a lot of different constituencies in Texas, and unfortunately the ones who vote the most are older, conservative, and white. But look at the 2008 election map, and you’ll see a whole lot of blue. And purple. Not just yahoo red.

  96. 96
    SectarianSofa says:

    @mslarry:

    I know I’ve said this before, but it’s not all cowboy hats and Jesus in Texas anymore. The Hispanic population that used to be the cowboy hats and Jesus crowd have had kids who do listen to hip hop, and they work in Tech like everyone else. Also, it’s not 1950 anymore.
    And the white population is, relative to the state population, shrinking. Sadly, it may still be a few years before it’s a purple or blue state. The SBOE, though … wow. That’s a mess.

  97. 97
    SectarianSofa says:

    @ts:

    Ha … yeah, which Beats were they thinking of?

  98. 98
    scarshapedstar says:

    First song I ever heard in my first visit to Texas was called “She Ran Off With A Nigger.” Maybe it should be made the state song.

    I believe you’re thinking of this David Allan Coe classic:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEOnxsGJ54s

  99. 99
    PonB says:

    @SectarianSofa – No offense intended – I understand all about generalized statments about behavior, being a native of Northern California…;-)

    I was just excited about having the opportunity to quote Pleasantville in this context…

    – PonB

  100. 100
    SectarianSofa says:

    @scarshapedstar:
    @Kerr Lockhart:

    God no. He’s from Ohio, anyway.
    But who the hell hangs out with people who listen to this, and then try to foist it upon an entire state?

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bostondreams:

    Teachers also have little flexibility in what and how they can teach if the district chooses to make it an issue.

    TAKS

  102. 102
    burnspbesq says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    “Anyone who starts off an argument about music declaring any genre of it to be 99%+ ‘unlistenable’ either doesn’t get out much or is a deliberate troll.”

    Not at all. It’s called having taste and standards. Yours are obviously different than mine. Cool. Don’t ask me to not call it as I see it.

    And we can agree to disagree about what contemporary music people will still be listening to in 250 years, but my money’s on Golijov and Adams, not Notorious B.I.G.

  103. 103
    Anne Laurie says:

    @bob h:

    You’re a top scientist with offers from Texas Instruments, Rice University, or whatever. Do you move to Texas (or anywhere else in the South) knowing that your children will be educated to be dolts?

    As fReich-wing hero Winston Churchill would tell them, that’s why boarding schools were invented. You can’t run a modern empire without a two-track educational system — that’s why Poppy & Barbara Bush yanked young Dubya out of the Midland public high school and sent him to Andover (where he would graduate to Yale & Harvard Bus, not Baylor or SMU).

    And plenty of the people on the Texas State Board of Education would be just as happy with a two-track system where the children of the “upper classes” were once again physically segregated and the young peons where taught just enough to make them good house servants and factory hands… including those members whose kids would end up at the bottom of the pyramid. Kids who get good educations don’t want to stay in sorry little backwater towns where Sunday services and Wednesday prayer meetings are the main forms of community entertainment, and not everyone has the fortitude to pray their kids will be “lucky” enough to leave home and never look back.

  104. 104

    @burnspbesq:

    Force-feed the little heathens Bach and Miles Davis until their ears bleed.
    __
    And don’t even look at my lawn.
    __
    RIP, Hank Jones, who died last week at the age of 91 and was still making great jazz right up to the end.

    Fuck Miles Davis. Jazz sucks, it’s music for pretentious dipshits. “Ooooohh, look, I listen to jazz, I’m so cool.” Kids in the Hall nailed jazz with this sketch.

  105. 105
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Bingo.

  106. 106

    @aimai:

    Well, remember that Southern Baptists won’t have sex because it might lead to dancing. Or something.

    It’s “Southern Baptists won’t fuck standing up because it might lead to dancing”. Jesus, if you’re going to tell the joke then don’t fuck it up.

  107. 107
    SectarianSofa says:

    @SectarianSofa:

    Still, a bit of an overstatement, but for some reason the small child running around here isn’t interested in me writing complete sentences (let alone thoughts).

  108. 108
    gil mann says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Not at all. It’s called having taste and standards.

    That’s called being a dick.

    And we can agree to disagree about what contemporary music people will still be listening to in 250 years, but my money’s on Golijov and Adams, not Notorious B.I.G.

    Shame about your looming impecuniousness. If only you had said “Young MC.”

  109. 109
    debbie says:

    @aimai:

    High school kids could log on and essentially take a good high school curriculum for free. You could sell “seats” to schools with good curricula and let texas teens log on for free.

    I realize there would be problems with copywrite with published works but I really don’t see why you couldn’t get some good historians to essentially write a free textbook—its not like the Texas Textbooks are written by historians. They are written by hacks like the kind who write Tom Swift or Nancy Drew. Just get some specialist to agree to write each chapter for free and limit quotations and links to “fair use” and free.

