We get tooken by a fiery headline: For the record, we’re opposed to the teaching of lies to American children. We’re especially opposed to the teaching of heinous lies.
Perhaps for that reason, we went for the feint when we saw this fiery headline at Salon:
“11 heinous lies conservatives are teaching America’s schoolchildren”
The number of lies—exactly 11—give this headline an air of verisimilitude. Everyone knows that a list of this type should have exactly ten items. Or perhaps twelve in a case of this type. This permits us to speak with real anger about a “dirty dozen.”
Whatever! We were still on board as we read Armanda Marcotte’s preamble. We even saw the reference to Texas, which may involve an actual problem, though Marcotte simple passes on a bit of conventional wisdom. But we still weren’t able to see the foolishness lying ahead:
MARCOTTE (3/13/13): If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that young Americans have taken a decided turn to the left. Young voters delivered Obama the election: the under-44 set voted Obama and the over-45 set broke for Romney. The youngest voters, age 18-29, gave Obama a whopping 60 percent of their vote.Is “your kid” in danger of learning those lies in school? The chances are good that the answer is no, depending on where you live. By the time we get to Lie Number 5 (“Black people are the descendants of Ham and therefore cursed by God”), Marcotte can only report that the Texas Freedom Network “found two school districts teaching that the various races are descended from the sons of Noah.”
Now Republicans have a plan to try to recapture the youngest voters out there: Take over the curriculum in public schools, replace education with a bunch of conservative propaganda, and reap the benefits of having a new generation that can’t tell reality from right-wing fantasy.
How well this plan will work is debatable, but in the meantime, these shenanigans present the very real possibility that public school students will graduate without a proper education. To make it worse, many of these attempts to rewrite school curriculum are happening in Texas, which can set the textbook standards for the entire country by simply wielding its power as one of the biggest school textbook markets there is. With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 lies your kid may be in danger of learning in school.
Allegedly, children are being taught that lie in two school districts, both in Texas. For the record, there are over a thousand such districts in the state of Texas alone.
It seems that the teaching of other lies is rather limited too. According to Marcotte, Lie Number 8 (“Dragons Once Existed”) is “suggested” by one passage in a textbook being used in a handful of Christian schools in Louisiana. By the time we get to Lie Number 9, we’re actually talking about a bill—a bill which has been proposed in the Tennessee legislature.
How about Lie Number 10? (“Hippies were dirty, immoral Satan-worshippers.”) Marcotte says your kid is in danger of learning that lie based on a passage in a textbook—a textbook which was “snagged” in a single Christian school in Louisiana. By the way:
Marcotte may not know this, being on the younger side. But many hippies actually were immoral Satan-worshippers. Please review Easy Rider for further information.
The foolishness finally comes to an end with Lie Number 11. (“Ayn Rand’s books have literary value.”) Is your kid in danger of being taught this lie in school? At present, it doesn’t seem likely. According to Marcotte, the chairman of Idaho’s Senate Education Committee “has introduced a bill that would require students not only to read...Atlas Shrugged, but also to pass a test on it in order to graduate.”
That would be a stupid requirement. At this time, the requirement exists in no American school.
As she closes, Marcotte says this: “We live in an era where no amount of right-wing lunacy is considered too much to be pushed on innocent children.” That isn’t exactly false. It’s also true that we live in an era when liberal publications are beginning to ape the lunacy of the right-wing in the drive to grab liberal eyeballs.
Marcotte is discussing an actual problem. Unfortunately, she’s doing so in a way which has been stolen from the crackpot right. She’s too worked-up to tell her readers that the Fordham Institute, from which she draws some of her criticisms of Texas, is a conservative organization.
Their criticisms carry special weight if you understand that fact. Marcotte doesn’t include it. To tell the truth, there's no real sign that she knows much about this subject.
This is Hannity-inspired work. Has someone been teaching Lie Number 12 to Marcotte, perhaps to the droogs now running Salon:
“Progressive interests will be served when we ape those we say we detest?”