Saturday, April 19, 2014


Reposted from TN Eagle Forum:

SB 1602 by *Bell , Gresham, Stevens, Yager, Johnson, Tracy, Hensley, Crowe, Tate, Ketron, Campfield, Haile
HB 2249 by *Casada , Womick, Butt, Dunn, Sargent, White D, Matheny, Evans, Brooks K, Weaver, Rogers, Sparks, Goins, Coley, Ragan, Moody, Holt, Bailey, Hall, Eldridge, Faison

As introduced, restructures the textbook commission and the textbook selection process
As amended, SB1602, passed the Senate on March 17, 27-3; HB2249 passed the House on April 16, 73-15. The problem was that the two versions were different -- the main sticking point being who appoints the members of the Commission.  The Senate bill required 3-3-3 (the Governor appointing three, each speaker appointing three); the House bill required 5-2-2 (the Governor appointing five, each speaker appointing two).  The bill was sent to a Conference Committee to come to agreement, which, thankfully, was the 3-3-3 provision. You can read the Conference Committee Report HERE.  The Report was adopted in the Senate 29-3-1; in the House 75-20. Folks, please understand, this is HISTORY Making legislation and a HUGE 'thank you' goes out to all those to read the textbooks, testified in the various committees, and who contacted their lawmakers urging them to make these much needed changes!!! Deep appreciation also to Sen. Bell and  Rep. Casada for their sponsorship of this legislation and to Sen. Gresham, for holding the hearings in the fall about the entire Textbook Commission debacle and review process.
My Comment:  There was a lot of very good legislation passed this year. It matters who governs. There was also some embarrassingly bad legislation proposed but it was so amended to not be objectionable by the time it passed or it failed to pass.  The system usually works pretty well and not a lot of really dumb stuff passes. 

Among the bills I am most pleased to see pass this year is this one.  In the past, our text book selection process has been a joke. In committee hearings last year, members of the text book selection committee admitted they were unable to read the text books they were charged with selecting. Time and structure of the committee simply made it impossible.

I admit  that some of the activist who helped mobilize this effort to change the text book selection process, are people whose judgement I would not trust in critiquing text books. Also, I am sure that under this new law, many text books will be objected to because they present global warming as science, or present evolution as a fact without offering the "intelligent design" alternative theory, or that mention the historical fact that during the Middle Ages Jews were treated better under Islamic rule than in western Christian kingdoms.

Also, however, I expect that textbooks can not get away with presenting Mao Zedong as a great unifier and reformer of China without mentioning the madness of the great leap forward, land reform, and the cultural revolution and Mao's responsibility for the death of 77 million people or more. Neither can Castro be presented as a folk hero reformer. I expect a textbooks that in tone is critical of free markets and capitalism and praises big government solutions to social problems will be tagged for bias. I expect that a text book that presents native Americans prior to the arrival of Columbus as a gentle people living in harmony with nature and one another in a bucolic existence to be tagged. What about the ritual continuous human sacrifice of the Aztec who ripped the beating heart out of their victims? That ought to be in the text books about native Americans for a balanced view.

This new bill may profoundly change text books. Text books are written, for the most part, by full-time academics and academia is dominated by people with a liberal to leftist bias. They should not be allowed to pass their left-wing bias on to our children. Education is too important to be left up to educators. Society needs to have input into what pubic schools teach.

For this new law to have impact however, responsible sensible educated conservatives must get active in reviewing text books. A lot of parents and other citizens must be reviewing the text books, writing convincing rational reviews of the books, passing that on to the members of the text book commission and asking them to not approve the books found to be objectionable. If the only criticism is coming from persons with an outlier minority view of scientific issues, Christian Zionist, and right wing crack pots, then the critics will be marginalized and not much will change. People who are conservative, but not crack pots, must get involved.  If that does not happen, the new commission will ignore the crack pot critics, and approve books as presented and not much will change.

If I get tired of blogging, my next contribution to the conservative cause may be as a citizen text book reviewer. I think I could enjoy that. There are a lot of educated, retired people with a lot to offer, but who spend their time in idleness or sit on the sidelines watching others influence events and complain.  This change in the textbook law has opened the door for many people who want to have an impact, to do so. I hope they step up to the plate and do not let this opportunity slip away.

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