After a long and divisive contest to obliterate Jefferson from textbooks (he believed, as you know, in separation of church and state), he managed to barely make the cut and get a mention in the revisionists new textbooks. Madison and Kennedy weren't so fortunate as the Texas Board of Education voted 9-5 to brainwash the young folks with an upgrade of Joe McCarthy, never mind that he was such a heavy drinker that it drove him to his grave. Ah, Phyllis Schlafly, at age 85, is back in print, too. Occasionally known as the conservatives' godmother, she made it to the top of their list back in the early 1960s in the Goldwater-LBJ campaign, offering the voters a shred of wisdom in her authored "A Choice not an Echo," which turned out to be no more than a mosquito bite for LBJ.
The new curriculum standards, which become effective in 2012-13, deal with the old right-wing standbys that the revisionsists insist need to play a greater role in a young person's education: anti-climate change and anti-separation of church and state. The shopping list is much longer, but you get the point.
You'd think that by now, some of these folks on the school board would be a lot more concerned that Texas ranks 49th in verbal SAT scores and 46th in average math scores. But that isn't the way the game is played these days in the Lone Star State. Gov. Rick Perry, who says some loony things from time to time, is strongly supportive of the state board's action. That isn't true of the 1,200 or so college historians who say the new standards distort the historical record.
There are many Texans, of course, who are embarrassed by the board's action - but not enough of them to vote out the religitics who are driving the bus. The vote, the papers down there noted, was along party lines and the Republicans prevailed. Not only that, they prevailed with confidence that a Christian God is on their side. As board member Cynthia Dunbar said in her opening prayer for the historic board meeting, America is a "Christian land governed by Christian principles." (Dunbar, a lawyer, has complained that the current educational standards are "unconstitutional, tyrannical and tools of perversion."
Someday the book burners may decide to live by the principles they pretend to uphold. But it's a long shot.