    When I learned, during my first history class in college, just how much b.s. I’d been handed in high school, I wanted to try to figure out a way to get “honest” history into kids’ hands. I thought of a series of children’s books, but never got very far.

    I’d bet a Web site could be set up, but I don’t know how you’d get it into kids’ hands. It could be done as articles; each would cover an event/period and review what’s been taught, how that’s changed over the years, and what the actual evidence is/was. There could be a reference list of books at the end if they wanted to read further. I don’t think there would be copyright issues.

    Unlike the Texas School Board, all sides could be presented, letting the kids decide for themselves what to believe.

  110. 110
    debbie says:

    (Screwed up the blockquote, and it won’t let me edit or delete.)

    @aimai:

    High school kids could log on and essentially take a good high school curriculum for free. You could sell “seats” to schools with good curricula and let texas teens log on for free.

    I realize there would be problems with copywrite with published works but I really don’t see why you couldn’t get some good historians to essentially write a free textbook—its not like the Texas Textbooks are written by historians. They are written by hacks like the kind who write Tom Swift or Nancy Drew. Just get some specialist to agree to write each chapter for free and limit quotations and links to “fair use” and free.

    When I learned, during my first history class in college, just how much b.s. I’d been handed in high school, I wanted to try to figure out a way to get “honest” history into kids’ hands. I thought of a series of children’s books, but never got very far.

    I’d bet a Web site could be set up, but I don’t know how you’d get it into kids’ hands. It could be done as articles; each would cover an event/period and review what’s been taught, how that’s changed over the years, and what the actual evidence is/was. There could be a reference list of books at the end if they wanted to read further. I don’t think there would be copyright issues.

    Unlike the Texas School Board, all sides could be presented, letting the kids decide for themselves what to believe.

  111. 111
    tofubo says:

    i always wished ice-t’s freedom of speach was actually, like, played on the radidio

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics.....peech.html

  112. 112
    JBerardi says:

    Well, we all know that nothing stops teenagers from listening to music like the knowledge that authority figures don’t approve of and are made uncomfortable by said music. They’re far more interested in listening to music that their 57 year old social studies teacher made them do homework on. Well played, Texas…

  113. 113
    petorado says:

    I once heard an interview of an old rocker who was asked the question, “what is rock ‘n roll?” The old rocker sardonically replied, “It’s whatever music your parents don’t like.” Exactly.

    I’m not well-versed on the definitive definition of what hip-hop is, but a good reply to that question would be, ” it’s whatever music the Texas State Board of Education hates.”

  114. 114
    scarshapedstar says:

    And we can agree to disagree about what contemporary music people will still be listening to in 250 years, but my money’s on Golijov and Adams, not Notorious B.I.G.

    Hate to break it to you, but if your only example of a ‘contemporary’ rapper is someone who’s been dead for 13 years, you are an old fuddy-duddy and nobody likes YOUR old fuddy-duddy music.

  115. 115
    YellowJournalism says:

    And we can agree to disagree about what contemporary music people will still be listening to in 250 years, but my money’s on Golijov and Adams, not Notorious B.I.G.

    I don’t know if people will be listening to Notorious B.I.G. in 250 years, but the children in the next 25 (or more) should be learning about Public Enemy and the effect their music had on the subject of censorship and free speech.

    Me love you long time, BJ’ers.

  116. 116
    jonas says:

    The Texas state school board is going to put The ONION out of business before this is all over.

  117. 117
    Panurge says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Eh. Mildly funny, which is par for the KITH course. But what is this with this constant judging of music based on what kind of people listen to it? (Though I defy you to listen to WABE-FM’s weekly “Jazz Classics” here in ATL and call H. Johnson a “pretentious dipshit”.) Beyond which I don’t think TKITH are really trying to pass judgment on jazz-they just thought the idea was funny.

    But then, Osvaldo Golijov? Why not Wolfgang Rihm? Or the Mats/Morgan Band? Or Sleepytime Gorilla Museum?

    OK, OK, hip-hop…

    One thing that strikes me is that while hip-hop doesn’t seem to make long careers or longtime fans, it’s stuck around for a quarter-century now without really changing very much. Session bassist Leland Sklar (that ’80s guy with the grey beard and the glasses–you know, him) once said that hip-hop “isn’t music” the way some coffee-house poet with someone accompanying him on the bongo drums “isn’t music”. IOW, so what? It’s still a legitimate form of personal expression.

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    Panurge says:

    Oh, yeah, now I remember…

    People used to call hip-hop the new rock’n’roll. I disagree. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka called it the new funk, which I can be down with. But maybe even more, pace Cerberus, to me hip-hop is the new blues, both musically and socially.

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