The Fire and Brimstone World of Texas School Propaganda
A few weeks ago, the liberal media put the Texas educational system under a great deal of scrutiny, claiming that the State Board of Education (SBOE) was dropping Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum framework. The accusations were not even true -- the board had simply removed his name from a list of European Enlightenment philosophers, which the board chairwoman, Gail Lowe, explained as an inappropriate placement of Jefferson's name:
Jefferson was not himself an Enlightenment philosopher, although he was heavily influenced by the writings of these individuals. But to say the State Board of Education has removed him from the [Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills program] is inaccurate and irresponsible.
The liberal media has also lashed out at the Texas State Board of Education on other issues, claiming that topics such as the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, the decline of the U.S. dollar, the Bill of Rights, and the free-enterprise system are "far-right" biased.
Liberals continue to stir up outrage by twisting and misrepresenting the facts, but where is the outrage over the liberal bias in the public school system? Why is it we never hear about that?
While attending the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) quarterly meeting to blog on behalf of TexasGOPVote.com, I learned about an example of extreme liberal bias in the form of a handout entitled "Philosophical Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives." It was passed out by San Antonio Roosevelt High School (NEISD) teacher Barbara Geerdes to her AP U.S. government class. TexasGOPVote was later sent a copy of the handout, and I recognized it as something our community would be greatly concerned about.
According to some parents, Mrs. Geerdes did not allow the students to take the handout out of the classroom. (That charge has since been denied by the school district's superintendent, as you'll read in a moment.) However, one brave student grew concerned over the teacher's repeated politicization of the classroom and managed to get his copy of the document out of the classroom so that he could show his parents at home. According to a source that followed up with the father of the student:
The Dean of Students responded that the teacher admitted that she has been distributing handouts all year without required pre-approval from the head of the social studies department. She has been giving these out to all of her classes, not just the AP class. She has always collected the handouts at the end of the class period and has never allowed the handouts to be taken home.
I attempted to contact Mrs. Geerdes and the school's superintendent numerous times in order to understand Mrs. Geerdes' reasoning as to why she thought the handouts were effective learning tools.
Eventually, Richard A. Middleton, the superintendent of the North East Independent School District, replied. The full text of his response is online at Texas GOP Vote, but here is the crux of Mr. Middleton's reply:
The intent of the Roosevelt teacher was to use this document to spark discussion among her students about political philosophies and bias, but without clarification of that intention in the materials, it could be misconstrued as the teacher’s and District’s beliefs. The handout was part of a student packet for a Government class. Students could take the packet home, and it was posted on the teacher’s Web page where students and parents can review assignments. Blogosphere comments that report students were not allowed to take the document home are simply not true. Other students who were in this class have confirmed that they were allowed to take the handout home and were never restricted from doing so.
Soon after a student took the packet home, a parent complained to the school about the handout. At that point, the handout was pulled due to the parent concern. As a result, the document was never used in the class. However, had it been used, it would not have been a stand-alone document. The teacher’s intent was to have students consider their political points of view, identify examples of liberal and conservative ideas, and discuss bias as depicted in the handout’s words and pictures.
The parent who brought this complaint forward was contacted within 24 hours by a school administrator and informed that the document was removed from the lesson. After hearing the school’s resolution of the matter, the parent stated he wanted his child to remain in the teacher’s class.
Fair enough. But take a look below at scanned copies of the "teaching materials" that were passed out; they're reproduced on the next page.
Pay special attention to the angel next to the section discussing liberals and the devil next to the section discussing conservatives. And just in case an additional visual clue is needed, further down the page is a smiley face contrasted with a frowning face to further decipher the difference between liberals and conservatives. There is also a chart at the end for students to regurgitate the statements made in the handout.
Although most of the statements made in the handout are completely fallacious and deceiving, this statement was particularly exacerbating:
Liberals believe that "if you give people opportunities to better themselves, they will usually take advantage of them and improve" and have "great confidence in the ability of the enlightened citizens to make wise and prudent choices at the ballot box." Conservatives "expect less of people" and are therefore, "more reluctant to provide welfare programs."
This is completely backward! Conservatives tend to favor a limited government and place high regard in the people's ability to manage their own individual lives. Liberals, on the other hand, are actually the ones that "expect less of people," which is made evident through their insistence on controlling people and telling them what's best for them. Liberals do not give people opportunities -- they give people handouts disguised as opportunities. People become dependent on these "free" handouts and then feel they must look to the government to guide their every move. As TexasGOPVote blogger Larry Perrault puts it,"federal coercion not only destroys true charity, it doesn’t work and is in fact socially and economically counterproductive." Conservatives are not selfish and unwilling to offer help, but are reluctant to allow the government to force them to provide help.
Another example of misleading and erroneous statements made in the handout are:
Because liberals expect people to act correctly when they are informed, they allow them a great amount of liberty in their actions. Conservatives however, not having such an optimistic opinion of people, feel they must often be controlled for their own best interests. ...
Again, because liberals' optimistic outlook, they believe people will use wisely liberties given them. Conservatives, however, believe that people must frequently be restrained and guided by those in society who are more educated and better equipped to govern.
If the above statements are true, then how do you explain liberals' inclination toward higher taxes and never-ending government programs? Even Hillary Clinton admitted, "We tax everything that moves and doesn’t move." The tea parties formed because people are sick of our liberal Democratic majority's overbearing, restraining, tax-and-spending ways. The health care reform bill, unanimously opposed by conservative Republicans and pushed by liberal Democrats, completely negates the statement made that liberals allow people a great amount of liberty. The bill is just another example of how the liberal Democrats are trying to control the manner in which every American citizen accesses their own health care. Dr. Thomas Sowell once said, "As long as human beings are imperfect, there will always be arguments for extending the power of government to deal with these imperfections. The only logical stopping place is totalitarianism -- unless we realize that tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom."
While Mrs. Geerdes does have the right to freedom of speech, she is a high school educator, not a writer for the op-ed column of a newspaper. The public school system is not a place for ideologues to indoctrinate students with their own political agendas. Rather, the public school system is a place where fundamentals should be taught objectively with open discussion and debate, enabling students to learn to construct their own opinions. These are the values that conservatives fight to protect.